In the aftermath of the deadly explosion of Istanbul that killed six people and injured 80, Turkey’s defence ministry launched a counter-strike operation in northern Syria and Iraq. 11 individuals have been killed so far in this crossfire and more are expected to die if tensions keep escalating. The region has seen its share of instability, and with this feud being added to the mix, there is a risk of great unrest that will undoubtedly have an adverse impact on the entire international community. A united stance is vital at this point in time, and all parties must be urged to de-escalate operations.
The explosion in Istanbul on November 13 sparked immense backlash from the Turkish government which vowed to hold the attackers responsible. The Kurdish fighters denied any involvement in the matter but Ankara was convinced that the Kurdistan Workers’ Party or PKK—the outlawed Syrian Kurdish forces—was behind the bombing. This accusation comes in light of the decades-long conflict between Turkey and the PKK since 1984. This would explain why, within the late hours of the night, an air operation was carried out in the name of self-defence.
The justification that the Turkish government gave for this aggressive approach is one that is often used by many global leaders themselves; the UN charter gives every state the right to defend itself. Even the US in fact was aware of the inevitability of this and it had already issued warnings to travelers looking to go to Syria and Iraq prior to the military operations.
However, the fact remains that the region surrounding Turkey is already conflict-ridden. Russia and Ukraine’s conflict has left the world economy in shambles, and has killed hundreds of innocent people. The Syrian war has evolved into becoming more complex and the additional aggressive foreign policy decisions being taken by Turkey are bound to cause irreparable damage. Turkey’s strife with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) which is backed by the US can also cause a major strife on an international scale, not to mention the unnecessary loss of life that this will incur. It is also not entirely certain that the PKK is behind the recent attacks. This kind of escalation must be avoided and the international community must push for a more diplomatic approach.