Saturday, October 27, 2007

There is Nothing Left to be Said about Turkey

LA times roundup of the situation in Turkey. We're done. There is nothing to add.

So we have the people of Turkey:

Each day since the ambush, thousands of Turks have taken to the streets across the nation to demand tough military action. The clamor became so intense that the government attempted to restrict television coverage of the soldiers' funerals and crying mothers.

... ... ...

Ahmed Keskin, 60, said war was necessary to put an end to the "humiliation" that Turks were suffering at the hands of the Kurdish rebels.

"And I'd go straight to northern Iraq, kill the Americans there and then kill Kurds wherever I find them," said Keskin, who makes a living taking photographs of tourists.

We have the Kurds:

In a TV interview Friday, Massoud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdistan regional government, accused Turkey of seeking a pretext to mount a major assault in the area. "The PKK is a justification," Barzani told Al Arabiya satellite channel. "The goal is to stop or hamper the growth of Kurdistan region."

And we have the United States, 2007 edition, consistently finding the exact worst thing to say. Nobody could make this up:

On Friday, Army Maj. Gen. Benjamin Mixon, the commander of U.S. forces in northern Iraq, said he planned to do "absolutely nothing" to counter PKK activity, and that he was neither tracking the rebels' movements nor reinforcing the military presence in the region. Mixon, speaking to Pentagon reporters by videoconference, also said he had not seen Iraqi Kurdish authorities acting against the guerrillas.

The damage is done. I found this article through Swopa at Needlenose. He supposes tourist photographers wanting to kill the Americans in northern Iraq does not have much policy related significance. There is no more important global policy event in 2007 than that tourist photographers in Turkey decided they want to kill Americans.

For the Turkish military and secular forces to get power out of the hands of the Islamists they have to become more anti-American than Erdogan. But when the Islamists and the secularists are in a contest to be the most anti-American, America loses.

At this point there is no military option. The Kurds want a country and the Kurds are going to get a country. The Kurds want land in what is now Turkey. They won't get it in 2007 or 2008 but its coming. Turkey is now dissolving. Turkey now blames the US for its dissolution. In retaliation, Turkey has now begun its shift toward Russia.

If I was Putin, I'd put the brightest minds in the KGB on coming up with a way, any way, regardless of the cost, to keep George Bush in office as President of the USA for the rest of his life. Khameini would do anything he can to help.


Ziad said...

Turkey certainly would have been better off cutting a deal with the PKK 25 years ago. (perhaps 20 years from now the same will be said about Israel)

But Turkey is not without cards to play. Kurdistan is land locked and will need good relations to be economically viable. They can't drink their oil. Turkey will find willing allies among Iran and Syria as well as Sunni-Shia Iraq. (a vexing problem for the U.S. as you mentioned)

Their goal now would be to try everything they can to weaken the Kurdish hold on Kirkuk quite possibly by aiding Sunni insurgents willing to fight for it, and possibly an attack on Kurdistan...not the PKK but Kurdish infrastructure. Bear in mind once the U.S. leaves, the Kurd's situation will not be so enviable.

None of this means that Turkey could or should end Kurdish national aspirations. Long term, Turkey will have to come to grips with its own Kurdish population

Richard said...

Hi, Arnold! Testing my Google Account access!

Richard said...

I agree with ziad. Turkey can completely cut Kurdistan off from economic access. Iran would be happy to help. That leaves Syria and Iraq. Syria will go along. That leaves Iraq. Iraq has its own problems. The only reason Maliki is going along with the Kurds is that he needs their support in Parliament.

Turkey can never defeat the Kurds - but they can keep the Kirkuk oil out of the hands of the Kurds by blowing it up if nothing else. The Iraqi military can't match the Turkish military, especially its air power, without US help. And the US isn't going to war with Turkey.

So I'd say the situation is looking like a stalemate as it has been for decades now.

