The winter surprise attack on PKK positions in the
In addition, there appears to be a second point of confusion surrounding the question of why the Turkish military has maintained such a media freeze over the operation. This is particularly bewildering in light of the military’s comments that the operation has specific objectives, which are supposed to be limited in duration. It is unclear what the military has to gain from this approach.
It is still quite likely that the Turkish military will reveal the scope of military achievements for its latest operation once Turkish forces begin to conduct their pullout. The military seems to have so far maintained the view that it is turning the winter elements to its advantage with the added help of the element of surprise. The snow will hamper the Turkish forces, but it will also impede PKK fighters from fleeing the scene of attack. However, this observer also wonders whether PKK forces have truly decided to sit around the camp fire holed up in the snowy Qandil mountains for an entire winter season, as opposed to settling at lower and warmer elevations for the winter while waiting for the Turkish military to venture out in the spring. Whatever is the case, the Turkish military will undoubtedly label its operation a success whenever the time comes to make such announcements.
Another point worthy of consideration is to question whether
Combat operations against the PKK have always functioned as a unifying mechanism in Turkish society. This is no more apparent than when viewing the constant footage on all national news broadcasts that depicts the official funeral ceremonies or the grieving families of the Turkish combat dead. Faced with the incredible degree of polarization that has resulted from their successful initiative to legalize headscarves for women attending Turkish universities, it seems logical for Erdoğan and Gül to have encouraged the military to trudge around in the snow for a few weeks. A winter operation would distract the public away from its social crisis since it would remind them that there exist more critical and immediate threats to the livelihoods of the Turkish people compared to the headscarf. Judging by the fact that combat operations have been constantly featured as the lead story on the evening news during the past week, their tactic seems to have worked.