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CHIEF OF STAFF GENERAL ILKER BASBUG’S SPEECH DELIVERED AT THE “GLOBAL TERRORISM AND INTE

During the period after the Cold War the events we have

Issue 21

- In the struggle against terrorism, a union of effort between various agencies and institutes that are active in different fields must be established.


- The struggle against terrorism is a long-term process. Patience, determination and restraint must take place against terror.


- Necessity and patience against the struggle with terrorism must not only involve security forces but must be correctly perceived by political decision-makers, the media and public opinion.


- Terror organizations seek an extension in the struggle and an exhaustion of patience among the public. For this reason they try to build their strategies on public patience. Thus, in the struggle against terrorism public and administrative patience must be shown.


- In the struggle against terrorism providing unreal expectations to the public must be avoided.


- Even though it has not been frequently heard in the struggle against terrorism, I would like to touch upon a concept from a different angle that I think is important. Terrorism is part of the ecosystem that is produced, lives and is surrounded by it and exists together with it. What is an ecosystem? When we speak of the ecosystem we think of its environment and order. We think of all the vegetation, animals and humans in a region and their relationship within the existing environment and order. Terror organizations try to give form to the ecosystem that they are in. This is a very important point. In the struggle against terrorism, the state, security forces and everyone is in this ecosystem. The ecosystem that feeds terrorism must be altered so that it contributes to the struggle against terrorism. For this reason, it is compulsory to fully understand the local ecosystem that feeds terrorism.


In general ecosystems in which terrorism is a part are complex and varies from one country to another. The reason for this complexity is that modern, postmodern and traditional webs are intertwined. Aside from this, terrorism finding itself alone in the ecosystem is not within or nearby but overflows outside this area to reach international dimensions.


In addition, terrorist organizations conduct narcotics, human and weapon smuggling with criminal organization that have extended beyond national borders.


All this shows that the struggle against terrorism is multi-dimensional, complex and is a process that takes time. For this reason, changing the ecosystem that feeds terror and which will shorten the life of the terrorist organization must be the basis. The purpose is to create an ecosystem that leaves terror by itself. The security forces personnel that struggle against terrorism must form a whole with the ecosystem of the region.


The ecosystem has an environment, geography, nature, and all the people, therefore it contains everything. You have to form a whole with all of them and try to live intertwined with the geography. For this reason you can only dominate geography by pressing your foot one step at a time. You have to be a player as well in the ecosystem. You have to be a natural part of the system 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Otherwise, it is very difficult to dominate from a distance.


As the Armed Forces another subject that we emphasize is to be together with the community. For this reason we have community development support programs. One may wonder who is responsible for this duty. Of course it is also a duty of the Turkish Armed Forces. Because our country is big, settlement areas are many and because our opportunities are limited, the other agencies of the state cannot reach everywhere. When other agencies of the state cannot reach certain places, the Armed Forces tries to meet the needs of our people and attaches importance in being with them and we feel proud in undertaking this important duty.


As a result of reading terrorism’s local ecosystem and the experiences we have gained on the field, we have a Temporary and Volunteer Village Guard system that we apply. The separatist PKK terror organization feels very uncomfortable with this system. Removing the Temporary and Volunteer Village Guard system is their priority. This system which has been applied for a considerable time in our country has undertaken very important duties and responsibilities in the struggle against the PKK. The Temporary and Volunteer Village Guards as of today have given 1,343 martyrs. In being together against this struggle with the law and the state is a very important indication that the question is not an ethnical conflict and the divisive terror organization has not gained the support of the people in the region.


The range of activities of terror organizations is very wide. These organizations can carry out activities in rural and urban areas at different intensity and different types of action. For this reason each one requires different methods in the struggle against terrorism. Since terror in rural areas and terror in cities are very different, it is necessary to develop different methods to combat terror based on the two types. On the other hand, to assume that terror activity and the preventive measures taken against them in one country is the same in another country is highly wrong. Today we note that the struggle against the separatist PKK terror organization is heavily concentrated in rural areas. While terrorist acts in Iraq are concentrated in cities, terrorist organizations in Afghanistan, similar to Turkey are active in rural and inhabited areas. Therefore in evaluating such events in one country and applying the results to another country in the same way will not be correct.


- There may occur certain paradoxical situations that security forces may face in the struggle against terrorism:


- At times applying too much force in terms of security precautions may result in a less secure situation.


