When I visited Turkey last July, the policy analysts at the American embassy in Ankara said that Turkey would not invade Iraq because “they are our allies”. Northern Iraq is the safest place in Iraq, and we wouldn’t want Turkey to interfere. Turks will obey us, they seemed to be saying.
Yet Turkish society became irate when suspicions were confirmed that US-issued weapons were ending up in Kurdish separatists’ hands in August. Turks have long thought that Americans backed the Kurds, and that their hypocritical “War on Terror” did not extend to Turkey’s own plight. Turkish politicians seemed to be taunting neo-conservatives by asking how tough on terror are you, Mr. Bush?
Since then the Turkish military government received approval from the parliament in October to take military action “at any time” against Kurds, which includes this morning’s raid. President Bush said in a meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan that the “PKK is a terrorist organization. They’re an enemy of Turkey, they’re an enemy of Iraq, and they’re an enemy of the United States.”
Meanwhile self-proclaimed “Kemalist, nationalist, statist, secularist, populist, and revolutionist” Turkey was beating the war drums to invade Kurdistan.
For weeks, Turkey continues to bomb Kurdish separatists in Eastern Turkey and Northern Iraq. In Turkish society, Kurds have only recently (since 2005) been granted basic civil liberties such as being allowed to speak one’s native language. Kurds can now speak Kurdish, but they cannot yearn for independence in irredentist Turkey. That’s an attack on the state. “Insulting Turkishness,” according to article 301 of the penal code, is a criminal offense.
At the moment there are tens of thousands of Turkish troops near the border area. A CNN headline reads Iraq Condemns Turkish Attack. Iraq’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying that it asked its envoy to tell the Turkish government
“to halt such military actions that effect innocent and causes panic which may affect the friendly relations existing between the two peoples and governments of the two neighbors.”
The EU also called for Turkey to halt raids in Northern Iraq. This is the largest air raid yet, says the UK Guardian, and more are expected. America wants to prove how tough it is on terror, so the Defense Department is aiding Turkey by supplying them with “lots of intelligence.”
Websites like the Kurdistan Communist Party say Turkey is betraying the Kurds once again. After all, there are more nations than there are states, and when some states force fiercely unwilling nations to be included in the state’s rule-by-force game, there are bound to be violent conflicts.