Turkey is increasing its counter-terrorism efforts by giving the Interior
Ministry more authority. The Minister of the Interior will be promoted to a
Vice Prime Minister, making him senior to all the other ministers. The head of
the National Police will now control the Coast Guard as well. Within the
Interior Ministry, two new agencies will be created (the High Council on
Interior Security and the General Secretary of Interior Security) to create new
strategies, collect and analyze data and develop new counter-terror techniques.
It's all something like the U.S. Department of
Homeland Security, created after September 11, 2001. But the Turkish situation
is somewhat different, as they have two
sources of terrorism; Kurdish separatists and Islamic radicals. Another
difference is that the battle is largely taking place in Turkey itself, with
terrorists taking refuge in neighboring countries (especially Iraq.) Thus the
Turks have the police and military working closely together. By giving the
Interior Minister a promotion, it is hoped that it will be easier to get the
military and intelligence services on board with whatever strategies the
Interior Ministry comes up with.
One of the
first new strategies is to open offices in Iraq, Iran, Syria and Europe to work
with local counter-terrorism organizations, to identify and halt terrorist
operations aimed at Turkey. This is mainly aimed at expatriate Kurds, especially
those in Iraq and Europe, who use these foreign countries as safe havens for
fund raising and recruiting.
Ministry also wants to insure that the military does not undertake any
strategies or tactics that will anger the civilian population. Sometimes the
army, and even the police, can be rough with Kurdish civilians, and civilians
in general in eastern Turkey. This just antagonizes the civilians, and makes
them less likely to provide information about the Kurdish rebels, or Islamic terrorists.
Islamic terrorism is relatively recent, the Kurdish rebels have been out there
for several decades (or centuries, if you count the long term Kurdish
resistance efforts), and more Turks are willing to try new solutions.