It is worth noting that in general, "hybrid warfare" is not something new for the modern world. However, as technology advances, the possibility of conducting such wars is increasing as well. A hybrid war has several fronts, which include informational, diplomatic, economic, cyber front and direct military actions. However, military operations are often conducted not directly by the armies of warring parties, but by proxy groups, often mercenaries. Often, parts of the regular army, Special Forces of reconnaissance from one or both sides are involved. An illustrative example is Russia’s aggression against Ukraine. All the elements of a modern hybrid war can be traced in this conflict, there are other similar examples, Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and so on. There is an element of a hybrid war in all of these hot spots as well.
I want to emphasize that hybrid warfare does not necessarily imply maintenance of active hostilities; the parties may be limited to terrorist attacks and guerrilla and semi-guerrilla operations in the territory of each other.
Active hybrid warfare with variable intensity is conducted against Turkey since the 1980s. This war continues to this day, but the motives for the war run deep into history. Hatred and envy of certain circles in Europe against Turks originates already since 1453, after the capture of Constantinople (although Christian Crusaders captured and plundered Constantinople long before Mehmed II). With the growth of the territory and power of the Ottoman Empire, hatred and fear of European ruling circles against the Turks only increased. For centuries, the ruling houses of Europe woven conspiracies and formed alliances against the Ottoman Empire. Finally, the entry of the Ottoman Empire in World War I on the side of Germany gave a chance to the historical enemies of the Ottomans, Britain, France and Russia, to finally put an end to the six centuries-old Empire. This process was even formalized in the form of a secret Sykes - Picot agreement, and later, with significant amendments, in the form of the Treaty of Sevres. But history decided otherwise, already buried and divided country has risen from the ashes and ruined the plans of Britain and France. Thus the Turks contributed to the continuation of a hybrid war against their own country.
During the Cold War, Turkey has become a battleground for the western and communist intelligence services. This battle also assumed creation of reliable domestic supports. After Turkey became a member of NATO, the confrontation with the Soviet Union has risen to a new level. During the Cold War, the Soviet Union mainly focused on the creation of radical leftist groups in Turkey. In the 1980s, the Soviet Union began to use Kurdish (PKK) and Armenian (ASALA) terrorists against Turkey. It is worth mentioning that NATO allies of Turkey did not wait around either. Despite the fact that the Ottoman Empire no longer existed, and Turkey became a member of NATO, along with Greece and France. French and Greek intelligence services actively cooperated with the Armenian terrorists, thereby using them against Turkey. This shows that the historical priorities of these countries have not changed.
Hybrid war against Turkey continued also after the end of the Cold War. Even so significant changes have occurred in the ranks of the opponents. For example, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, its legal successor Russia has been out of the game for a while, but its place was taken by countries such as Germany, Syria, and partly by Iran. After the Armenian terrorists, being too much into extermination of each other, finally left the scene, all the attention was focused on the PKK. Russia resumed active contacts and support for the PKK in the late '90s, in the mid-90s PKK interested Germany. Berlin consistently established contacts with the PKK. Thanks to contacts originated in the mid-90s between Berlin and the PKK, one of the most effective networks of the PKK operates in Germany, which is involved in finance collection and transferring, political planning, as well as informational and ideological confrontation. According to a report referred to the Minister of Internal Affairs of Germany in January 2015, during his visit to Turkey, 13 thousand PKK members live and conduct activities on the territory of Germany. Some experts have difficulties interpreting Germany's interest in the Kurdish issue. Perhaps Germany is trying to find a foothold in the rapidly changing Middle East. But if you look at the Middle East, the majority of these countries have long decided on foreign policy guidelines. Germany is too late. Realizing this fact, Berlin apparently decided to seek support and allies not among the countries, but among individual organizations and ethnic groups in the Middle East (I do not exclude that the decision was made on the assumption of an early collapse of one or more states where Kurds live, such as Syria and Iraq). It is noteworthy that Germany acts on several fronts in the Kurdish issue. With established relations (and therefor, the share of influence) with the PKK, Berlin also ignores the "Iraqi Kurdistan", which is a de facto independent state and not subordinate to Baghdad. Germany, trying to strengthen its presence and influence in the region, opened a consulate in Erbil. In addition, Berlin provided military assistance to armed Peshmerga troops, allegedly to fight the jihadists. Although, logically the assistance should have been provided to the legitimate Iraqi government, not the rebels, who advocate the division of the country and, almost as well as the ISIS, arrange ethnic cleansing in the territories under their control. It is noteworthy that some of those weapons got into the black market, and I do not rule out that another part is at the disposal of the PKK.
The flow of refugees from the Middle East to the European countries, in particular Germany, forces the German authorities to go on dialogue with the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Democratic, economically developed and tolerant Germany, with a population of over 80 million people, accepted about 500 thousand Syrian refugees, and it has already created a serious political crisis in Germany. While the "intolerant" and "undemocratic" by German standards, Turkey, with much weaker economy, and almost the same number of population, took about 3 million Syrian refugees during the years of conflict. The EU, led by Merkel, puts pressure on Ankara in an attempt to resolve the issue of refugees by means of Turkey. Various tricks are being used to convince Ankara, from the promises of abolishing visas for Turkish citizens, to offers of financial support and intensification of negotiations on Turkey's membership in the EU. Of course, along with that, Berlin also uses elements of a hybrid war, which are expressed in provoking hysteria directed against the President of Turkey, as well as dirty speculations in the Bundestag, on the topic of the 1915 events in the Ottoman Empire. With which, by the way, Germany has a deep connection.
