Offensive Period in the Fight Against Terrorism

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Türkiye faced multiple and differentiated terrorist threats in 2015 and 2016. They have dared to reach their separatist, extremist and destructive targets such as PKK, DAESH and DHKP-C. I would also like to express that the FETO coup supports them and gives life-blood. In a period of operational intensity against terrorist organizations, FETÖ both fed other terrorist organizations and did not stay away from targeting our state....

As you know, we live in a very dynamic world, such that in every such meeting we can find a new agenda that we need to discuss or that we can discuss. TASAM President Süleyman ŞENSOY again drew us a world perspective in his presentation. At the beginning of the Conference, we once again saw what a dynamic environment we are in here. Every new issue that occupies our agenda shows that we are in a turmoil, a crisis or a process of change. We are also in a period where the signs that the world order will face a radical change are becoming more frequent. After the end of the Cold War and the security climate created by 9/11, we are passing through the days when we have to ask ourselves if a new era has begun.

While the world is changing its shell with the effect of the pandemic, we are in pursuit of discussions and search for meaning, in which we question whether a new paradigm also exists. When we look at it from the perspective of our own institutional work area, I would like to say in quotation marks that the concept of unlimited war on terror has been replaced by global power struggles in the last two decades. If we look at these; US withdrawal from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, the global power tensions in the world are shifting to the Asia-Pacific axis, the emergence of Europe and the Middle East as a circle, comments that the concept of small war or endless war has come to an end, China's re-emphasis on socialism, the fact that the sanctions against China are being discussed as a national security issue in the USA, in the context of microchip or pandemic, the trends that are considered as a part of the national security ecosystem - on the occasion of TASAM, especially the internal security ecosystem is an issue that we discuss much more deeply - rather than a commercial commodity, are getting stronger day by day, the rise of climate, environment and especially water issues, which are increasing day by day, as a new ideology, rapid changes in the character of migration together with the new economic, social and security responsibilities that the green transformation - the green development revolution and its derivatives will impose on the world and mass migration waves are on our agenda one after another.

Finally, in this context, both in international relations and in the minds of peoples during the Covid-19 pandemic; In the light of these signs, we have all experienced and continue to do so, such as the state is the sole and unique application authority of people, supra-state institutions and international organizations are inefficient and ineffective, and their existence is discussed from time to time. Of course, while saying these, I would like to express that I acted in a hypothetical approach, not as the main truth, but in the light of assumptions that would lead us to the truth, and that I based my speech in this way.

The rise of the global power struggle and in this context; we can say that this period, in which the strengthening geopolitics of Asia has created a dynamic environment, global relations are not on a settled static line, and the stones are moving, is pregnant with opportunities for all actors. The impact of the global power struggle on terrorism is of particular concern to Türkiye, as an important issue that we need to focus on. In this context, we have to follow the failed states of weak fragile geographies more closely. While we should carefully monitor this process, I would like to remind you that an important part of Türkiye's current security agenda is the fight against terror and terrorism.

Especially the PKK terrorist organization with its international and regional dimensions; We should also point out the hybrid nature of threats against Türkiye, which has global goals such as ISIS, triggers regional instability, and has to fight terrorist organizations such as FETO that aim at the existence of the state in general and our state, democracy and nationhood in particular.

R. James Woolsey Jr., in his 2004 article, has a beautiful expression that he used right after the 9/11 trauma; “Today's terrorists don't want a chair at the table, they want to destroy that table and everyone sitting at that table“. From this point of view, I would like to embody the terrorist threats that Türkiye is exposed to through the metaphor of the table-chair. While organizations such as al-Qaeda and ISIS want to burn, destroy, and destroy the table, we observe that an ethnic-separatist organization like the PKK, which we have been fighting for many years, produces terrorism/terrorism by making the table portable by means of set-up and dismantling the table, and making the chairs portable. FETO, which managed to hide its terrorist nature for a long time; it wanted to take over both the table and the chairs, to own the whole table. We all have an interesting memory and remnant of terrorism and the struggle against terrorism.

Türkiye faced multiple and differentiated terrorist threats in 2015 and 2016. They have dared to reach their separatist, extremist and destructive targets such as PKK, DAESH and DHKP-C. I would also like to express that the FETO coup supports them and gives life-blood. In a period of operational intensity against terrorist organizations, FETÖ both fed other terrorist organizations and did not stay away from targeting our state.

With the statements of our Honorable President on 22 November 2016 that Türkiye has changed the concept of fighting terrorism and that the problems will be solved at the source; Our Honorable Minister of Internal Affairs stated that the offensive period was started in the fight against terrorism on 20 January 2017; and the issues that our Minister of National Defense constantly underlined with the emphasis on determination in the fight against terrorism in the country and abroad also show us the important developments in the following years.

Türkiye exhibits an exemplary model in the fight against terrorism. In the fight against terrorism, breakthroughs that will prevent organizational established ideologies from gaining plausibility, initiatives that show that there is no public support behind the organizations, and approaches that persuade the members of the organization to surrender by convincing them have come to the fore in recent years. In the fight against terrorism, within the general principle of "search - find - destroy", dynamic protective operations, deterrence operations, on-site operations, responsive, preventive, interventional operations and military threats are eliminated day by day at home and abroad. Our security forces are developing capacity in the areas of material and moral assets of organizations and have the ability and power to prevent and reduce all kinds of actions / activities of organizations.

However, the mind-blowing attitudes of some states are far from supporting Türkiye's fight against terrorism, which can serve as a model for the world. And it is of the type and quality that the leaders of the organizations live with the allied countries or are often hosted within the framework of the protocol.

With the notion of international relations with terrorist organizations, we consider that democratic and humane communication and cooperation under the umbrella of regional security has no explanation in global reality. No democratic and universal criteria make it legitimate to develop a relationship of interest with terrorist organizations. We think that there will be no diplomats from terrorists, no partners from terrorist organizations, no cooperation with terrorism. We also foresee that sleeping with a scorpion will pay off in the morning. I would also like to emphasize that the preoccupation of the world public opinion with issues such as the global power struggle or climate change, which I mentioned at the beginning, should not be allowed to hold back the fight against terrorism.

In concluding my words, I hope that the global conscience that Türkiye tries to awaken by saying "a fairer world is possible" will lead to global relations and world peace, and I respectfully greet all participants.

( Dr. Can Ozan TUNCER, Head of Internal Security Strategies Department [Representing Turkish Republic Minister of Interior Süleyman SOYLU] | Opening Speech, 7th Istanbul Security Conference, 04 November 2021 )


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