Tag Archives: Kurdish rebels

War Chants Heard In Turkey As Diplomats Try For Peace

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.

Turkey Girds For Action Against Kurdish Rebels In Iraq

A high level summit was held last night in Turkey as its top leaders and military officials met to discuss a response to the latest Kurdish attack on Turkish forces. At least 12 turkish soldiers are dead and a reported ten have been taken as hostages by PKK rebels. According to Prme Minister Recep Erdogan, “we will make a decision at the end of our discussion about what sort of step we will take.” Although he said Turkey would act in a “cool manner,” the president made it clear whatever action is taken would not be influenced by what others feel regarding an attack across the border into Iraq. President Gul said Turkey “has no eye on Iraq territory but it is Turkey’s right to stop this as long as Iraq harbors terrorists.”

The ironic aspect of the current Turkish-Kurdish controversy is that any Middle Eastern expert in 2003 knew an invasion of Iraq would result in establishment of a virtually independent Kurdistan and such a creation invariably would result in conflict with Turkey. This is a fall out of the Bush invasion of Iraq which was emotional rather than cooly logical and diplomatic. The one consistent pattern of the Bush administration is its angry, threatening rhetoric which panders to right wing extremism in America, but only incites anger and violence in the remainder of the world. Bush claimed the right to invade nations in the name of dealing with “terrorism.” His rhetoric is now echoed in Turkey by leaders who also want to resort to violence in dealing with terrorism.

Turkish Army and Kurdish Rebels Clash In Mountains

Fighting on the Turkish-Iraq border escalated as units of the Turkish army clashed with rebels who belong to the Kurdish Workers Party. The Kurds infiltrated in early morning hours and attacked a Turkish patrol killing 12 soldiers. About thirty three Kurdish rebels were also killed in the fighting. Elsewhere in the mountains, Kurdish insurgents wounded at least 16 Turkish soldiers. There are reports the Turkish army is using artillery in order to blast Kurdish positions.

The losses on both sides, as of this point, are rather minor, but the implications are major. Continued deaths of Turkish soldiers will only result in further escalation of fighting until it reaches the point where the Kurdish government might decide to get involved. Such a decision would pose enormous problems for Iraq which would have to make a choice between defending its territorial integrity or antagonizing Turkey.