Turkey is keen on eliminating the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) everywhere the latter has any presence. Hence, the recent offensive against the Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq. The Turkish government’s latest move “Operation Claw-Tiger” is a continuation of its consolidated efforts in recent years, to defeat the Kurdish rebels who want a state of their own. While Baghdad protested the move by summoning Ankara’s ambassador to Iraq, Tehran has not said anything negative against the operation in northern Iraq. The silence of Iranian leadership suggests that it is on board with Ankara. And this makes perfect sense, as Turkey’s success against the rebels will help Iran as well.

But the real question is this: can Turkey cull the insurgency of the Kurdish rebels? So far, the country has been unable to defeat the Kurdish rebellion despite the latter’s all-out efforts against the former. Turkey has been fighting PKK since 1984. The fact that the insurgency has succeeded all these years, shows that Ankara and other states involved in this conflict need to change their strategy against the rebels. A military solution has not generated the desired results. And this quite naturally applies to the Kurdish rebels as well, who have long been finding support from the United States – though the US designated it a terrorist organisation in 1997 – and Israel.

Perhaps, both sides must realise that the conflict is a political issue. And political problems need political solutions. We have seen this in the case of Afghanistan, where the superpower of the day finally came to understand that the Afghan conflict needed a political answer, not a military response. Now when the Kurdish authorities in northern Iraq, according to some analysts, have also welcomed the operation, PKK should realise that their actions and insurgency has upped the ante against them. It is the time for PKK to come to the dialogue table and negotiate with Turkey the peace process that crashed half a decade ago.