Turkey Fears Iraq Power Vacuum

American political leaders continue discussing whether to get our troops home from the fighting in Iraq, but to regional leaders, the situation of Iraq poses potentially great problems. Turkish General Yasar Buyukant, speaking at an international symposium, discussed several issues of importance such as continued emphasis on the part of other nations to define Turkey as a “moderate” or not moderate Muslim society. He told Vice President Dick Cheney the United States should cease trying to define his country and asked him if he should say, “the moderate Christian United States.”

However, the main gist of the head of Turkey’s armed forces was concern over the situation in the Middle East. He expressed doubts there would be any immediate resolution of regional issues, but worried about Iraq.”The dissolution of Iraq will surely cause new conflicts among the diffeerent ethnic and religious groups in the region. We should get this point.”

A new American president has to recognize troops can not immediately be withdrawn unless such a process occurs within the context of an overall plan of action. What about Kurds in northern Iraq? What about Kurdish groups on the border with Iran? There are numerous unresolved issues that must be handled before American troops can leave Iraq. Or, we may well witness attacks by Turish forces into northern Iraq.