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In struggle against PKK, Turkey takes flight

The conflict between Turkey and Kurdish militants is becoming more complex and destructive as the Turkish army begins using drones in warfare.
Members of the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), a militia affiliated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), disarm an improvised explosive device placed by Islamic State fighters near the village of Umm al-Dhiban, northern Iraq, April 30, 2016. They share little more than an enemy and struggle to communicate on the battlefield, but together two relatively obscure groups have opened up a new front against Islamic State militants in a remote corner of Iraq. The unlikely alliance between the Sinjar Resistance

In armed conflicts, each new weapon or technique introduced typically elicits a countermeasure or new move by the opposing side. Such action-reaction cycles can sometimes escalate clashes to levels both sides come to regret. This is the current situation involving Ankara and the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and between the Islamic State (IS) and the international coalition confronting it.

As noted Sept. 12 in Al-Monitor, in “Ankara hardening anti-PKK strategy,” the Turkish government, confident in its declaration of a state of emergency and experience gained in its struggle against the Gulen movement, has settled on a strategy of total liquidation of the PKK to the exclusion of attempts at deterrence. In this regard, Ankara last month introduced on the battlefield the Turkish-made medium-altitude, long-endurance Bayraktar TB2 armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). The drone's manufacturer, Baykar Makina, is owned by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar.

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