Anti-PKK ops to be limited to professional soldiers
Turkey has adopted a new counterterrorism strategy that will from now on only send professional soldiers to hot conflict zones in rural areas in the eastern regions of Turkey to fight against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terrorist organization, instead of conscripts with minimal training.

The Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) frequently comes under harsh criticism for deploying conscripts in the fight against terrorist groups, including the terrorist PKK. Whether or not the TSK should establish a professional army to launch a new strategy in the fight against terrorism has become a matter of hot debate in recent years. However, the TSK has taken a major step in this regard and has switched to a new strategy against the PKK terrorists, primarily in the southeastern and eastern parts of the Turkey.

According to a report by the Hürriyet daily, short-term conscripts doing their compulsory military service for five-and-a-half months and long-term conscripts attending military service for 15 months will no longer fight actively against PKK terrorists in operations that are conducted in rural areas in eastern and southeastern Turkey. Instead of these temporary unskilled soldiers, professional private soldiers, specialist sergeants, sergeants and commissioned officers who undergo special training will be sent to hot conflict zones in the fight with the PKK.

The conscripts will serve at military bases in the region but will not be actively involved in operations conducted in rural areas against PKK terrorists. By using professional personnel in anti-terrorism military operations, the TSK plans to reduce the chances of casualties.

Defense Minister İsmet Yılmaz told Hürriyet that the ministry and the TSK have been conducting meticulous efforts in the new strategy. The minister said the TSK has already been refraining from sending unskilled soldiers to hot conflict areas for some time. Yılmaz expressed certainty that progress would be made in counter-terrorism efforts of the Turkish military in the near future. The minister added that all military personnel, commanders included, are determined to bring an end to terrorism, a goal which could be accomplished in the near future with the implementation of the new strategy, according to Yılmaz.

(Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2012-11-21 20:00:01
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