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.