Not only countries take part in a hybrid war against Turkey, it is possible to note a number of organizations and biased political and public figures. In particular, it is about the Armenian and Greek lobbies. Of course the Armenian lobby stands out more in this matter. It should be stressed that the Armenian lobby has used almost all the ways to put pressure on Turkey, and to harm this country. They include terror, murder, blackmail, informational countering and attempts to falsify history. It is noteworthy that within the framework of Armenian lobby’s war against Turkey, Western scholars, who do not share the Armenian point of view, also became the target of Armenian terrorists. Since the independence of Armenia, this country has also joined a hybrid war against Turkey. But, due to the catastrophic economic situation, Armenia's contribution to this war is very limited. However, this limitation is offset by extreme aggression. The objective of the Armenian lobby and the Armenian state is to achieve recognition of the events of 1915 by Turkey as "genocide", compensation and territorial concessions from Turkey in favor of Armenia. Many might wonder, for what does Armenia, with its decreasing population, need more territory? For some, this question sounds rhetorical. In fact, the Armenian leaders are well aware that no one is going to concede them anything. It is not the result that matters, they need the process itself. The representatives of the Armenian lobby are often used by Russia and a number of European countries against Turkey, for their own geopolitical purposes.
Finally, on Russian involvement in the hybrid war against Turkey. I strongly disagree with those who argue that Russia and Turkey had good relations before Turkey brought down the Russian Su-24 that violated its boundaries. Yes, the countries had some partner relations, but it is not friendship. Russia and Turkey cannot be friends by default, because Russia positions itself as one of the world's superpowers, and Turkey - as a regional power. Russian and Turkish interests overlap historically and contradict each other in a variety of areas, from the Balkans to the Caucasus and Central Asia. The occupation of Crimea by Russia, under the pretext of "restoring historical justice" and "the protection of Russians", created tension in the relations between Russia and Turkey. Because, if we proceed from the "historical truth" and "historical affiliation", the peninsula belonged to the Ottoman Empire much longer than to Russia and the population of the peninsula is related to the population of Turkey, not Russia. Russian population, which was supposedly “saved” by the Kremlin, mostly was resettled here after World War II, and that was preceded by the ethnic cleansing against the Tatars. Accordingly, they are not the original inhabitants of the peninsula, of what the Turkish political elite is well aware. The beginning of Russian military operations in Syria, which Ankara considers as a part of its sphere of interests (Syria was part of the Ottoman Empire for more than Russian Empire and the Soviet Union existed put together), completely ruined the Russian-Turkish relations. One spark was enough for this powder keg to explode. This spark was the destruction of the Russian Su-24 by the Turkish Air Force. Immediately after the incident, without being able to respond symmetrically, the Russian leadership began to promote anti-Turkish hysteria with a racist tinge. The clumsy and primitive Russian state propaganda began to denigrate “Turkey, an accomplice of terrorists". The Russian side has accused the Turkish authorities of complicity with terrorism (support of ISIS and involvement in the oil trade with ISIS). Provided "evidence" was quickly exposed due to its coarse and worthless forgery and, after a while, the names of Russians actually involved in oil trade with ISIS have also come up. The Russian side generally failed to convince the international community, excluding the number of marginal, of the Turkish leadership’s involvement in oil trade with ISIS, or its support to the terrorists from ISIS. A few months after the incident with the Russian aircraft, when it became clear that no one believes in the Russian version of the destruction of an aircraft, and that attempts to convict Turkey of having links with the ISIS have failed, , the Kurdish terrorist organization "Kurdistan Freedom Falcons ", dormant for several years, suddenly woke up . I do not think it's just a coincidence. Eagerness of the Russian media to cover terrorist attacks in Turkey is also remarkable (I think there is no need to remind, who controls major Russian media outlets). In general, unlike, for example, Germany, France and the Armenian lobby, Russia, being in a state of deep systemic crisis, total corruption and incompetence, can only rely on brute force, or different kinds of proxy forces. For example, it can rely on the marginalized Kurdish terrorist groups. I want to emphasize that these marginalized groups cannot fundamentally affect the long-term prospects, the development of Turkey and the increase of its strength, developing into a regional influence.
Summarizing all the above, I can say that individually the countries or organization, waging the hybrid war against Turkey, are unable to turn the tide in their favor. The contradictions and unresolved problems between Turkey’s opponents do not allow them to come together and act in concert. As Turkey will increase its military and economic power, it is possible to predict the inclusion of Iran, Great Britain, Israel and the United States in a certain degree into the hybrid war against Turkey. The primary objective of the Turkish authorities is building up its own and allied capacity and infrastructure to confront the hybrid wars, as well as measures on fragmentation of the real and potential enemies.
Ali Hajizade, political scientist, head of the project "The Great Middle East"