The Turkish invasion of Iraq is now in its fifth day with no sign soldiers will soon be leaving the territory of their neighbor. Yesterday, Iraq condemned Turkey’s incursion of their land in search of Kurdish rebels and demanded an immediate withdrawal. The Iraq government statement said: “The cabinet expressed its rejection and condemnation of the Turkish military interference, which is considered a violation of Iraq’s sovereignty.” Prime Minister Erdogan immediately responded claiming “Turkey’s cross-border operation is the result of its legitimate right to self-defense.” Ironically, the Turkish argument is close to that of the Bush administration which claimed the right to invade Iraq due to alleged threats from Saddam Hussein’s infamous weapons of mass destruction.
Deputy Prime Minister Cemil Cicek responded to criticism by American Secretary of Defense Robert Gates who advised Turkey to deal with terrorism not soley through military means by arguing his nation had a right of self defense. President Bush, and other Republican leaders like John McCain, simply do not grasp how the invasion of Iraq has destabilized the entire region. The United States used the argument it was responding to terrorism by launching an invasion. Why should Bush now be surprised if other nations use his “right of defense” in order to pursue their own anti-terrorism pursuits? It is somewhat ironic that Gates is suggesting avoiding military action and use of other means to fight terrorism. Perhaps, he should reprimand Bush and the Republican party which continues supporting war instead of peaceful means of resolving issues.