Thursday, October 25, 2007

Turkey's PM Erdogan: US Won't Stop Iraq Invasion


Turkey's PM Erdogan continues to ramp up the rhetoric again saying that the US won't stop Turkey from invading Iraq.

"They (the Bush administration) might wish that we do not carry out a cross-border offensive, but we make the decision on what we have to do," Erdogan said during a visit to Romania. "We have taken necessary steps in this struggle so far, and now we are forced to take this step and we will take it."

Just today the Turkish military got into a firefight with the Kurdish PKK, claiming (depending on whom you believe) that they've killed between 30 and 60 of the PKK fighters.

Erdogan also had the bald nerve to say that the U.S. should repay Turkish assistance for the invasion of Afghanistan with support for Turkey's fight against the Kurds.

"Right now, as a strategic ally, the USA is in a position to support us. We have supported them in Afghanistan," he said.

`Support' translates as allowing Incirlik airbase, which the US leases from Turkey to be used to resupply our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Erdogan seems to have conveniently forgotten not allowing the 4th ID to deploy from Turkey in the Iraq invasion in 2003, as well as this little item.

This over the top rhetoric,of course would not be possible without Nancy Pelosi and her allies in Congress and their back door attempt to cripple American efforts in Iraq with their ill-timed Armenian Genocide resolution. The problems between Turkey and the Kurdish PKK have been around for years, but this gave Erdogan and the Islamists the issue to unite the country and particularly the Turkish military behind his government, when there was substantial opposition to him before.

The Turks have given the Kurds an ultimatum: the only way to avoid an invasion is for Iraq and U.S. forces to destroy the PKK bases and turn the PKK leadership over to Turkey.

Both of these are impossibilities. The Turkish military itself hasn't been able to root out the PKK guerillas for years, even though they've made several border incursions, the latest one as recently as this June. And even finding them in the first place is problematic, given that the PKK guerillas know the mountainous terrain intimately.

For their part the Kurds have been fairly straightforward in trying to mollify the Turks and settle things reasonably.

Massoud Barzani, the leader of Kurdistan said that the Turks need to come to a political solution with the PKK.

"If Turkey comes up with a peaceful solution, and the PKK refuses it, we are ready to do anything against the PKK. But if Turkey is using the PKK as an excuse to fight with us, we are ready to defend ourselves," Barzani said.

If the Turks come across the border in force, they may be able to bomb Kurdish cities and towns, but I have a feeling that the Kurdish Pesh Merga might give them a bloody nose, in spite of the Turks' advantage in heavy weaponry. And the Turkish air force and armor depend on US spare parts - it's inconceivable to me that even the Bush Administration would continue the flow of supplies to Turkey if they invaded Kurdistan.

I have a feeling that Erdogan knows this very well, and that the tough rhetoric is exactly that, designed to prop himself up politically. But I could be wrong.

It's a mess, but a mess with a clear solution,albeit longterm: it's high time the US started building bases in the territory of our true allies in Iraq,the Kurds. A base equivalent to Incirlik, but situated in Kurdistan would solve our resupply problems, give us a base in the region handy to Iraq,Afghanistan and yes, Iran with a firm and loyal ally in control.

I've only been saying this for a couple of years now. We should have supported a strong independent Kurdistan from day one, and of all the mistakes we made in Iraq at the beginning, I think that's been one of the most damaging ones.

14 comments:

nazar roudyk said...

You know, I just don't see how we can dump on the rest of Iraq after everything we've done for them and sacrificed over there. Besides, unstable countries have a way of spilling their destabilization to other countries. In addition, Kurdistan is a land-locked part of the mid east. We would still need Turkey to have access to it.

Freedom Fighter said...

hI Nazar,
I'm not talking about dumping on the rest of Iraq at this point ,but I think the odds on the corrupt and tribal Maliki government getting its act together
unless we take out Iran are slim and none, and the Maliki government are definitely not our friends.

If Iraq does not partition, a base in Kurdistan would be to our advantage (Iraq isn't landlocked, and under the loose sort of federation they have the Kurds have the leeway to do so)

If Iraq splits, a base in Kurdistan would be even more valuable, because the Turks couldn't continue to blackmail us for use of Incirlik...and even though Turkey's not landlocked , remember that the resupply we're doing is via Incirlik AIRBASE, so Kurdistan being landlocked wouldn't be a problem, as we could fly in via the Israel-Jordan-Anbar route. Ans, as a matter of fact if the Sunni chiefs in Anbar continue to be our allies, as seems likely in a partitioned, largely Shia Iraq, thatbecomaes a land route as well.

