Dr. Kardaş is a professor of international relations at the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara.
Turkey has pursued an assertive military campaign in Iraq to eliminate the presence of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), which has been supported by elements of hard power, coercive diplomacy, and an increasingly emboldened foreign-intelligence apparatus. This article traces the roots of this new phase in Turkey's cross-border military engagement to two interrelated factors. First, Ankara has adopted a new counterterrorism doctrine that relies on a militarized regional policy. Second, the course of Turkey-Iraq relations since the liberation of Mosul and the Kurds' failed independence bid has allowed Ankara to forge a relationship of dominance over Baghdad and Erbil, facilitating its interventionism. Next, the article evaluates the broader implications of Turkey's determination to sustain the ongoing campaign. First, Turkey's military operations against the PKK may play a decisive role in the organization's evolution. Second, they may expose the challenges and limits of Ankara's new assertiveness and reliance on the use of force in the Middle East. Third, Turkey may have to pursue a delicate line in its coercive policy, lest it further undermine the fragile internal balances of Iraq. Last, while Ankara's assertiveness may test the tense relationship with Tehran, it may not end the new understanding the two countries reached in their regional policies.
Middle East Policy is fully accessible through the Wiley Online Library
Click below to subscribe to the online or print edition of Middle East Policy and gain access to all journal content.