Turkish Military Urges Calm In Rebel Crisis

During the past several days thousands have marched in the streets of Turkey’s major cities waving banners urging war against Kurdish rebels even if it means invading Iraq. Chief of Staff General Yasar Buyukanit asked the Turkish people to show restraint during the crisis because to do so would allow terrorists determining the actions of the Turkish government. He appreciated cries of “Take us into the army” but did not wish a rush to violent judgement. However, journalists were upset at a ban imposed on TV channels by the Minister of Defense, Cemil Cicek which denied TV commentators the right to discuss any reports that “affect the public order, morale, and psychology of the people negatively and create a weak image of the Turkish security forces.” The ban did not apply to newspapers.

It is rather ironic for Americans to observe the head of an armed force asking calm from the population during terrorist attacks. In 2003, no American military leader stepped forth with words of calm and restraint, they allowed themselves to be bullied by Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, into marching into Iraq with flags flying. What would have happened if Chief of Staff Shinseki had been allowed to tell Congress of his concerns regarding the planned invasion?