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Put That In Your Pipe, Kaplan

Egemen Bagis, foreign policy advisor to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said Turkish forces were prepared to mount operations against Kurdish PKK fighters who had taken refuge in Iraq, because the US had failed to intervene.

“We are hoping we will not have to do it. We are hoping that our allies will start doing something, but if they don’t we don’t have many options,” he said.

“Our allies should help us with the threat, which is clear and present. If an ally is not helping you, you either question their integrity or their ability.” ~The Daily Telegraph

Thank goodness the reform-minded, “pro-Western” Erdogan government was returned with a large parliamentary majority.  Otherwise, we would have had to worry about U.S.-Turkish tensions increasing over Kurdistan.  Ahem.

The time may soon be upon us when the “redeploy to Kurdistan” solution favoured by Galbraith, Sullivan, et al. will be like every other Iraq policy fix to date: it will start far too late and will have missed the window of opportunity where it might have achieved some of the goals envisioned by the advocates of the change.  The other problem with the “Kurdish option” is that it was never intended to be a redeployment that included the goal of curtailing the activities of the PKK; the redeployment would have been, and would have been seen as, a transparent case of putting Americans in between the Turks and Kurds to prevent the Turks from entering Kurdistan.  Such a deployment would be a deterrent against immediate action, at the expense of good relations with Ankara, but it would leave the Turks with no means of redress for their grievances.

Incidentally, the electorate that just voted AKP a big majority is the same electorate that doesn’t much care for the U.S., or at least U.S. government policy:

A poll last week by the US-based Pew organisation found that 72 per cent of Turks regarded terrorism as the key issue facing the country. The same poll showed that only 9 per cent of Turks had a positive view of the US, with more than three quarters concerned that the Americans could pose a military threat to their country. Many Turks believe that the US has been supporting the Kurds.


about the author

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC, where he also keeps a solo blog. He has been published in the New York Times Book Review, Dallas Morning News, World Politics Review, Politico Magazine, Orthodox Life, Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week. He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter.

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