Ivan said...

Setting up a US base in the Kurdish region of Iraq would lead to the problem of every insurgent group in Iraq attacking Kurdistan because it is a region tolerating a US base. Every Kurd in the rest of Iraq would be a target because his people are 'collaborating with the Great Satan'. This would lead to immediate partition of Iraq and destruction of the current government some of whom (including the President) are Kurds. If Iraq partitions the Shiite areas will immediately get involved in alliances with Iran to protect them against potential genocide. A question the Kurds will also ask before accepting any US base in their region and the backlash it will provoke is about how genuine and longterm US support for this base will be. With the possibility of a Democratic President soon and Nanny Pelosi and her team in Congress the Kurds will be worried that they may burn all their existing bridges (literally) by accepting the US base and the new administration then says 'thanks but we have decided to pull out of our commitments in your Region'. The US had a few years of such an isolation under a previous Democrat President, Jimmy Carter.

Anonymous said...

The US have big sticks with which you could beat Turkey.

- stop arming them, and tip the balance in the cold-war style air face-off with Greece. Note the current bribery [ http://formerspook.blogspot.com/ ] Please forgive us for the genocide resolution – please, please.

- withdrawal of diplomatic support – for joining the EU / in the Cyprus problem

Do they want to US allies ? Their choice, but you could ensure a big downside if the answer is no.

ELF

Ivan said...

Withdrawal of diplomatic support for joining the EU !! - er, what diplomatic support ?? The Turkish application to join the EU is dead in the water. The Turks are (rightly) furious about the demands that they change the Kemalist Constitution and the links to Referendums in Northern Cyprus. EU leaders such as Sarkozy and Merkel have made it clear that they do not want Turkey in. After all the fat Germans on their sunloungers expect all the unpleasant jobs to be performed by Turkish gastarbeiters. If Turkey joined the EU several million gastarbeiters would have full legal rights. The situation over the EU membership snub is being exploited by Muslim extremist recruiters who are saying to the Turks 'You are doing everything Europe orders you to do - even amending your Constitution. But Europe has rejected you and keeps moving the goal posts. Why ?? This discrimination is because Turkey is a Muslim country. They will never allow a Muslim country to join their Judao-Christian power block.' If it looks like Turkey is being further threatened by a Christian super power for daring to defend itself against Kurdish terrorist attacks it makes the Islamic recruiters case even stronger. He can argue that EU and US will never treat Turkey fairly because it is a Muslim country and the only way to get respect for Turkey is to earn it through Islamic jihad.

Anonymous said...

There have been many statements from the US administration stating “how important it is that Turkey is admitted to the EU”. Just because Sarkozy and Merkel are against, don’t assume that it is “dead in the water”. The machinery of the accession mechanism is still grinding its way forward. Sarkozy and Merkel won’t be in office for ever, and anyway national vetoes are being steadily eroded within the EU. The nature of the EU bureaucracy is that it never gives up, just delays and tries again.

There will always be something for Muslim extremist recruiters to exploit. But, hey, if this is your view, why not the US pool its sovereignty and citizenship, international boarders etc. with Turkey. Just so you cannot be accused of discriminating against a muslim country.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Ivan ,
Thanks for dropping by.

I have to say I differ with you about the effects of a US base in Kurdistan. First of all, because of Iraq's current setup, a `federation', the Kurds are perfectly able to allow US bases in they want to....and if you were correct,that it would incite the Shiites,all the more proof that the Kurds and perhaps the Sunni tribes in Anbar are our allies there.

As for long term commitment, even Hillary Clinton of all people has said that it is important for the US not to leave the Kurds hanging. The value of a base in Kurdistan ( and the end of our dependence on Incirlik) would ensure a long term commitment..and be the best leverage against an Islamist Turkey.

Nor do I think that the Shiites would ally with Iran to `prevent genocide', because the chances of that are nil. They would ally with Iran because the corrupt, tribalist Shiite government the Bush Administration stupidly allowed to take power by pushing the Iraqis into an election they weren't ready for was ALWAYS in bed with Iran..which is where Maliki and his predecessor spent the Saddam years, cuddled up with our enemies.

I agree with you about Turkey, but I think the Islamist trend was growing a long time before the EU snub, and in fact was one of the major causes of the delay in Turkey's EU membership not the `guestworkers' per se, as Europe begins to wake up to the terrible problem they've imported from the Islamic world.

In dealing with Muslims and Muslim countries, it's always important to remember that the nation-state is largely a western concept, and Islamists like Erdogan think in terms of being part of the Muslim ummah first, and Turks second.

