Tag Archives: Kurdistan

What Would Bush Do If President of Turkey, Asks Turkish Paper?

As the recent meeting of UN, Arab League, and other concerned regional nations concluded its meeting in Ankara, the return of the eight captured Turkish soldiers has temporarily reduced tension on the Turkish-Iraq border. Prime Minister Erdogan is meeting today with President Bush, who undoubtedly will indicate his support for Turkey in demanding the right to have peaceful borders, but he will insist that no military action should be undertaken to invade Kurdistan. Yusu Kanli, writing in the Turkish Daily News, posed the interesting question as to what would George Bush say if he was President of Turkey rather than the United States” According to Kanli, he would probably say words to this effect, “When what’s at stake is the security of the United States, international law, diplomacy, peaceful settlements, cooperation, etc..we couldn’t care less. We have to counter that threat. Are you with us or against us?”

I believe Mr. Kanli has made a clear and accurate statement about any Bush position if the United States was the nation being attacked by a terrorist group using the safe haven of Mexico in order to launch cross border attacks on US territory. One can only wonder if in moments of reflection, President Bush recognizes that he is asking of Prime Minister Erdogan what he refused to do in 2003.

Turkish Soldiers Freed In Kurdistan

In a bid to demonstrate cooperation with nations attending the International Conference in Ankara, the outlawed Kurdish group, the PKK, announced today there were freeing the eight Turkish soldiers who had been captured and held hostage. “At 7:30 a.m., the eight Turkish prisoners were delivered to a delegation from the Kurdish region, which also included members of the Democratic Security Party,” said PKK spokesperson Abdul Chudahi. Th freeing of the prisoners came as Iraq began to crack down on Kurdish groups which have been assisting the PKK in its militancy against Turkey.

It is ironic that American Secretary of State Rice played a role in working with regional nations, including Iran, in this effort to ease tensions as 100,000 Turkish troops were massed on the border of Kurdistan. Instead of the normal Bush rhetoric about evil doers, Rice worked with evil doers in in order to lessen tension and achieve a compromise solution. There were no demands for “preconditions” which is so typical of President Bush before he will even talk with groups he considers to be enemies, but all parties plunged into the task of negotiation and compromise. Is this a formula to use in Afghanistan or Iraq or for Israel in its conflict with Palestinians?

Summit Meeting In Turkey To Resolve Kurdish Problem

Foreign ministers of major nations in the Middle Eastern region and other major powers, are meeting in an effort to avoid war between Turkey and Iraq over Kurdish rebel attacks on the Turkish military. Secretary of State Rice and President Maliki of Iraq are joining the group in order to discuss initial draft documents. The Turkish government has been holding off on imposing economic sanctions or taking military action until the summit meeting has terminated and they have had an opportunity to talk with Secretary of State Rice. The draft document which will be reviewed, calls on Iraq to take effective measures to control its borders and prevent terrorist attacks from its territory upon other nations. The summit is attempting to explore the broader issue of terrorism which is a concern of all participants. Iran, for example, is being attacked by insurgents operating out of Iraqi soil. Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki is also participating in the meeting. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan emphasized that any measures taken by his nation will only target “the terrorist organization and not Iraq or the Iraqi people.”

Perhaps, one hopeful outcome of this summit meeting is creating a secretariat of regional foreign ministers who would meet on a regular basis in order to handle ongoing issues. Such a group would foster positive relations and trust. Of course, it would be extremely helpful, if at some point, Israel joined the group.

Kurdistan Leader Defiant And Seeks Compromise

Iraqi Kurdish leader, Massoud Barzani issued a defiant rejection of Turkish demands to end terrorism while also indicating he was ready to negotiate for peace. On one hand, he said about Turkey, “You do not speak to me, then you ask me to do things against the PKK. How can this be?” Within a few moments he also said: “I am a friend of the Turkish nation, not an enemy. Let’s cooperate and open the door for a peaceful solution to the problem..” Barzani heads the Kurdish part of Iraq which, for all practical purposes, is now functioning as a semi-independent area. Barzani most probably harbors concerns that have little to do with the PKK.
Why is Turkey’s hostility toward Iraqi Kurdistan? Is it because we are the real problem in Ankara’s eyes and not the PKK? We want assurances from ‘Turkey that all these military measures are not against us.” In another flip around, he told the PKK to “give up violence or confront not only Turkey but the whole Kurdish nation.”

