A geopolitical view and perspective is one of the keystones of strategy. Since strategy’s transition towards the practical field is geopolitics, then geo-strategy is the little sibling of geopolitics. For a state and country that is under the direct influence of a process in her region where there are meaningful transformations and changes since 1990, to remain aside or to keep strategies on paper or in safe vaults is either “dead strategy” or “bad strategy” at best.
DIFFICULTY GIVES THE GAME AWAY
This is a simple phrase that expresses many things in every dimension of daily life and in the management of all levels of institutions and organizations and in governmental and international relationships through our beautiful and pure Turkish language: “Difficulty gives the game away.” This is a saying that is expressed when the game, which is organized with tricks and power, comes to nothing.1 Beyond being a phrase, this is a password for strategy, which has become a buzzword. As those who work regarding strategy and the related concepts know very well, Clausewitz’s formulation stating that “Everything regarding strategy is very simple but the simplest thing is difficult”2 refers to the relationships and contradictions between the objections and command. Strong and coherent relationships simplify everything whereas the complexity, insolubility and magnitude of contradictions may transform even the smallest things into huge problems.
When the campaigns, wars and all the combat at all scales carried out within the 2,500-year period from the 5th century B.C. until today are taken into consideration, it is quite clear that strategy is perceived as a science and as an art of using force. The force mentioned here is not only armaments, but also a force that comprises individuals, institutions, organizations, country and state to the fullest extent and that has economic, technological, political, administrative and psychosocial dimensions. “Olive Branch Operation” that the Republic of Turkey started through the the medium of the brave Turkish army on January 20, 2018, is an operative that is scaled (with regards to the forces used) but is also a strategically efficient struggle that shall be considered in this context. Therefore, it has particular and special characteristics within the existence and survival of the country and state and scrutinizing it is an absolute necessity. It is certain that remaining indifferent to the developments which occurred and are continuing to occur at our southern borders for quite a long time in place, force and time dimensions, will have non-recoverable fatal consequences from the viewpoint of the state. Unfortunately, there is no place for surprises and luck in assumptions that are characterized as ‘absolute’ and/or close, and it necessities precautions taken smartly and bravely. Not being able to calculate how to use the force at hand within the context of place and time is a fundamental threat in terms of survival.3 It shall not be forgotten that for the strategy to be based on solid foundations in a fight is vital with regards to consistency, realism and practicability. And these foundations are place, force and time, which we may name as the main factors of a strategy.
A GEOPOLITICAL NECESSITY; OLIVE BRANCH OPERATION
Geopolitics is strategy’s transition towards the practical field. It is the relationships between the states and nations with the geography/place they live in. Geopolitics is the art of using the geography we live in in regional and world politics. With a clearer definition, it is dynamic strategy itself. “Every country’s policy lies in her geopolitics” provides an insight regarding the determination of methods to reach our goal by taking the effect of geographical factors on politics into consideration. Changing and unchanging elements of geopolitics are the expression of a state’s power. Social, economic, political, military and cultural factors are the changing but dynamic components of geopolitics. The essential and final objective of this effort is not the destruction of the enemies and opponents only with a military view. The objective is to unbalance the opponent by reaching her geopolitical goals while preserving the economic, political and cultural power factors along with the military power. The most distinct appearance of the consequence is that it leads to changes in balance and/or axis. The aforementioned possible changes have been a topic that leading political actors and thinkers have focused on the arena of political history.4
We most certainly cannot keep silent in the face of the attempt to create a “terror corridor” of a power that has no right or justification in our geography and that disregards the international law beyond openly and carelessly violating that aforementioned law by changing the borders of states and building new small states and assumed nations. In particular, abstaining from standing strongly against this imperialist project, whose inauspicious effects on our border and above all on our vitality are inevitable, or defaming such initiatives means not understanding state politics, strategy and geopolitics at all. The institutions shaping the state cannot form a strategy without taking geopolitics into consideration or understanding it. A geopolitical view and perspective is one of the keystones of strategy. Sınce strategy’s transition towards the practical field is geopolitics, then geo-strategy is the little sibling of geopolitics. For a state and country that is under the direct influence of a process in her region where there are meaningful transformations and changes since 1990, to remain aside or to keep strategies on paper or in safe vaults is either “dead strategy” or “bad strategy” at best. Its debilitating and destructive effects on states are inevitable. In such cases, it is possible to compare an unused force or army with to the situation of a warrior who cannot escape the nightmare of drawing a bow in vain forever.5
