In preparing to hit terrorist bases in the Iraqi province of Kurdistan, the Turkish government is doing no more than ours would (or should).
That’s not to say the Turks are perfect – there’s no doubt their Young Turk ancestors committed democide against the Armenians. But denying that makes them no worse than our allies the Japanese, who have never acknowledged their mass rape and murder in China and WW2.
And Turkish anti-Americanism in the run up to Iraqi freedom was no worse than that of the then French and German governments, who by deception bought Saddam 6 months to hide his WMDs and prepare for guerrilla warfare.
So we should judge this case by its merits:
Speaking hours before the PKK, the Kurdish Workers’ Party, killed at least 17 more Turkish soldiers yesterday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey had urged the U.S. and Iraqi governments repeatedly to expel the separatists but they had done nothing. Turkey’s patience was running out and the country had every right to defend itself, he said. “Whatever is necessary will be done,” he declared in an interview. “We don’t have to get permission from anybody.”
If the British had adopted this policy against IRA terrorism, they would have eliminated its safe havens in the Irish Republic, saving that nation the shame of complicity in mass murder, and of course saving the lives of thousands of innocents.
Right now US and UK troops are being attacked from Iran, Syria and Pakistan, and we are retaliating:
British special forces have crossed into Iran several times in recent months as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces, defence sources have disclosed.
There have been at least half a dozen intense firefights between the SAS and arms smugglers, a mixture of Iranians and Shi’ite militiamen…
An SAS squadron is carrying out operations along the Iranian border in Maysan and Basra provinces with other special forces, the Australian SAS and American special-operations troops.
Of course the Iraqi Kurds have been brave and faithful allies and deserve our full support too, particularly since most of their troops are deployed helping us stabilize non-Kurd Iraq and so can’t police their border with Turkey.
So the correct solution is to police the border in a manner that limits the PKK attacks into Turkey while preserving the fragile flower of Iraqi Kurdistan.
A good start would be:
1. Strong Iraqi Kurdish government condemnation of PKK terrorism.
2. Establishment of a narrow DMZ straddling the Iraqi/Turkish border, with hot pursuit allowed by either party within it.
3. US commitment of air assets to support anti-terrorist operations in the DMZ – a single orbiting B-1B would make a big difference.
The alternatives – unchecked terror in Turkey, or a Kurd/Turkey war – will be disastrous for the entire Middle East.
Finally, the role of the Congressional democratic leadership in stirring this pot by passing a resolution condemning the 90-year old democide confirms them to be moral cripples.