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DEFEND TURKEY? - Attack Iraq During the past weeks US political leaders have aggressively condemned three European states, France, Belgium and Germany for their hesitation to support the US war against Iraq. The US press framed debates in Bush administration jargon over whether NATO would become irrelevant after failing to come to the "defense of Turkey." Studiously avoided is the question of what, or who threatens Turkey. It is militarily absurd to assert that Iraq threatens Turkey. No European or US aid is required to defend Turkey from Iraq. War diplomacy requires every act of aggression to be characterized as an act of defense. In this case, the United States campaign to "Defend Turkey" has helped rally the allegiance of European states for the joint US/Turkish offensive against Iraq. Initially representatives from the France, Germany and Belgium balked at endorsing military aid to Turkey. But on February 16 the German and Belgian delegations on NATO's Defense Planning Committee authorized NATO support for Turkey. At this critical juncture (the day after millions marched in Europe and around the world) the "antiwar" German Social Democratic ministers have played a decisive role in drawing Europe behind the US/Turkish invasion of Iraq. The Washington Post gives us a glimpse of US belligerence surrounding the negotiations with the European states, quoting a senior NATO official: "France is isolated on this. The axis of three countries has been broken up." The diplomatic and media focus on the "defense of Turkey" has also helped to distract attention from the real objectives of the US/Turkish attack on Iraq. The most obvious goal is the seizure of Iraq's Kirkuk oilfields in northern Iraq. They have their eyes on the prize. And then there are the politics of Kurdistan. In July, the Bush administration's Paul Wolfowitz visited Ankara to establish the political parameters for the current invasion. In a July 17 interview with the Turkish daily Hurriyet he focused on the mutual interests of the US and Turkey, " ... we've been very clear that we are opposed to a Kurdish state in Iraq, and not only are we opposed to it, but we are actively working and thinking about how to make sure that it doesn't happen." Besides getting their hands on the oil of northern Iraq, Washington and Ankara's military occupation forces will cooperate in the reactionary political agenda of blocking the nationalist aspirations of the Kurds. Even embedded US journalists have begun to smell a rat in the northern Iraq campaign. In her February 19 column titled "An Invitation to Mayhem," the Philadelphia Inquirer's Trudy Rubin voices her disillusionment with the US/Turkish occupation plan for northern Iraq. "During a week in northern Iraq I heard Kurds speak more emotionally of their fears of Turkish occupation than their fears of the Iraqi army." And " ...Turkey is insisting on putting its troops into northern Iraq - the number and locations are still being negotiated with unhappy Iraqi Kurdish officials, under US pressure - in order to have leverage over Kurdish leaders." An Iraqi Kurdish official tells Rubin, "They want to act as a hammer over the head of the Kurdish people," to which she comments, "And the Americans seem ready to acquiesce to this Turkish hammer - even though it would subject the Kurds to a new repression." The State Department's flowery rhetoric about democracy in Kurdistan and the liberation of Iraq can not be reconciled with the grotesque reality of the US handing the Iraqi Kurds to the Turkish army. Despite press reports of over 80% of the Turkish public opposed to war, within Turkish ruling circles there is a long-standing perspective favoring Turkish intervention in Iraq. Nationalist parties have stepped up their claims to territory of the former Ottoman Empire and assert the right to defend of the Turkmen minority in Iraq. While Turkish leaders claim no pleasure in attacking their Muslim neighbor, they are nonetheless FORCED to invade northern Iraq. Why? To prevent the establishment of a Kurdish republic. The ruling Justice and Development Party leader Erdogan favors Turkey being used by US troops to attack Iraq. He argues "You will either remain outside the process, remain an onlooker to history and ... put up with the outcome or you will play an active role in shaping history." The Turkish generals are going into Iraq with enough armor and firepower (they intend to maintain double the US occupation force) to militarily choke any move by the Kurds toward political and economic independence. And to ensure their share of the spOILs of war in Iraq. Bob Allen Campaign to End the Sanctions February 22 03 Further on Turkey in northern Iraq Turkey publicly joins US War on Iraq 2-12-03 http://www.campaigntoendthesanctions.org/updatefeb12_03.html The Invasion of Iraq is already underway 1-13, 03 http://www.campaigntoendthesanctions.org/invasion.html Turkey to Join Attack on Iraq 9-19-02 (with map of northern Iraq) http://www.campaigntoendthesanctions.org/turkeyto.htm _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. 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