Syria, Libya, Iraq … Turkey and its army on all fronts

Militarily engaged in Syria, ubiquitous in Libya with the Libyan Union Government (GNA), Turkey, which put out special days, on Wednesday, special forces in northern Iraq, continue to promote its peasants in the Middle East as in the Mediterranean. Decryption with AdelBakawan, sociologist and specialist in the region.

Turkey intervenes in all directions on more than one front. Following northern Syria and western Libya, where Turkish soldiers or instructors are deployed, Ankara on Wednesday, June 17, sent special forces to Haftanin, in northern Iraq, as part of “an operation launched against the rear bases of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

The “Tiger Claws” preceded this ground operation by an intensive artillery bombardment and follows a campaign of air attacks, which began at night from Sunday to Monday, in Kandil, Sinjar and Hakurk, northern Iraq sites.

Hands free to intervene in Iraq?

This is not the first time the Turkish army has been attacking the PKK, on ​​Iraqi soil, which has been considered a terrorist organization by Ankara (and its western allies), since it started an armed and secessionist uprising with Turkey in 1984. “This operation is not exceptional as Turkish intervention since the early 1990s has been conducted regularly in Iraqi Kurdistan and even included in some continuity,” emphasizes Adel Bakawan, director of the Sociology Center of “Iraq from Soran University, Iraqi Kurdistan, France 24th

If Turkey seems to have a free hand to intervene on the territory of a sovereign state such as Iraq – President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has never hidden his will to “take care” of the PKK in the northern country, c because it has some kind of quiet local green light, say experts.

“The Kurdistan regional government and the Iraqi government could not ignore the idea of ​​such an operation,” explains Adel Bakawan. It is enough to analyze how long Baghdad reacted to the Turkish air attacks that preceded it.

The Turkish ambassador was called to protest air strikes, “but he was not even received by Iraqi Foreign Minister Fouad Hussein, who has just been appointed and is in no hurry to hug to enter Turkey,” said Adel Bakawan. The ambassador replied that his country would continue its action against “terrorism” as long as Baghdad had not expelled the PKK from its territory.

But after expressing formal protests condemning a “violation of the country’s sovereignty” following the raids, the Iraqi government reiterated the Turkish ambassador on Thursday, the day after the deployment of special forces and urged Ankara to withdraw its troops from its territory and cease ” provocation acts “.

“It should be borne in mind that the Turkish offensive, especially on the ground, is carried out in full coordination with the Iraqi Kurdistan authorities, with its seat in Erbil. According to the agreement signed with Turkey and Iran 2013, the Kurdistan Regional Council must ensure that the security section of the text its territory does not become a source of threats to the security of the two regional powers and to participate in the stabilization and security of the national borders of both countries. “

In addition to being the trajectory of Turkish power, the PKK, which does not recognize the Kurdistan regional government as a legitimate entity, also seems to be unanimous against it in the Iraqi political spheres.

“In fact, by introducing its military force into this region of Iraq, the PKK, which has invited itself into the territory of this country without asking permission from Baghdad or the regional authorities, is in a way their respective security system,” said Adel Bakawan Until recently, there have been confrontations between the Iraqi army and the PKK brigades in the Sinjar region. “

If the ultimate goal and scope of this new Turkish operation remains unclear, it still remains from a more global point of view than the military hyperactivity in Turkey, Syria, Libya and Iraq, experts urge.

“It is clear, in addition to this section in Iraq, that the Turkish president is conducting a Middle Eastern project much broader than Turkey’s immediate entourage,” believes Adel Bakawan. By being present on all fronts, Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to show international powers that his country is essential for resolving conflicts in the region, and above all forcing the idea that he has a say in the redevelopment of the Middle East and even beyond, we also see it in Libya. “

What room for action for Westerners in front of Erdogan?

This hyperactivity can also be explained by an internal agenda for the Turkish president. “By engaging his country on several fronts, Tayyip Recep Erdogan is trying to take advantage of his foreign policy and image as a warlord to re-mobilize his militant base, weakened by divisions within the AKP [le parti au pouvoir, NDLR]”, emphasizes Adel Bakawan.

A risky venture, according to the expert, “because the war efforts are very expensive for a Turkish economy that is already in poor shape, and which has been weakened a little more by the coronavirus pandemic”.

Turkey also benefits from a dynamic characterized by the withdrawal of Western powers from the Middle East, especially the United States, for the benefit of other actors.

“Ankara, like Moscow, utilizes the context of the liberation of Westerners who leave the road free for other powers to promote their peasantry in the region,” emphasizes Adel Bakawan.

Finally, despite recent protests by France over the “unacceptable” interventionism of Ankara in Libya, or even an “extremely aggressive” measure by Turkish vessels carried out against a French vessel in the Mediterranean, the West, and in particular the Europeans, room for action against Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“What card can they play to put pressure on Turkey, a NATO member, do you remember?” Asks Adel Bakawan. Facing financial penalties? Get involved in armed conflict? Threatened to reject the candidacy of the country’s accession to the European Union? That does not apply, except maybe the economic dimension. “

On the contrary, Ankara has several cards in hand to put pressure on Europe and start with that blackmail linked to migrant flows, from Greece and now from Libya.