It is necessary to read and understand the progresses taking place in our region since 1991 before analyzing the political and military goals of Olive Branch Operation. During a period when the Soviet Union started to become history, consistent strategies are needed to determine how to face the USA’s being incidentally (1) present in the Gulf and the actions based on the controlled chaos strategies, which started with the liberalization (!?) of the Iraq war accompanied with assumed democracy and human rights lies and which is still continuing. Unfortunately, this is neither a resolution nor a hypothesis. It is quite clear that this is an objective reality, not an imaginary reality. The Republic of Turkey and her army need to make a special effort in order to understand the anatomy of the fight with a hybrid and asymmetrical character that includes possible times of war, which continue in the region and which are highly likely to continue for a long time,as well as assumed times of peace. Proposing as a starting date October 1, 1992, when the destroyer TCG Muavenet was shot with two short-range missiles launched from the aircraft carrier USS Saratoga during NATO Display Determination-92 held in the Aegean Sea, may be considered an acceptable hypothesis. The segments considering this a weak assumption may accept the fact that eleven personnel of Turkish Special Forces, who were encamped in Süleymaniye on July 4, 2003, were brought in and interrogated for 60 hours while sacks were put on their heads as a result of a surprise raid in an environment where soldiers of great ally (!) USA’s 173rd Airborne Brigade are present with the peshmergas. When approximately a month after this incident, on August 7, 2003 US President George W. Bush’s Security Consultant (the Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2005-2009) Condoleezza Rica specified how the regimes, borders and maps of 22 countries of the region on the “Transforming the Middle East” themed article she wrote in the Washington Post, how did the decision makers evaluate this situation? Of course, updating the Grand Strategy of the Republic of Turkey was placed before us as a vital obligation with a decision based on a major and pointed prediction. The main matter that shall be emphasized here is that while the new roles of the actors are allocated by shaping the regions and changing the current regimes, the expectation that this transformation would ‘slightly touch’ Turkey with assumed peace discourses shall not be regarded as a strategy. Furthermore, while an unjustified, lawless and murderous transformation is carried out in some countries, Iraq, Libya and Syria in the first place, the cost of opportunism regarding stealing a role from this game has been and is still quite serious. Over time, reflections of this on the Middle East will probably be more biting than they are at present.
Of course, the problems in the Middle East did not end at all. Moreover, attempts to find a solution either became desolate or caused bigger problems. This general acceptance is also true for Turkey and the issues it brought unfortunately spread over time. The reasons are manifold, but the dominant reason is a strategy based on politics and a doctrine problem. It is necessary to read the new war period, which started with the end of the Cold War in 1991, and the transformation in the character of the war, based on the right assumptions.
This period is still continuing today. It is quite possible that the critiques and evaluations made specific to Iraq, Syria, Israel and Libya today, will be set forth about other issues in the future. Therefore, heroically standing against the imperialist puppets, who are used as pawns on the Middle East’s strategic chess board, and the powers behind them is both an imposition of Turkish morals and state tradition and also a geopolitical and geostrategic obligation.
The Turkish army’s Euphrates Shield Operation was carried out between the dates of August 2016 and March 2017 and Olive Branch Operation, which started on January 20, 2018 and proceeded to establish control of Afrin city center, is an obligation of this strategic necessity. While both operations are evaluated within the context of location, drawing a conclusion by looking at the physical criterion, numeric data and casualties is not a proper manner of approaching the issue. Such opinions and behaviors are the products of conventional combat mentality. For the combat methods of hybrid, asymmetrical, fourth generation wars and/or affect based operations etc., many things may be sacrificed in due course for a pebble stone, a private soldier and sometimes for the maintained malice. When it comes to defense of the homeland, any cost drops off the map.
