Turkish top civilian and military leaders have met over the past twenty-four hours to discuss possible retaliatory measures in dealing with Kurdish rebels who killed 15 people over the past few days. Turkey has been placed on the highest state of mobilization as the government prepares plans to deal with Kurdish rebels who attacked inside Turkey and then fled to sanctuary areas in Iraq. After Prime Minister Erdogan met with the Supreme Anti-Terrorr Board, the government issued a statement authorizing “the necessary orders and instructions to take all kinds of legal, economic, and political measures to end the presence of the terrorist organization in a neighboring country in the upcoming period, including, if necessary, a cross-border operation.” Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul noted “there is no need for parliamentary authorization for a hot pursuit operation.”
President Bush was so absorbed in plans to end the reign of Saddam Hussein he ignored political considerations in that region of the world. Kurdistan is now for all intensive purposes functioning as an independent nation even though ostensibly part of Iraq. America failed to engage in long range planning about what would happen if Kurdistan became self governing and then encouraged Kurdish rebels to attack and retreat into a sanctuary in Iraq. Bush also doesn’t recognize by invading Iraq without UN authorization he opened the door for other nations to claim if they are subject to “terrorist threats” they have the right to invoke the same policy of hot pursuit. If Turkish troops encounter Iraqi troops and shots are exchanged, what will be the policy of the United States? In the midst of this confusion and tension, the US Congress is prepared to pass a resolution condemning Turkey for its genocide campaign against Armenians. There is no question of Turkish complicity in a genocide operation, but President Bush has lost all leverage over Congress to find ways of getting the message out about Turkish brutality without adding to tension in the region.