Our Analytics 28 july — 15:24

Turkish Army launched special operation near borders of Azerbaijan (Operative comment)

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BY AYDIR KARIMOV, POLITICS SECTION

Turkish Interior Ministry announced the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation Yıldırım-3 Ağrı Dağı in three provinces of the country simultaneously: Agri, Igdir and Kars.

The forces that Ankara uses in it are impressive. The 1,170 police and gendarmerie special forces, operating in 86 groups, mean the following: first, the threats in the provinces were recognised as serious enough.

A rather serious threat near the border with Nakhchivan

Second, a decision was made to carry out a 'deep cleaning' of this territory, where since 2015, from the moment of carrying out a series of special operations against separatists from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) there, a lot of extremist and terrorist 'garbage' has accumulated.

Moreover, this 'garbage' in recent years -- which is especially dangerous -- has become much more mobile and has learned to dashingly move around the region. When we talk about the PKK, we must understand that we are talking about an organisation operating in an area from Iraq and Syria to Iran and the Azerbaijani-Turkish border.

And it is not so important what it is called in different regions -- PYD or YPG, PKK or PJAK -- the goal of all these subsidiaries is the same: the maximum damage to Turkey and those who support Ankara. By and large, this smoothed out all the ideological contradictions that previously existed between individual combat groups, creating a single and integral terrorist threat. Which, as it turns out, has again approached the provinces of Agri, Igdir and Kars, that is, to the Azerbaijani and Armenian borders.

Actually, the Yıldırım operation began two weeks ago, on July 13, and immediately gave impressive results: 12 shelters and warehouses with PKK weapons, an extensive agent network of this organisation, which has close contacts in the territories of these provinces.

Therefore, the second phase develops in two directions at once: the police special forces clean the caches and hiding places of the militants, as well as the groups guarding them. At the same time, MIT and the police intelligence (General Directorate of Public Security of the Turkish Interior Ministry) are busy with a more delicate matter: disclosing PKK agents among the local population and authorities.

And the roots of this organisation are firmly and deeply seated here. Suffice it to recall how in 2009 Mehmet Nuri Gunes, a former PKK field commander who served 4.5 years in prison for ties with Abdullah Ocalan, was elected mayor of Igdir.

Mehmet Nuri Gunes

The then Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey Cemil Cicek, having learned about the results of the vote, exclaimed: 'They [PKK] have got their hands on Igdir too. That is, they have already reached the borders with Armenia!'

And although Mehmet Nuri Gunes served as mayor for less than a year -- on January 21, 2010, he was arrested -- the flower of the PKK's 'special relationship' with Yerevan during the period of his rule blossomed in the most magnificent colour: the Kurds, who took municipal power into their own hands, did not hide their sympathies to the Armenians and insisted on the opening of the Armenian-Turkish border without any preconditions.

Well, then they went from words to deeds. A representative delegation, consisting of officials of the regional level, was sent from Igdir to Yerevan on a working visit. The head of the tax department of Igdir Yashar Kisa, the deputy head of the Igdir organisation of the ruling party Yusuf Arslan and their accompanying persons (all Kurds), after a series of meetings with high-ranking officials of the government structures of Armenia, visited the memorial in memory of the victims of the so-called 'genocide.'

As for the secret agreements, which were then discussed between the two 'victims of the Turkish genocide,' they remained a secret to this day. Although the fact that they existed is also recognised in Armenia, which has never concealed that they are quite satisfied with the establishment by the Kurds of control over the only narrow isthmus connecting Turkey with Azerbaijan.

The cleaning area covers the territory up to the border with Armenia

After all, as the Armenian press wrote at the time: 'The possibility of unhindered transportation of weapons and the transfer of troops along the Igdir-Nakhchivan road is a serious military-political resource for the Baku rulers.'

Although in the issues of the Armenian-Kurdish partnership, everything is also far from clear. The PKK is a rather toxic partner, and the challenges of working with it outweigh the benefits of partnership.

But times are changing. The PKK again rushed to this region, and although the situation with their support among the local population has changed noticeably, and not in their favour, they can create a lot of problems in the three provinces for both Ankara and Baku. Because the transformation of the PKK, which was mentioned above, is a one-way road: to greater brutality and sophistication in terrorist activities.

Therefore, we need prevention and a new purge, which is now being carried out by the Turkish police special forces and the counterintelligence services of Ankara. Acting in common interests with Baku, especially since the military-political situation is favourable here, 11,000 Turkish servicemen arrived in Nakhchivan to participate in joint exercises, which will begin on July 29 in different regions of Azerbaijan.

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