TIME FACTOR AND LEADERSHIP ON OLIVE BRANCH OPERATION
It was frequently mentioned that during classical and conventional combat, let alone one day, even half a day is quite critical. However, in the present combats and different combat methods, where technology is now a game changing, role-ending and dominant factor, hours and even minutes have a critical importance. The force that is not ready where the situation invites it and that is not used or is not enabled to be used when conditions made it inevitable, represents a strategic sin. When will you use a force, which is in the hands of the monopoly with the right to use force and which is constituted and furnished to that end, if you will not use it when the time comes? Of course, as great commander and national leader Atatürk indicated, war shall be necessary and vital. The treason-based armed attempt on July 15, 2016 is not a coup attempt but is a strategic war: It is a nefarious assassination attempt against the Republic of Turkey and her army, it is such an assassination that these dastards try to make us fall on our own sword, without even using their own sword. Therefore, since that day they try to make the State of the Republic of Turkey a side in an open war with many battlefronts.
This initiative is neither a coup, an attempt nor a revolution. It is an episode in a dirty game set in a global gathering. It cannot be considered that this game has just begun. The foreign-backed coup during and after the Menderes period, the March 12 coup attempt, nationalist-looking but American-directed coup in 1980, the attempt to break the bond between the army and nation started on February 28, the FETO terrorist organization’s seeping into the capillaries of the state under the guise of religion and its coup against the army, and the epode of actions directed to overthrow the government in the December 17-25 period are all different episodes of a dirty war game staged before. The July 15 attempt is a new episode and the curtain is not closed yet. This is a Crusade and most probably new curtains will be opened and different games will be staged until their evil aims are fulfilled. The objective is to avenge upon the Turkish nation, at first to disintegrate her in Anatolia and then to destroy her. This cult, sect or whatever it is called, this treason gang under the disguise of religion, which undertakes the duty of being a pawn of tyrants, has attempted an assassination against the Turkish nation and her army. And therefore, “Euphrates Shield Operation”, which began on August 24, 40 days later than July 15, 2016 and which lasted for 7 months, and “Olive Branch Operation”, which is now being carried out, are strategic moves aimed at spoiling the global and imperialist game, invalidate it and say enough and stop this game. And the rest shall most definitely come. The aspect of our Distinguished President of the Republic as he continuously and loudly states that all along that the eastern part of Mümbiç and Fırat will be cleaned from the terrorists and that a terrorist corridor will never be allowed again is both strategic and vital. Taking a stand on the side of this national attitude as a soldier is a necessity of our responsibility for our country, our state and future generations.
It shall not be forgotten that those who fail to exhibit their will and courage in executing the new solutions and precautions on time put themselves in the face of new malice and trouble. Individual regrets may be the reasons for future gains. However, the harvest of penitence seeds planted at the state and nation level brought losses together at the strategical level and it became almost impossible to embrace these and add spirit to them once more. There have been losses alongside gains at every period of Turkish history. Especially the plundering of the Ottoman Empire right after the First World War and the ‘Interposing a Christian community between Eastern Turks and Anatolian Turks’ idea of the conference held in Remo in İtaly on April 18-26, 1920 in order to prepare the terms of the Treaty of Serves is rather meaningful. “Zengezur Region”, which was the eternal Turkish land until 1920, was given to Armenia by the Soviet Union and fully transformed into “Gregorian Armenian Corridor” in time as a bloody dagger put between Azerbaijan and Turkish worlds. As it was not possible to gain the land back in the passing years, unfortunately most of “Dağlık Karabağ” was lost in consequence of the massacre and invasions started by Armenians between the years 1988 and 1992.6 This “Crusade dagger”, which was put into an extremely critical geography of Turkish and Islam worlds during this almost 100-year period, the wound was sneakily deepened and therefore turned into gangrene. The sneaky game staged in the east a century ago, is now wanted to be staged in the south. “The keystone of Turk-Islam geography, the Turkish State in Anatolia, wanted to be surrounded from the south by bloody-minded killer gangs, where it cannot be anticipated what these gangs will evolve into in time.” In case of any situation arising from the Crusade mentality, they will attempt against our lives by opening a fatal corridor at the heart of the Turk-Islam world. When we look at the big picture by widening the legs of our mental compass a bit more, the view unfortunately boils down to this. The importance of strong leaders is inevitable in every period of time, especially during hard times and in chaotic environments, for the strategies that will be put into practice to be efficient and productive. Strategy and leadership are realities that are immanent with each other. This connection may be seen in the definition of leadership as a strong combination of strategy and character. What sense does a strategy that is constituted without a leader make? What gives a spirit to a strategy is a soul that makes it meaningful, puts it on realistic foundations, enriches its imaginative aspect and makes it brilliant as the Pole Star, which gives direction at nightfall when no one expects or hopes for it, and makes it as natural as the day at the dawn of the night with calculated risks and solid apprehensions, is the leader. When it comes to strategy and directing it to the practical field the leader is what yeast is to dough. The leader develops, directs and uses the power with his/her vision, information based on strong intelligence and apprehension ability.
