Who is the winner of the Suleiman Shah Operation?
As it is known, TSK (Turkish Armed Forces) and MİT (National Information Agency) carried out an operation to the Karakozak village in which the Suleiman Shah Shrine is located, in the night of the 21st of February. Karakozak village is placed in the borders of Aleppo, on the road between Aleppo and Haseki. The village that includes the shrine is located in the northeast of Aleppo and in the south of Kobanî.
The information about the whereabouts of the Karakozak Village is of importance, because it is necessary to know the location of the village in order to understand the details of the operation. Because the partisan media keeps insisting on saying that the operation is completed without getting any permission from any group. First of all, one cannot go to Karakozak without passing through Kobanî and one must get permission from PYD-YPG in order to pass through Kobanî. Even though the partisan media emphasizes that the operation was carried out only by Turkish quarters and it was carried on heroically, but we understand an active diplomacy process with PYD took place. Turkish quarters did not deny this for a while as well. In fact, the photographs of Turkish tanks passing through Kobanî were served by the objectives of the soldiers themselves.
Turkish quarters did not deny the negotiations with PYD until 23rd of February. However on that date, the presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın gave a speech that claimed there was no contact with PYD; but he confined himself with saying this only. Let us express this without going into any more details: it is an insult to the average intelligence to imply that PYD was not informed about the Turkish tanks passing through Kobanî! This statement that was made by the presidential office should be evaluated as Erdoğan’s efforts to not swallow his words, who was claiming PYD to be a terrorist group.
In fact, it should be emphasized that highly reliable resources claim that this process was not only limited to informing. In the light of this information, YPG media spokesman Polatcan’s claims which state that TSK and MİT asked PYD for active help and the article that was published on YPG’s news website which claimed “operation took place with the attendance of our forces in Kobanî” shouldn’t be disregarded.
Was There a Negotiation With ISIS?
Even a big percentage of the people which qualifies the operation as a victory, agree upon the operation being a diplomatic “victory” rather than military. Because before TSK and MİT carried out the operation in the area, the shootout between PYD and ISIS was going on 600 meters away from the shrine. Would AKP be able to carry out an operation in the area with a limited number of soldiers without ISIS being informed about it? Let us answer this question in this way: If you are to remember, ISIS threatened Turkey through imagery published in Takva News Website, in March 2014. ISIS, who sees the Suleiman Shah Shrine as an attribution of an equal divinity to Allah, announced the shrine should be emptied immediately, otherwise it was to get hit and demolished. After this threat, body of troops of TSK after passing through Kobanî and making the exchange of the soldiers in Suleiman Shah returned back from Jarabulus, which is under the control of ISIS in April 2014. Somehow (!) ISIS did not even burn a squib as the troops of TSK, which they threatened, passed through Jarabulus! In addition to this, everybody knows that ISIS and MIT were in indirect and direct contact during the return of the Ambassy officers in Mosul!
Long story short, the first question that the troops of the army brings to mind, which went to the shrine at midnight with cameras, photographs as if they were going to a fair and came back without a conflict, how come there was no conflict if the operation was carried out without ISIS being informed about it how come there was no conflict? Does the statement of Ahmet Davutoğlu “We carried out the operation with the groups in Syria informed about it” include ISIS?
In any scenario, this was what ISIS wanted anyway! According to the Salafi belief the shrines must be destroyed! In other words the possibility of a negotiation with ISIS whose main idea was “You already want the shrine demolished; let us come and demolish it ourselves” shouldn’t be overlooked. Because there is no need to explain the difference between having the shrine demolished by ISIS and having it demolished by TSK!
It is necessary to point this out one more time: ISIS was uncomfortable with the shrine since the last year! The news that are found in the Takva website which is close to ISIS presents ISIS’s point of view to the subject. For example, the article that was titles “Turkish land left abandoned cowardly.” Included Devlet Bahçeli’s and Kılıçdaroğlu’s statements about the operation. The angry comments of ISIS sympathizers that express hatred against the leaders of CHP (Republican People’s Party) and MHP ( Nationalist Movement Party) who are described as nonbelievers by ISIS, can be seen in the commentary section of the article. So as the partisan media keeps saying that the moving/demolishing of the shrine as a diplomatic/military victory that was win against ISIS, ISIS and their sympathizers seem pleased with the operation.
The Interpretation of the Operation from the Law Perspective
Let us say the last words in the beginning: the operation violates the international law. Because the conditions of using military force against a foreign country are clearly stated in the international law. There are sanctions to entering a foreign country’s lands with any reason. The fact that Turkey informed Syria before the operation but carried out the operation before getting an answer reveals the incongruity of the operation with the international law.
So is there a sanction to this incongruity? It looks like a long shot that it will lead to a sanction, because of the conjuncture. Firstly, the operation was viewed as an operation against ISIS, who does not have any legality, in the international public opinion. Secondly, it does not seem possible that Esad’s reaction, whom was accepted as “lesser evil” by imperialism, will cause the necessary effect on the public opinion. What we call the international law only consists of a series of the terms that try to show the steps that will be taken by imperialism are legal anyway. What was bad for imperialism yesterday, can be good today; but what is good today, can become bad tomorrow as well. In other words, AKP’s this move may not have an outcome in the short or intermediate term; however this operation which was carried out proudly by AKP members who are openly committing war crimes, can face them in the international courts tomorrow.
Partisan press is trying to show the operation as a heroic saga; on the other hand nationalists are screaming “national land is lost!”. The waters are still not clear. But there is something that is clear, AKP had to swallow their own words. They showed us that they would not be able to endure the possible consequences of severance with the Kurdish national movement by carrying out an indirect and direct diplomatic process with PYD whom they call “terrorists”. Additionally, carrying the shrine to Eşme, which is under the control of PYD, carried this message one step further.
Of course, AKP keeps working on the terms of the legislative package about the domestic security, behind all this clamor and turbidity. Time will tell in what direction will the relations between AKP, who makes a limited alignment with the Kurdish movement across borders but fights over the terms of the domestic security law issue in the parliament, and the Kurdish national movement will progress; however we may hear the news about our comrades getting arrested a lot more, as we listen to the tales of the partisan media about the operation, while the terms of the domestic security law are approved by the parliament one by one with all this fuss about Syria.