July 16, 2006

Turkey and the Kurds

By Callimachus

The Middle East this morning faces many possible next steps to Hell. Certainly one of them is a flare-up of fighting between Turks and Kurds, which would take place in a region Michael has criss-crossed several times and written about eloquently.

Now it looks like that possible next step is a step closer. Here's the AP version:
Turkey said Sunday that it was weighing an escalation of its fight against Kurdish rebels after the guerillas killed seven Turkish soldiers and a village guard.

The outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, wants autonomy for Turkey's Kurdish-dominated southeast. Its Saturday ambush, which Turkish officials said was launched from neighboring northern Iraq, drove the number of Turks it has killed since Thursday to 13.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed outrage, signaling that Turkey could step up its battle against the rebel group. And high-ranking military, civilian, police and intelligence officials held an emergency meeting of Turkey's High Anti-Terrorism Council to discuss possible new measures against the guerrillas.

Here's the Al Jazeera version.

[I'm going to leave comments open here, but please don't use them to continue grudge matches begun elsewhere.]

Posted by Callimachus at July 16, 2006 01:56 PM
Comments

There should be no room in the EU for any empire. EU accession should require a process for the people of any region, whether in Turkey or among the Basques, to vote on independence. I'm pretty sure the Kurds would vote to leave Turkey.

Without imperial war, most "nations" are too big. Yugoslavia & Czeho-Slovakia both were; maybe Belgium is too. And the United Kingdom, and Spain?

The Turks and Kurds would both be happier, separately...and the Kurds would likely want to join the EU, too.

Posted by: Tom Grey - Libertay Dad at July 16, 2006 03:53 PM

and the little bird goes back inside the wooden clock...

Posted by: Bill W. at July 16, 2006 04:22 PM

I think the Kurds are on the wrong side of Turkey for them to be part of the EU.

Posted by: h0mi at July 16, 2006 06:41 PM

Michael, I am so sorry to hear that your friend is now a refugee in a country who is directly responsible for his suffering and for the suffering of everyone in the Middle East.
I guess Israel feels it must do this, but I hope soon that they take the war to Syria and Iran, since they are so itching for a fight.
It is time to get serious about this war. We are not serious when we are claiming to wage war on terror. What a stupid conceit. Until we begin to name our enemies we will never be rid of 'terrorism'. We must take it to the hydra, and soon. Do you think the Lebanese will fight against Syria if given the chance?

Posted by: Jauhara at July 16, 2006 08:47 PM

I don't see how the Kurds are going to get much voice anywhere vis-a-vis Turkey.

The only hangup I ever read about Turkey's entry into the EU is over Cyprus, and just a few days ago Turkey offered some deal to finally recognize Southern Cypriot ships and trade "eventually", although they also said removing their 40,000 troops in the north was "out of the question."

If Turkey can finally convince Greece & Southern Cyprus to let them into the EU, its probably a done deal. Whether its a good deal for Greece/S.Cyprus, and the EU in general, I don't know.

Posted by: Johnny Eck at July 16, 2006 09:12 PM

There are a number of issues regarding Turkey and the EU. Certainly, the issue of Cyprus is one of them, but not the only one, and not even necessarily the most thorny, in terms of solution.

Posted by: reader_iam at July 17, 2006 05:58 AM

Cyprus is one issue, albeit a minor one for everybody except Cyprus and Greece. For the others, it's primarily a stalking horse, to avoid admitting their real concerns:

Number 1 and far ahead of any of the others: All those Muslims having the right to travel/move anywhere in the EU. When they haven't figured out how to address all the Muslims who already live in (and are citizens of) countries in the EU. Not to mention all that low-price labor -- remember the flurry of panic over the massive influx "the Polish plumber" when the Eastern European countries were being admitted? Xenophobia which mostly dare not speak its name.

Then there's the issue of human rights in general in Turkey. And the treatment of the Kurds in specific. But both of those are also stalking horses -- if the major concern wasn't there, those things could be worked out, just as similar things were with other countries who are joining (and have joined).

Posted by: wj at July 17, 2006 07:53 AM

The Kurds had better relax. Now is most definitely not the best time to conduct a cross-border insurgency, whether ethnic or religious. Given what else is going on in the region, Turkey would have plenty of cover to conduct a wide-ranging, wipe-out-the-PKK operation.

Posted by: brett at July 17, 2006 12:28 PM

Is it possible to make a comparison between Hizbollah/Israel and PKK/Turkey?