OLIVE BRANCH OPERATION WITHIN THE CONTEXT OF CHARACTERISTICS OF HYBRID WAR
The Turkish nation and her army have a different place in this subject. They have remarkable qualifications in the Middle East and in the world in a larger scale. What constitutes and shapes armies is national culture above all. Needless to say, Turkish culture lives strongly within the army with her features, values and elements. There is a strong culture within the Republic army’s mortar that was mixed during the War of Independence. The predominant force in Turkish state tradition is the army and the army constitutes the base of the state.7 The Turkish nation, which has existed continuously with more than hundred states established in all sizes on a wide geography in every period known in history and which has independent living suffused into her genes, has this essence running through her veins: Having a strong military structure. It is not a coincidence that we witness the innumerable repeat of the struggle for existence and the achievement of these struggles of Turks in every place they held on to as their homeland. It is a vital necessity for those who are in charge of propelling and managing the state and the army to develop sufficient and efficient forces by evaluating the nature and character of the war accurately. Otherwise, it would cost much for the Turkish State to ensure sustainability against global and imperial threats in this geography. Although the probability of being permanent or retrieval is quite low, losses on strategic scale may come into question. The 15th of July is a very significant turning point in this sense. The purpose of consistently discussing and expressing this subject is to attract attention to the fact that a different method of irregular and/or hybrid war carried out on the region against other armies may be applied against the Turkish army.
Both Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch Operations are challenges and rebellions against the different methods of the irregular and/or hybrid war carried out on a global scale and with imperialist intentions in the Middle East. Both operations are strong, rightful and lawful reactions against the fifth generation hybrid war that has been carried out in Iraq in 2003 and in Syria since 2011. We face a new type of combat, which we can define as hybrid war, in Syria. It may be defined as the Siamese twin of the previous generation. The difference lies in the nuances of their characters. It would be an unerring approach to consider that the last war of the fourth generation is The Second Iraq War and the first war of the fifth generation is the hybrid war in Syria.8 While this hybrid war preserves the character traits to a large extent, it shapes the new generation war’s characteristics within itself and therefore takes its place in the new arena as a new war type. Hybrid wars are the acceptance of a new understanding within the context of technology, method and power. It is not surprising for all kinds of unexpected developments to take place in a field of chaos where the combat and operational environment is lost, and everywhere turned into an action area, and no moral and legal principle is regarded in target selection. Complicated threats caused by the nature of globalization and the crisis arising from the spreading of information rapidly and to large masses are progressing more quickly and unpredictably than ever before and therefore may easily get out of control. Increasing variety of threats, easier access to fatal and destructive technologies and development opportunities generalized the combat to residential districts frequently.9 This change in combat increased the obscurities and invisibilities to the maximum and these are being experienced in specific to Syria.
The war in Syria changed and diversified the opponent/enemy and sympathizers in the traditional combat to a large extent. Although the operational field and environment comprise Syria and Iraq under the light of the current developments, it also carries the seeds of expansion within itself regionally. The forces used are spread on a wide range from regular army troops to guerillas, from special forces to terrorist organizations, from private military organizations to organized terrorist entities. The combatting sides use a large variety of instruments from classic and modern war weapons and instruments to chemical weapons, from handmade explosives to social media instruments, from cyber warfare to the rules and procedures of psychological warfare. The dirty war without rules and battlefronts and which uses multi-dimensional, multi-actor and different methods together in Syria also made the fighting ground anarchy in the strictest sense.
