Share this Post
by Berfu Kiziltan, Small Wars Journal
The porosity of the border between Turkey and Iraq has been a pressing issue in combating PKK terrorism. The fact that the PKK has moved considerable material and personnel support through that border is undisputed, as is the fact that absent such support, the PKK would pose a far less menacing threat to the safety of the Turkish people. Since it took arms in the 1970s, the PKK has used the mountainous border area between the two countries to establish bases of operations from which it has launched attacks. It is estimated that the loss of lives within the Turkish army is higher than 6.000 in fighting with the terrorist group, PKK. In order to decrease casualties and build an effective system of border monitoring utilization of UAVs is a must. While employing UAVs has several limitations as well as disadvantages, their advantages outweigh its drawbacks.
Border porosity could be broadly defined as the high permeability of a land, sea or maritime border to illegal trespassing or hauling of personnel or material as a result of inadequate or inefficient border security and monitoring. UAVs are defined as a powered aerial vehicle that does not carry a human operator, uses aerodynamic forces to provide lift, can fly autonomously or be piloted remotely, can be expendable or recoverable, and can carry lethal or nonlethal payloads.
In combating PKK terrorism, border porosity should receive increased attention chiefly because the PKK keeps the bulk of its forces and resources in hideouts in Qandil Mountains, which lie further south of the border. The choice of Qandil Mountains is no coincidence, as it is relatively more secure for the PKK than the immediate vicinity of the border, and because the rugged terrain rarely provides a ground for operations for the Turkish military. In addition, Turkey faces several political challenges both at home and abroad while conducting cross-border military operations against the PKK, and in this regard, the fact that the Qandil Mountains lie south of the border provides the PKK practical as well as tactical advantages. Before we can eliminate the PKK completely, we should first deny the organization's access to Turkish territory through the border. Once that is accomplished, the raids on Turkish military outposts along the border will dramatically decrease in number, and the majority of the PKK's resources will be confined to the Kurdish-controlled Northern Iraq.