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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 [1]

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.


3 Comments (Open | Close)

3 Comments To "Put That In Your Pipe, Kaplan"

#1 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On July 29, 2007 @ 8:03 pm

Are we talking about a cross-border punitive expedition, a la Pershing v. Pancho Villa, or a deep invasion plus occupation?

If the latter, why would the Turks, having watched the U.S. misadventure in Iraq, want to fight an expanded guerrilla war with a whole bunch more Kurds than they’ve already got inside their present borders?

These questions, of course, presume rational thinking in international affairs. Silly me.

#2 Comment By cosbyjoe On July 30, 2007 @ 3:02 am

Maybe this does show rational thinking in international affairs, or at least an attempt to mend wounds with the Turks. The situation inside Turkey [2] is indeed bending the US will to the degree that it looks like headlines will no longer read “Turkey to Defy US”. Bob Novak is reporting today that the Bush administration will, indeed, engage in the North of Iraq along side the Turkish forceshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/07/29/AR2007072900859.html. Of course the US would love to continue to point to the (relative) stability in Kurdistan as a minor victory in an otherwise big mess. It’s in no American interest to destabilize the North. But . . . and here’s the big but . . . Erdogan”s AKP just won a landslide election in Turkey. This is an exercise of new mandate, a bone to the military establishment that continues to threaten any governing party in Turkey and a move to mollify the population who detests the PKK and what they represent. The only thing Bush CAN do is hope to keeping the damage at a reasonably manageable level. I think that’s what he and his boys are trying to do

#3 Comment By Grumpy Old Man On July 30, 2007 @ 5:55 am

Second link is broken.