As information technology based nanotechnology and intense biotechnological systems are used widely in this combat, the change and transformation of the war’s character may become interesting. The dominance over space and cyberspace has become the focal point of the combat.10 This domination will escalate even more with time. As it was for the other four generation wars, the central and vital importance of technology will also continue in this generation. Moreover, the determinant role of technology on efficiency of the forces will increase even more. However, playing these roles as desired or as planned will only be possible by supporting and developing the human resources with equal importance. Regardless of which generation’s war it is, the primary factor that cannot be calculated in war is human willpower.11 History offers countless examples regarding this and when these examples are examined it may be observed that determination and dexterity of human beings prevail over the enemy who is surpassing in terms of technology. On the other hand, the game changing power of technology cannot be denied. The skill is to balance between these two powers and to make the power components suitable for the next war’s character in accordance with a strategy.
The situation in the Syrian geography, where the hybrid combat that we tried to explain briefly, continues strongly as described. Olive Branch Operation, which was started on January 20, 2018 by the Turkish Armed Forces and Free Syrian Army (FSA) under her management, moved on to a new phase (as of March 12) by surrounding Afrin city center, 52 days after the operation started.
In the first phase, wWhile pilot loss and deficit discussions are made, it is a remarkable success for Air Forces to attack the determined targets on-point with 72 planes and to continue this performance in the following days including Northern Iraq. Although the progress of the land forces seemed slow, when the specifications of the operational environment, whose general perspective is presented above, and reasons such as not to cause civil losses and keep the casualties at the minimum level are taken into consideration, this is also remarkable progress. At this phase, the power of the Turkish defense industry with regards to the weapon systems, equipment, tools and equipment used is remarkable. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, Armed Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, ATAK helicopters, Howitzers (Fırtına Topları), Multiple Rocket Launchers, all kinds of rockets, missiles, bombs and many other ammunition and reconnaissance, surveillance and communication systems used in aforementioned systems are a great source of pride to the Turkish nation and her army. The precautions taken during the last 10-15-year period, particularly under the care of our Distinguished President of the Republic, started to bring results. Preservation and development of the achievements obtained and strengthening the competitive skills in this worldwide race is both a vital and a serious prestigious matter for the Republic of Turkey. The Second Phase, which started since March 12, when it was probable that the hybrid war might transform into more risk-bearing urban warfare, in consequence of the destruction and escape of a large majority of the PKK/PYD terrorist organization, control was established on March 18 in the city center. It is extremely important that Turkish security forces propelled the quite experienced Special Forces, Gendarmerie and Police Special Operation units to the operational field. What is important after this is not when and how to establish full control in Afrin city center and other places but it is not to allow or tolerate any puppet state-looking terror base in the east of the Euphrates, Mümbiç being in the primary location. The Turkish State together with her army and security forces has the ability to stop this game by using the whole or part of the national power elements. This will be the case as long as Turkish political power, which found the magic wand of the public at her back and enabled its sustainability, updates the “grand strategy” and fortifies the national power for projected precautions with the purpose of preparation for successive phases.
FORESEEING THE FUTURE AS A PROGRESS STRATEGY
It was strategic treason, which does not comply with any international nor alliance law, for the USA to support the terrorist organization PKK/PYD in 2017 with thousands of truckload of weapons, ammunition, tools and equipment and with training support amounting to 417 million dollars, and to persist with this attitude with high amounts such as 500 million dollars in 2018 and with 300 million dollars in year 2019.12 When it was considered that the number of terrorists to be armed, equipped and trained reaches figures such as 60-70 thousands, the gravity of the situation may be understood more clearly. This situation, which is tried to be made a fait accompli, can never be accepted by the Turkish State and her nation under any circumstances. Concealment of real malice attempted by wrapping this support in the lie of struggle against the DEAŞ terrorist organization. The USA’s issue is neither counter terrorism nor any other thing. Her issue is to make countries disintegrate and diminish, ensure the dependence at the level of vassalage, to have control over energy sources and strategic mines/minerals and to procure the remote safety of Israel in accordance with the USA’s grand strategy. The objective of USA’s relationship with PKK/PYD terrorist organization is quite simple: Preparing public opinion that the PKK is not a terrorist organization by putting the PKK forward in the struggle with supposedly radical Islam with a perception operation and nationalizing the PKK by enabling it to have an army with assistance and support.
