Prime Minister Reecp Erdogan expressed anger at Turkish television commentators who were urging the government to take action and invade Iraq. He noted television programs were featuring former generals and military men who spoke in a jingoistic manner about the glory of war. “At times, I see commentators who are supposedly experts on the subject. They serve as public servants for provocation.” He noted as a prime minister he has obligations to engage in diplomatic exchanges, not talk wildly about war. Erdogan will meet with President Bush on November 5 and, “will openly tell him that we expect concrete immediate steps against the terrorists.” The Turkish prime minister says the manner in which Bush and Iraq respond to demands for neutralizing border regions to prevent terrorist attacks would be a critical test of sincerity on their part. Erdogan believes his nation is a “part of the world, and we should not forget that diplomacy has certain requirements.” He expressed willingness to engage in meaningful talks, but he also expected results will emanate from such exchanges. The Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party both said they would work with Iraqi and US officials to neutralize border regions and avoid violence.
Perhaps, President Bush might lean something about how a leader conducts himself in the midst of crisis. Erdogan is speaking in a tough manner, but always indicating receptiveness for discussion and dialogue with opponents. He is open to talking with various factions and does not demand preconditions for engaging in dialogue. Are you listening, Mr. Bush?
Posted in Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, Turkey, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, diplomacy, Erdogan, Iraq, Turkey, US
During the past several days thousands have marched in the streets of Turkey’s major cities waving banners urging war against Kurdish rebels even if it means invading Iraq. Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit asked the Turkish people to show restraint during the crisis because to do so would allow terrorists determining the actions of the Turkish government. He appreciated cries of “Take us into the army” but did not wish a rush to violent judgement. However, journalists were upset at a ban imposed on TV channels by the Minister of Defense, Cemil Cicek which denied TV commentators the right to discuss any reports that “affect the public order, morale, and psychology of the people negatively and create a weak image of the Turkish security forces.” The ban did not apply to newspapers.
It is rather ironic for Americans to observe the head of an armed force asking calm from the population during terrorist attacks. In 2003, no American military leader stepped forth with words of calm and restraint, they allowed themselves to be bullied by Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, into marching into Iraq with flags flying. What would have happened if Chief of Staff Shinseki had been allowed to tell Congress of his concerns regarding the planned invasion?
Thousands of Turks marched through the streets of their nation shouting for war with Kurdish rebels even it if means invading Iraq. In the meantime, Turkish leaders were holding meetings in London, Washington, and Baghdad in a last minute effort to avert a new Iraq war. Prime Minister Erdogan told his counterpart, Gordon Brown, in London that an attack might come at “any time” unless the Iraq government was able to control Kurdish rebels of the PKK. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan in Baghdad informed Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari that war was the last resort of his nation because, “we do not want to sacrifice our cultural and economic relations with Iraq for the sake of a terrorist organization.”
Four years ago President Bush in his usual tough talking way persuaded the American Congress to allow an invasion of Iraq in search of WMD because diplomacy had failed. Today, more mature leaders like Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey are trying the diplomatic route despite having over two dozen of their soldiers killed by Kudish insurgents. It is unfortunate for America that it lacked leaders with diplomatic skills in 2003 who could have worked hard to achieve our foreign policy goals without resorting to war.
Posted in George Bush, Iraq, Iraq War, Military, Turkey, United States, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged diplomacy, Erdogan, Gordon Brown, Iraq, KKK, Kurdish rebels, Peace, War