Turkey Iraqi crisis and invasion (1995)    

Suggested Citation: Neophytos G. Loizides, Greek-Turkish Negotiations and Crises 1983-2003 Dataset , Queen's University Belfast (available online at http://www.qub.ac.uk/research-centres/CentrefortheStudyofEthnicConflict/TeachingResearch/Datasets/Greek-TurkishNegotiationsandCrises1983-2003/#d.en.173636)

Case Summary:

This case study examines Turkey’s relations with the Kurds of Northern Iraq. Turkey has carried out several anti-PKK cross-border operations in Northern Iraq (which has been outside Baghdad’s control since the 1991 Gulf War), on the grounds that the power vacuum in the area provides a safe haven for Kurdish rebels.[i] In March 1995, Turkey threatens to invade northern Iraq to prevent the infiltration of PKK guerillas into its territory. Lexis/Nexis provides 34 results for the terms “Turkey,” “Kurds,” and “crisis” for the period 3/1/1995 to 4/1/1995 (full text search under European News Sources).

Case Study Features

Effectiveness of Offensive Policies: 1

Western dependency on Turkish bases creates a relative feeling of immunity over the Kurdish issue. Possible pressure on Turkey might make the renewal of permission for Provide Comfort by the Turkish parliament less likely.[ii]

Offensive vs. Defensive Signals Indistinguishable: 0

Policies aiming to defend the country’s security contain this element of indistinguishability. However, in this case the ambiguity in incentives is not reflected in third party analyses, which overwhelmingly criticize Turkey for its operation.[iii]

Enduring Ethnic Rivalries: 1

Rivalries result from PKK activities since the mid-1980s. \

Domestic Challenges: 1

Pressure for an Islamic state is on the rise, and the economy is in deep crisis (inflation problems).[iv] There are elections forthcoming in the next six months. [v]

Confrontational Policies (dependent variable): 1

Despite international efforts, Turkey invades Northern Iraq. [vi]


[i] , “Turkey said to have launched military operation in northern Iraq”, Deutsche Presse-Agentur October 3, 1998,

[ii] Andrew Finkel, “Ankara appears ready to confront Kurds in Turkey,” The Times, March 31, 1995.

[iii]Sajid Rizvi, “Turkey risks isolation with Kurdish war”, United Press International, March 27, 1995.

[iv] Daniel J. Wakin, “Ataturk's Vision of Turkey is Fraying” The Associated Press, March 27, 1995.

[v] John Barham, “Turkey's Islamists enjoy growing appeal: The Refah party could be the biggest after the general election next month,” Financial Times, November 29, 1995, p.3.

[vi] Jonathan Rugman, “Turkey sends army in pursuit of Kurds,” Manchester Guardian Weekly, March 26, 1995, p. 3.