The top virtue in the sacred book of the art of war and fighting is to attack and subvert the strategy of the enemies and opponents that is also defined as the “triumph of intelligence”.13 It is necessary to read the strategy Turkey followed especially after July 15, 2016 in this context and evaluate both operations and the diplomatic maneuvers in the process as a part of the action plan. Expecting the actions based on the controlled chaos strategy in our region and in the Middle East to end in the short, middle or long term may be regarded as a manifestation of a great optimism. Today, the Middle East is like a “Petridish” where all kinds of methods are inhumanely used without paying any regard to values for various reasons in all kinds of struggles just like it was in the past. Therefore, the burden of seeking a future in the Middle East14, whose present and future is quite problematic and which contains convenient conditions for all kinds of provocations and conflicts within herself, is quite high.
The interest struggle of the USA in the first place and Russia, China and other regional powers both in the Middle East and in other regions in proportion to their powers will always continue. However, the USA and Russia are two dominant global powers in the Middle East. It is quite clear that they will not give up this unrivaled supremacy at least until the end of this century. It is a strategical obligation for the countries of the region to understand the necessity to develop their power and immediately take precautions in the light of this reality. Because the ongoing geopolitical change is a vital subject that directly refers to the safety, welfare and survival of these countries. The Republic of Turkey is obliged to give exceptional attention to the “Turkish army and security forces” on the road to making her goal of being a regional power and maintaining her existence safely in the Middle East above all. Special Forces, commando units, Gendarmerie and Police Special Operation elements, security forces and village guards have had an exceptional place in the struggle carried out by the Turkish army against the PKK for more than 30 years. Of course, the great sacrifice and epic struggle of primarily every member and unit of the heroic Turkish army and security forces and village guards can never be forgotten. The noble Turkish nation’s determination, her profound love for her army, her excitement and resolute support are invaluable in carrying out this combat and accomplishing military goals.
The need of the Republic of Turkey for a strong, mobile and efficient Turkish Armed Forces, which works in harmony with the other power elements, will increase in every passing day in the struggle with the potential threats, with PKK/PYD being in the first place. Reconstruction and strengthening of Special Forces and other special operation forces by taking the changing regional conditions, policies of global and big powers aimed at the Middle East, changing character of calculated combat and the achievements gained against PKK until now into consideration is an inevitable necessity for Turkish Armed Forces to military perfection. The existence of national power elements, which are fortified for the hybrid war, will be needed more to overcome the regional forces we are facing and which will become more difficult henceforth.
The features of the hybrid war make it a necessity to carry out the combat with new forces and organization, which will be formed with the proper combination of both regular/conventional and irregular and also paramilitary and civil elements. There is no mathematical formula with regards to the combination between two or more power factors. It shall be expected from the allies organized within the framework of each country or an idea to form their own power factors accordingly under the light of the character of the war, politics, theory, strategy, concept and doctrines. This step is a strategic obligation with regards to development of power. Balancing of power will be determined by: a) Evaluation of threats, b) Effectiveness and weaknesses of national power elements, c) Existence, continuity and reliability of external support, d) The power struggle between global and regional powers and neighbor countries.
Balancing and improving the forces is the main subject for both politics and strategy. Balancing the irregular war factors with conventional forces being in the first place, ensuring the adaptation and improving the capacities in order to carry out the hybrid war is an necessity that cannot be refused.
Particularly, strengthening the capacity of special forces in every aspect, and catching up with the times by maintaining the technological rate of change through sensitive guided/smart ammunitions and their transportation platforms are essential.
Using these two power components is particularly fundamental in defeating the enormity that becomes prominent and strengthens in hybrid war. Improving power is a necessity by knowing that we are yet at the start of an insuperable struggle, which we are in and which will occupy a few generations at least in the future.
The stone and slingshot that will definitely work in this fight are: precision guided ammunition and special forces. There are two fields that should be absolutely controlled in order to develop, preserve and use this ability: Space and cyber space. There is no great significance to developing power on land, sea and air without outmaneuvering on both fields.
