Saturday, October 20, 2007

Did the United States consult us????

Talking Turkey... or trash?

In his toughest criticism of the United States since coming to power in 2002, Erdogan told a crowd in Istanbul last Friday: ”Nobody can give us lessons on beyond-border operations. Did the United States consult us when it entered Iraq from tens of thousands of kilometres away?”

As a matter of fact we did - remember this, Mr. Prime Minister Ergogan?

Mixed signals from Turkey about its intentions to send troops into northern Iraq are frustrating U.S. officials and appear to have delayed the American offensive on the key northern cities of Mosul and Kirkuk.

Belatedly — and after much haggling over technicalities — Turkey opened its airspace to U.S. military flyovers late Friday. Thus far no American warplanes have used that route into northern Iraq, although diplomatic sources said operations might begin within hours.
U.S. war planners also indicate that they may now bypass Turkey and instead use Jordanian airspace when they insert the ground troops who are supposed to secure Mosul and Kirkuk.

But the United States changed its mind after the Turkish parliament rejected its request to allow American troops to use Turkish bases...

How likely is a Turkish invasion of Iraq? Beats this suburban housewife. It's starting to look to me like the Turkish want us to do the heavy lifting for them.

(I found this analysis interesting though.)

Sedat Laciner, head of the independent Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization, says that a Turkish move into northern Iraq would be seen outside of Turkey as "invasion" and "occupation" and could lead to increased trans-boundary Kurdish nationalism affecting also Iran and Syria, both with sizeable Kurdish minorities (four million in Iran, two million in Syria). Iraq counts five million Kurds in its north.

Laciner told IPS that the financial cost to Turkey of an attack into northern Iraq could be US$10 billion in flight of foreign capital, quite apart from the cost of the military operation. The move could also doom Turkey's controversial bid for full EU membership.

You'll be happy to know that the "root cause" crowd is being heard from.

"The military response is not sufficient on its own," commentator Mehmet Ali Birand wrote in the mass-circulation daily Posta, stressing the need to enrich the impoverished Kurdish-populated southeast. The area is missing the economic boom in the rest of the country.

Look for more to come: PM Erdogan travels to DC to meet with President Bush on Nov 5.

(I wonder if he will meet with Madam Speaker?)