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[casi] DEFEND TURKEY? Attack Iraq

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

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

The Invasion of Iraq is already underway    1-13, 03

Turkey to Join Attack on Iraq   9-19-02 (with map of northern Iraq)

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