Barazni fears Turkey seeks to crush all Kurdish armed forces that might pose a threat to their own security. There is concern in Turkey that creation of an independent Kurdish nation serves as a beacon to Kurds in Turkey, Syria and Iran to also become part of that nation. The American invasion of Iraq caused Kurdistan to emerge as a semi-independent nation and we are now living with the consequences of Bush’s actions.

Iraq Warns Turkey About Invading Their Nation

In an interview on BBC, Iraq Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari, said his nation would not accept a major Turkish invasion of its territory. He noted about 100,000 Turkish troops are massed on the border backed by planes and tanks and prepared to invade Iraq. He admitted the situation was serious, and was upset because the Turkish government had shown no concern about working with the Iraqi government to reduce tension. Zebari warned of “serious consequences” of a Turkish incursion onto the soil of Iraq. “That’s why the whole government of Iraq and the whole people of Iraq are united really not to see their sovereignty, their territorial integrity undermined by a friendly neighboring country.”

One can only wonder if there is underlying fear on the part of Iraq that Turkey might use the excuse of terrorist attacks by the PKK as an excuse to gain control of large areas of Kurdistan, a nation whose existence offers hope to Kurds in the region for having their own united nation. The Kurdish government has been casting eyes on oil in the Mosul region of Iraq, something that might also be of interest to the Turkish government. This entire situation could and should have been forseen by the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld group when they launched the ill fated invasion of Iraq. It was a disaster waiting to happen. Based on Zebari’s comments that the threatened Turkish invasion has united all factions in Iraq, perhaps, the solution to violence in his country is finding a common enemy that will bring people together. The question is which enemy would unite Iraq and which would not result in extensive violence?

Iran And Syria Back Turkey In Dispute With Iraq

The foreign ministers of Iran and Syria announced their nations were completely behind Turkey in its dispute with Iraq over attacks by Kurdish rebels upon Turkish military forces. “Iran condemns,” said Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki, “use of northern Iraqi territory as a launch pad for terrorist operations against Turkey and is fully prepared to combat terrorism any place.” Mottaki and his Syrian counter part, Walid Moualem, both urged Iraq to cease aiding Kurdish rebels. They also confirmed Iran was building a pipeline to transport oil to both Syria and Turkey.

Six years ago, George Bush initiated a war against Iraq that in in his mind would be over in a few weeks and then peace would reign in the Middle East. Little did he realize what a chain of reaction he was setting in place that six years late would witness growing cooperation between Turkey and Iran. Syria, Turkey, and Iran each contain a minority Kurdish population that might be attracted to the idea of an independent Kurdistan. Thus, they share a commonality of interests which compel their nations to cooperate in order to crush the Kurdish Workers Party. Was this possibility ever discussed among Bush foreign policy experts? Did anyone in the Bush/Cheney administration ever grasp the most probable outcome of creating an independent Kurdistan without working closely with Turkey?

Iraq Leader Defiant-We Will Not Turn Over Kurds!

Iraq Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani defiantly told the world he would not give in to Turkish or American pressure about surrendering leaders of the Kurdish Workers Party. “I will not hand over any person in any regional state no matter what the cost. However, in truth, I will not allow any PKK official to use the Kurdistan region as a base or to be present here and threaten the security of Turkey.” Barzani said he was ready to defend his nation against any action by an outside power, including the United States. His statement came after talks in Ankara ended in a deadlock where Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said, “some of the proposals put forth by the Iraqi delegation were far from meeting our expectations while some were to provide results in the long run. …However, we expect the Iraqis to take immediate action.”

The winds of war grow stronger with each passing rhetorical outburst from the parties involved. The Kurds and Turks are walking gingerly down the road to war and apparently neither side understands how to halt their voyage to chaos and disorder.