Not quite. Turkey has never invaded the nations where PKK forces are incubated, funded and trained. Restraint in the face of 13 dead Turks in the last five days? As it should be. Should Turkey follow the example of it's 'friend'?? Never.

Israel, on the other hand, seems to be aiming a fire hose at a tea cup. This should be condemned and stopped at once. Cut off Israel's welfare and military support from the US! This flip attitude towards annihilating a whole country for the sake of two soldiers is as disgraceful as any of the ugliest events of the past century. For shame!

It appears to the world that it is indeed the UNITED STATES which sponsors terrorism. To wit, our tax dollars are being used for the bombardment of Lebanon. The thought of this is repulsive.

The Jewish mantra is "Everyone hates us and wants us dead"... Their actions in Lebanon are only propagating these suspicions and they know it. When it seems you can do no right in the eyes of the world, why even try?

Posted by: Amerikan Turk at July 17, 2006 08:49 PM

when will the turks wake up and grasp that there is a kurdish nation long before they have migrated from central asia{ escaping from stronger mongols,and chinese}to minor asia. first they annihilated poor armenians one and half million of them, by the way first holocaust which hitler did take his inspiration and practice from it. not only that but also they have eliminated all christian population of minor asia by killing,expelling and forceful conversion. today they want to invade southern kurdistan[northern iraq} in the name of fighting PKK. let me say your glorious ottoman time is over,moreover the kurds living in northern kurdistan[ eastern turkey}have wake up and they dont want to be considered mountain turks anymore. either you accept a voluntary union or u withdraw your fascist army out of kurdistan. and time will prove this, your bigotry and chauvinism cost u all balkans,mesopotamia and northern africa in 19th and 20th century. in 21st century u will withdraw west of euphrates thus becoming a sandwich between us and greeks and then maybe u will become a little civilized like other nations living under sun.

Posted by: botan at July 18, 2006 04:52 PM

All due respect (even though seem eager to dispense with a barrage of disrespect for Turks), when will YOU wake up and realize that Turkey will never, under any circumstances, give Kurds in eastern Turkey autonomy? Pray to G-d for falling ass-backwards into "Southern Kurdistan". It won't be so easy in the north.. The currency of land-grabbing is force, as evil as it sounds it's a reality. Curb your enthusiasm and chest beating for the day when Kurdish force is enough to re-claim the lands you supposedly "owned" for millenia. I mean no disrespect, but you broke Godwin's Law within 2-3 sentences, which is typical for all who wish for the destruction of Turkey. Kurds who call Turkey their home are Kurdish Turks. It's that simple. It's the formula for peace.

Posted by: Amerikan Turk at July 18, 2006 07:44 PM

even a great country like america cannot cure the poison given turkish people by their regime . this american turk still seeing dreams of kurds accepting turkish decision on their fate. first of all we are not asking for autonomy. we will take what is ours. and that is independence. if u like u can call it turkish kurd today,tomorrow it will be turkish kurdistan, in the end it will be KURDISTAN. no hard feelings, nothing personal against turkish people,anyway they have been the victims of their own fascist regime too. our struggle will lead them to real freedom too. then you can ask for visa and come visit kurdistan

Posted by: botan at July 19, 2006 04:42 PM

Is it any wonder why it has been necessary for so long, to curb the freedoms of Kurds in Turkey??? Unfortunate but true...

Botan you are living breathing proof that Turkey needs to tell the EU to piss off, and that it needs to arrest and deport (to "Southern Kurdistan") all who threaten it's national security.

Go ahead and "take what is yours". If talk such as that isn't a threat, I don't know what is.

Yes, this is exactly why Turks have never supported the idea of invading Iraq... Kurds have fallen ass-backwards into a semi-autonomous region in Northern Iraq, and so it comes as no surprise that Kurds in Turkey have land-grabbing on the brain. Snap out of it. Turkey is not Iraq.

Posted by: Amerikan Turk at July 20, 2006 09:04 PM

yo turk boy how about i send your racist ass back where u come from to china, there u will find your true self and understand only peace and free kurdistan will make easy for u to live in anatolia for future. there is not a darn thing you can do about the emergence of kurdistan, so cool down, get civilized ,after kurdistan you can live in your nazi country and do whatever u want.

Posted by: botan at July 21, 2006 03:36 PM

How about restraining your acid tongue a little bit? Your resort to personal attacks is quite telling indeed. You broke Godwin's Law too, again. Kiss the ground in Northern Iraq, because it's the closest resemblance to independence, that Kurds will ever get. Life will be sweet. You should move there.

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