Bush Sells Turkey On “Surgical Strike” Strategy

Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey concluded his Washington visit with President Bush pleased with the cooperation he received from the United States. The two nations agreed to share “actionable intelligence ” ideas that would assist Turkey in any military operation it began against Kurdish rebels operating out of northern Iraq areas. Bush affirmed his opposition to the actions of the Kurdish Workers Party(PKK) and pledged cooperation with his NATO ally. The leaders agreed on “limited surgical operations” which means American military intelligence will assist their Turkish counterparts in identifying areas serving as bases for the PKK and allowing Turkish planes to bomb. Some critics in Turkey believe Bush is attempting to divert a land invasion by supporting air attacks on Kurdish bases.

There are fundamental flaws in the Erdogan/Bush agreement. PKK rebels are hiding in mountains which makes it extremely difficult for air attacks to have much effect. Bush continues believing in air attcks against guerrilla forces although most military experts doubt that is an effective strategy. Ironically, the Erdogan government has probably taken more positive action to assist its Kurdish population secure political right and to improve living conditions than any prior Turkish government. This is a problem for the Kurdish government to handle, not the Turkish government. Rebels are operating from Kurdistan and therefore its government has to become more pro-active in dealing with this internal situation.