Hello Elf
The best `leverage' we have against Turkey is their dependence on US spare parts for their military our contacts with the strongly secular Turkish military, an dthe Turkish government's desire for the money they get from allowing us to use Incirlik.

The White Houses' quashing of the ridiculously ill times Armenian Genocide resolution has also helped, I hope.

Regards,
ff

Anonymous said...

Hi ff,

Agree genocide resolution ridiculously ill timed. Also agree with Turkey’s right to counter the PKK. (Ivan). Although not with any large scale incursion into Iraq.

Don’t think that the US should roll over when threatened by Turkey with loss of the supply route into Iraq – would be a typical western loss of spine when faced with aggressive middle eastern posturing.

ELF

Ivan said...

You're probably getting bored with me on this site but talk about amazing coincidence. I often watch UK Channel 4 (C4) for its interesting, sometimes very challenging news and current affairs coverage. Tonight (26/10/07) at 19.30 BST they had a half hour report 'Unreported World'
from Kirkuk and the Northern Iraqi oil field just 20km from the Kurdish Autonomous Region. Excellent viewing. Did you know that the population in that area are being given a referendum on going into the Autonomous Region. If you can get a link to the programme its well worth the effort.

Freedom fighter said...

Not at all, Ivan! You're welcome anytime.

I'm on the other side of the pond from you, so I'll have to hunt for a link, but it sounds like good watching. If you happen to run across a link, email me at Rmill2k@msn.com and I'll post it (with proper creit of course)

Is Channel 4 part of the Beeb or are they independent?

Ivan said...

1. C4 is the recipient of some UK govt funding but it is financially separate from the BBC, has no connection with the BBC TV Licence fee we have to pay and makes up some of its income with adverts (the BBC has no advertising). Editorially there is no connection - the BBC puts the Public Service Broadcaster badge of respectability on EU press releases, Govt statements, ONS statistics, and Blair/Brown diktats. C4 is the opposite end of the spectrum. Absolutely everything is questioned and analysed. The current affairs often report items that no other major broadcaster is reporting. It is quite common when an item is reported on C4 News for the newscaster to say 'We asked Govt. dept xyz for a minister to be interviewed on this item but they said no one was available'.

2. Another poster suggested that Turkey could be brought into line by refusing spare parts for US supplied equipment. There are two downsides to this.
a. It has been tried before - a small country called Israel has been threatened with having spare parts cut off by various powers such as Britain and France. The French even cut off support for a Nuclear reactor. The Israelis manufactured the parts themselves - even for the reactor. Turkey can manufacture the parts in-house or buy them from other friendly countries including Israel. Once you have used this method once and Turkey has got the spares elsewhere you cannot use it again as Turkey has solved the spare parts problem.
b. Israel took the hint and has developed more and more of its military equipment locally ie. Merkeva etc. Turkey can get equipment from many suppliers (both Israel and Russia come to mind) or they can develop locally. Once again you cannot threaten Turkey over spares for military equipment that it no longer gets from the US.

Tom Manning said...

FF,

Why do you hate Turks and Turkey this much? What is your actual goal here with these discussions? It honestly sounds like you have a hidden agenda regarding discarding of any type of relationships with a long time friend of US. Please do not tell me know that the only reason is because Turkey is showing a reaction against loosing thousands of its citizens to terror. Remember that the reason we are in Iraq right now, goes all the way back to 9/11 (a terror attack if you cannot remember). This possibility of this attack being related to former Iraqi administration and/or dictatorship was enough for us to declare war and fly over to a country where is thousands of miles away and lead to execution of its political leader eventually. And you want us to stop all relationships with a NATO ally because they are fighting against a terrorist organization which executes numerous attacks against them almost everyday. Kurds have a number of seats in Turkey where they can clearly fight for their rights through political paths. However if there are still groups of people from a certain or group of nationalities who choose to utilize the action of killing innocent people to get their point across, then I am a huge supporter of Turkey, asking for permission to be able to chase these terrorists back into their caves located in Northern Iraq. So after all these ideas, please enlighten us regarding your hidden agenda in order to come up with these unbelievably hostile approaches against a NATO ally.

Tom.

Anonymous said...

Is our Government and Nancy Pelosi holocaust deniers now? Funny how some genocides are more recognizable then others. What a load of crap, genocide is genocide.

Anonymous said...

A quote from the Turkish press (Milliet) this week.

“After the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, the Republic was declared but the issue of Mosul (in Iraq, but with traditional ties to Turkey) was left unsolved”.

To me this reads as “unfinished business” ?

ELF