“Allah Wants War” Shout Angry Turks

Thousands of angry Turks marched along Istikal Caddesi, Independence Street, shouting for their government to strike hard at Kurdish rebels even if it means crossing the border into Iraq. The forces of jingoism have been unleashed by the latest assault on Turkish troops which left at least 12 dead and several missing. People from all backgrounds, car mechanics to students at Bilgi University, spoke of their frustration at failure of the Erdogan government to take decisive action against Kurdish rebels. Secretary of State Rice urged Prime Minister Erdogan to hold back on a step toward war, but Erdogan informed British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “we cannot wait forever, We have to make our own decisions.” And, if the decision is for war, the overwhelming majority of Turkish people will support the action. In the mean time, Kurdish people are daily encountering examples of hatred and bigotry once people learn of their background.

During the past few years, the Islamic government of Recep Erdogan has made great strides in providing aid to eastern Turkey which is the home of most Kurds. In so doing, they may have frightened the rebel Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) into believing the average Kurd was turning away from the dream of a greater Kurdish nation. This fear may well be a factor in the recent increase in violence and attacks on Turkish soldiers.

Lost in the rhetoric and anger is the connection between the current crisis and American foreign policy decisions. President Bush invaded Iraq although just about every expert on the Middle East was saying such action might lead to creation of an independent Kurdistan which would frighten Turkey. Their predictions came true. Perhaps, many Middle Eastern people find amusing that Secretary of State Rice is urging moderation and hesitation prior to invading a nation. Why is it Bush wants everyone else in the world to act moderately at a time of crisis?

No Place To Hide For Iraqi Christians

Iraq has been home to a Christian population for over 1500 years. The original Assyrian Christians were living in the area hundreds of years prior to the emergence of the Muslim religion. An unfortunate out growth of the ill conceived and ill planned Bush invasion of Iraq was the necessity for Christians to flee for their lives in the aftermath of violence and sectarian hatred. Thousands of these refugees headed for Kurdistan in order to distance themselves from bitter fighting in Baghdad and other areas of the country. There are now at least 6,000 Assyrian Christians located in the northwest region of Kurdistan close to the border of Turkey. By a quirk of fate, they are now caught between an angry Turkish army to the west and Kurdish rebels of the KKK to the east. According to a bishop in the Assyrian church, their villages already are being bombarded by Turkish forces. “The bombardment lasted for more than four hours striking farmlands, killing livestock and destroying orchards and roads.” The Christians know there is no road back to Baghdad and, apparently, no road to the west.

Bush’s conservative religious supporters are quick to denounce Democrats for failing to “support our troops” or back the supposedly wise policies of the president, but not a word from them about the destruction of Christian life in Iraq. There used to be about a million Christians in Iraq, but estimates now place their number around 400,000. Where do these people go? Thousands tried fleeing to Kurdistan and find themselves caught between a Turkish army massing on the borders and a defiant Kurdish rebel force. When will American Christians finally grasp that George Bush has essentially dealt a death blow to Christianity in the Middle East?

Turkish Business Leaving Northern Iraq Fearing War

As rumors continue circulating about a potential armed thrust into the Kurdish region by Turkish troops in hot pursuit of Kurdish rebels, Turkish businessmen are packing up to go home. There are extensive projects in Kurdistan that are operated by Turkish businessmen, but according to Ahamd Ajar, head of the Turkish Businessmen Society, “Major companies are ending their work in northern Iraq on the way to return home.” This ending of business follows on the heels of Iranian businessmen being forced to halt activities due to American pressure and closing of border crossings from Kurdistan to Iran. Kurds estimate they are losing at least a $1,000,000 a day because of American actions against Iran.

There is apparent need for the United States and representatives of the Kurdish semi-independent government to reach some agreement that would end attacks by Kurdish rebels in Turkey. These continued attacks which result in death of Turkish soldiers and civilians only serves to heighten tension. There is also need for the United States to cease interfering in the affairs of Kurdistan by deciding who can do business on their territory. The Kurds apparently want an Iranian business presence and should have that right.