- At times using more force in operations may lessen their success.


- At times using less force in operations, taking calculated risks may increase its success.


If there is no intelligence there is nothing. In other words, in the struggle against terrorism if your intelligence is inadequate your changes at success are none. This matter is very important. Of course when you mention intelligence three conditions must be present. First, the intelligence or information must be correct. Second, intelligence must be available at the appropriate time. Timing is very important as late information has no value at all. The third condition is that intelligence must be effective. We should know that operations are guided by intelligence. Operations that are not based on intelligence may lead to negative results. The question,” What shall we do if there is no intelligence?” may come to mind. In that case we have to think of the following: Possibly certain operation’s primary target, the basic objective may be to gather intelligence. In any case we have to record this as well.


Today we note that intelligence instruments are very wide: From technical intelligence to combat intelligence, intelligence comes in many forms. However, in analyzing the success of states in their struggle against terrorism as to how they were successful, we see that the use of human intelligence in the struggle is the lock and key. Obviously you are going to use technology, you are going to use whatever means including communication signals from satellites, but if your human intelligence is weak your job becomes much more difficult. Human intelligence must be conducted by trained personnel and these trained personnel must also be one of your personnel and the difficult part is this. In general human intelligence is done based on local personnel. Is this wrong? It’s not. But how trained are local personnel on this subject? How trustworthy are they? The truth is that this human intelligence must be provided from the trained personnel you have raised. If you cannot do this, it means that you have many shortcomings on the subject of intelligence. In fact seeing success in this is very natural.


In order to establish dynamic cooperation between security forces and intelligence agencies everything must be done. Obtaining effective, correct and timely intelligence is important. Intelligence will guide operations. Operations that are not based on intelligence may bear negative results. The important of intelligence obtained by trained personnel and based on a human is very important in the struggle against terrorism.


In this struggle, whatever the rank of the personnel on duty in the field, the formation, his expertise is decisive in the success of the struggle. The leaders in the field from the specialist sergeant to army commanders, aside from traditional military formations, must have the ability to read history and geography as well as sufficient sociological knowledge.


We as the Armed Forces are very conscious as to how important this is and teach these subjects as lessons in all our academies. In particular we have again included sociology in the curriculum of the War Academies in the last two, three years because we know that an officer must answer to the community and to people. The materials in his command and the personnel he will meet in his field of duty are people. It will be very difficult to expect our officers, petty officers, and specialist sergeants that do not have sufficient knowledge on these subjects to perform the duties that are expected of them.


- The success achieved in the struggle against terrorism should not be measured by the number of terrorists that have been neutralized. Here the matter that security forces have to give attention in the struggle against terrorism is to reduce terror incidents to an acceptable minimum. We note that the security situation in Iraq in the last few years is getting better. We see that the number of incidents carried out by terrorists, or to use an expression that is used there “insurgents,” has declined compared to the past.


- A decline in participation in terrorist organizations, taking control of them and measures that will expedite desertions from terrorist organizations must be emphasized. This is one of the key issues in the struggle against terrorism. The number of terrorists that have escaped the organization and surrendered to security forces in 2010 as of today is 65. Therefore, providing the means to escape from the terrorist organization is an important matter.


- The determination of the community in the struggle with terrorism is by itself an important factor. For this reason in order to create suitable circumstances for the administration of perception with the use of violence and fear by terrorists and in order to prevent this from taking place important duties fall on every level of the community and the media.


The media carries out and should carry out public duties. Therefore, the media should inform public opinion based on correct information. Even though freedom of the press and objective reporting is a fact that deserves respect in many ways, the necessary boundary of freedoms that will damage the community must also be considered. What is “real,” “exists,” “presented” and “perceived” that we are confronted though the media are many times presented without a detailed analysis. This situation causes serious changes in the perceptions of societies. In such a case the media must ask, “Does the news that we have provided in this manner, at this duration and with these repeats provides a benefit or damage the community?”… The most important target of terrorists is to draw the attention and interest of societies to the activities they have realized and thus be recognized and their existence accepted by the system and society. If you can give an event in two minutes don’t show it for fifteen minutes and please don’t repeat the news ten times. Repeats are very important because giving terrorist incidents on national and international media for long periods and repeating them over and over provides a service to the goals of the terrorist organizations.


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