“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?