It's unfortunate for the Kurds, since they're doing well up there in northern Iraq these days, by all accounts. I really don't know why they just don't accept that part of Iraq as being a semi-independent Kurdistan and letting Kurds from Turkey, Iran and Syria go there - as is already happening to some degree. Why get into a war with Turkey they can't really win without destroying what they've built so far?

While Turkey doesn't want to accept and independent Kurdistan in Iraq because it would cause trouble with the Turkish Kurds, if the Iraqi Kurds could convince the Turkish Kurds to emigrate to Iraq, I'm sure Turkey wouldn't mind seeing them go - or even force them to go. And adding another 9 million Turkish Kurds to Iraq's Kurds would definitely aid their economic development over time, as well as making them one of the largest segments of Iraq's population, thus securing their position in that country.

So the smart thing for the Kurds is not to try to seize the LAND from Turkey, Syria and Iran, but just try to get the Kurdish populations from those countries to emigrate to Kurdistan. Try to become a "Kurdish Israel", in other words.

Arnold Evans said...

Most Kurdish land is in Turkey. It is striking on a map. Like 50% in Turkey and the other half divided something like equally between Iran, Iraq and Syria.

So this Turkish land is mountainous territory that already has a Kurdish population - ideal guerilla war territory, something like the best guerilla war territory in the world. And now the Kurds have money. We can't keep them from wanting the towns they were born in, which are pretty much all Kurdish even in Turkey.

Cutting Kurdistan off from access gets Kurds to send more money to the guerillas, but letting them get rich gets them to send more money to the guerillas.

See? These guys are going to have more and more money, more and more weapons in their ideal guerilla environment no matter what Turkey does, until Turkey gives them land.

Turkey giving them land, and blaming the US - that's almost like if Russia supported the Mexicans to take back Nevada. Any cooperation is way way out the window. The US in that circumstance would find any excuse to hurt the Russians.

Have you noticed how cocky the Kurds sound today? Juan Cole says either Talabani or Barzani said the Kurds wouldn't even turn over a Kurdish cat to Turkey.

This situation is well in motion, and the reasons the US let it get this far are the reasons the US will let it go further. A better US president would have seen this coming and stopped it before it damages the US' position as much as this will. But Bush, well, thank God for Bush if you don't like the US empire.

Oh, and what happens when the US bombs Iran and Iran takes the offensive against the Kurds? Agreeing to go after the PKK too if Turkey helps? How are Turkey's voters going to take this? Not only now but for the next 40 years?

No presidential candidate is talking about this because there is nothing to say. It's game over. This is by far the biggest story of the year and the biggest disaster of the invasion of Iraq.

Richard said...

I agree it's a mess. My suggestion that if Turkey were smart, they'd persuade - or force - the Turkish Kurds out of Turkey is merely meant to suggest a way out without having to fight that guerrilla war. Of course, the Kurds won't accept it. That merely demonstrates how not smart they are.

It's the same thing with the Zionists. They got kicked out of their country two thousand years ago. So why didn't they get it back sometime before 1947?

The Kurds obviously got their asses kicked many years ago, and lost their lands - or couldn't get together enough to set up a state in competition with the other states in the region.

And now they think they can do it because they have a few bucks from the oil - which Turkey can eliminate in five minutes by bombing the crap out of Kirkuk?

Sure, they'll fight for forty years. But sooner or later, Turkey, Iran and Syria will join forces and knock them down again. So they STILL won't have an independent Kurdistan even in Iraq, let alone the rest of those three countries.

This is merely the basic problem of nation states in general.

As an anarchist, I couldn't care less about the notion of either a Turkish state in possession of some area of land, or a Kurdish state in possession of some area of land.

This is the fundamental problem with states and drawing boundaries on a map saying "we control this" and "you control that" without taking into account the fact that the people on that land want to move around.

There is no solution to this except that Turkey stops being Turkey and the Kurds stop thinking of being a "state."

Since that isn't going to happen, it's a matter of total indifference to me what happens to either of them. They can kill each other for the next hundred years for all I care.

It merely establishes what as a Transhumanist I already know - humans are morons.