SUSTAINING THE REST IS A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH
The operations done on the states and their armaments in the Middle East are political before anything else and they are the actions of the global/big powers in order to shape the region with hybrid and irregular war methods. Putting the remainders of this method into their own orbits with military alliances and assistance is an imperialist game. The keystone of spoiling the aforementioned possible scenarios and maintaining national existence within state borders is for the Turkish strategical leadership to take the measures that will invalidate the hostile intentions and actions affecting her directly and/or indirectly, by updating the central strategy.
The treason-oriented attempt on July 15, 2016, Euphrates Shield carried out by the Turkish army between the dates of August 2016-March 2017 and Olive Branch Operation, which continues since January 20, 2018 and reached to Afrin city center as of March 18, 2018, are strategic moves that shall be considered within the context of the aforementioned subject. Sustaining the rest is a matter of life and death.
As the shaping of the Middle East in a global manner continues, there is one matter that those hoping to gain strategic achievements from this situation shall not forget and that is that there are millions of young soldiers of all ages stating, “when the country is in question, all the rest is details”, a password which is present in the cultural and genetic codes of the Turkish nation.
This spoils the game. It is necessary to know that Turkey’s opportunities are not limited regarding this matter and that it is highly likely to overcome every difficulty with infinite and strong strategies.
1Turkish Language Association, Turkish Dictionary, 2009, p. 2241.
2Carl von Clausewitz, On War, Volume I, Translation H. Fahri Çeliker, Gnkur. Publishing House, Ankara, 1984, p. 146.
3Colin S. Gray, Modern Strategy, Oxford University Press, New York, 1999, p. 1.
4Ergüder, Topbaş, War in 21st Century- Revision of Warfare and Strategy Towards a New Struggle Philosophy, Kripto Publications, Ankara, 2009, p. 55-66
5Clausewitz, On War, Volume I, p. 146.
6Ergüder, Topbaş, An Evaluation on Turkey’s Missed Opportunities and Losses in 20th Century, Armed Forces Academy Graduation Thesis, İstanbul, 1997, p. 36-42
7Suat, İlhan, Development of Turkish Military Culture, Ötüken Publications, İstanbul, 1999, p. 94-200.
8Generally, wars are divided into five according to their generations: First generation wars are the ones that took place before the World War 1. Wars grouped as a part of this generation focused on alignment and direction; mainly based on single-barrel, smooth-bore weapon technology, infantry dominated and organized type of wars. From the historical point of view, World War I marked the beginning of second generation of wars. Distinguishing characteristics of this type of war is intensive use of fire and fire support systems. Historically, the third generation of wars began with the World War II. It is a type of war that speed exceeds the power of fire and prioritizes skipping the enemy line and diminishes struggling forces rather than approaching enemy in order to destroy it. A main characteristic of fourth generation wars is the fact that it is a struggle method that was primarily used for approximately seventy years and it is still valid today. Distinguishing characteristics of this kind of war is the elimination of classical and conventional struggle mentality in the aftermath of the Cold War Era. (ET)
9Lim, Richard, Innovation and Invention: Equipping the Army for Current and Future Conflict. AUSA: The Institute of Land Warfare, National Security Watch, 2015, NSW 15-3.
10Hammes, Thomas X, The Sling and The Stone, On War in The 21st Century, USA: Zenith Press, 2004, s. 289-91.
11Hart, B. H. Liddell, The Strategy of Indirect Approach, Translation C. Enginsoy, Asam Yayınları, Ankara, 2002, p. 251.
13Ergüder, Toptaş , Guerilla- Counter Guerrilla War, Basic Strategies and Techniques, Kripto Publishing, Ankara, 2015, p. 21.
14Fromkin, David, who is the writer of “A Peace to End All Peace” named book that is one of the most important works regarding modern Middle East, answered the question, “Can you forecast the future of Middle East?” by saying, “There is no future for the Middle East,” in an interview made in 2007. We may comprehend that the phrase “There is no future for Middle East” not as having no future but as to be doomed to have a future that will repeat the current circumstances without changing. (Yıldız, Dursun, Ekinci, Ediz, Military and Geopolitical Developments in Middle East that Has No Future, Turquie Diplomatique, Issue: 67, p. 10.)