Ömer Faruk Cantenar is currently enrolled in the International War Studies Program at the University of Potsdam. He retired from the Turkish Army in 2017. He commanded the 4th Commando Brigade during the Turkish Military’s first operation against ISIL in Syria (Operation Euphrates Shield) from October 2016 until August 2017. He worked as a senior research advisor in NATO Defence College in Rome/Italy and as the Director of Operations in Resolute Support Mission Train Advise and Assist Command Capital, in Kabul/Afghanistan in 2015. From 2013 to 2015, he had served as the Chief of the Education and Training Department in the NATO Centre of Excellence Defence Against Terrorism, in Ankara/Turkey. He taught graduate-level Terrorism and Counterterrorism and Internal Security Policies courses at Turkish Military Academy. He also served in Turkish Special Forces for more than ten years. He holds an MBA degree from Bilkent University and a Ph.D. degree in Security Strategies and Management from Turkish Police Academy. His latest piece, focuses on the lessons learned from Operation Euphrates Shield (co-authored by Dr. Cyprian Aleksander Kozera), has recently been published in Small Wars & Insurgencies Journal.
Northern Iraq has long been a safe haven for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which is a Kurdish militant group recognized as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States,