American and Turkish officials failed to reach an agreement as to when Turkey’s armed forces will be departing from Iraq. Yesterday, President Bush told a press conference, “Turkish troops sh ould withdraw from northern Iraq as soon as possible” while Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told Turkish officials in Anakara, “the U.S. believes the current offensive should be as short and precisely targeted as possible.” Turkish Chief of Staff Generl Yasar Buyukanit told Gates, “short term is a relative notion. Sometimes it is a day, sometimes a year.” He pointed out Turkey has been struggling with terrorism for 24 years and noted America has been in Afghanistan for six years.
Prime Minister Erdfogan insists “Turkish soldiers will be returning after achieving their goals” but will not pinpoint the exact time when that task will have been accomplished. On one hand, Gates accepts the complexity of the situation, on the other hand, the United States is protecting the integrity of the Iraqi government. Unfortunately, the two might not coincide in terms of a timetable for withdrawal.
Once again, the Bush administration is living with unintended and unexpected consequences of the ill fated invasion of Iraq. Most experts knew from day one of Bush’s actions to get rid of Saddam Hussein that an important result would be creation of a confusing situation in Kurdistan. Neither Bush, Cheney, nor Rumsfeld had any grasp as to what they were doing in terms of Turkey’s concern over creation of an independent Kurdistan state. Of course, neither did right wing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and the others who still insist the Iraq operation was the right move.
Posted in George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Peace, Politics, Turkey, Uncategorized, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bush, Gates, Kurdistan, PKK, Turkish invasion
Turkishjet planes bombed positions of the Kurdish Workers Party in their nation’s continuing effort to wipe out members of the outlawed PKK, Air and ground operations are now in their fourth day and there is no indication they will end within the coming days. Turkey continues insisting “Our target is the PKK terrorist organization, not the Iraqis.” Government spokesperson Celik declined to give a time frame for the return of Turkish military and added, “Our troops will return as soon as the objective of the opertion is achieved.” Government sources claim 112 Kurdish rebels have been killed with loss of 15 soldiers.
The best estimate is the PKK has about 4,000 members and they are embedded in mountainous areas of Kurdistan. If past actions against guerrillas fighting from mountain positions have any validity, the Turkish campaign to wipe out the PKK will not be achieved within a few days or even months. Will Turkish troops remain in Iraq for the indefinite future? How will the government of Iraq react to the presence of forieign troops on its territory? What will be the position of the Bush administration if Turkish troops do not immediately withdraw? Who exactly in the American or Iraq government has explored the answer to these questions?
Another approach of the Turkish government might be focusing on economic development in Kurdish areas of their nation or making greater efforts to incorporate Kurdish leaders within government or working to end social discrimination of Kurds. These are not glamorous options, but they might provide more permanent achievement of how to end the Kurdish rebellion.