Lying Media Bastards

December 28, 2005

Turkish Fulcrum


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Long before the Iraq war even started, one of my top concerns about the US invasion was Turkey.

Turkey has been fighting/brutalizing its Kurdish population for decades, fearing that they would break away and join with Kurdish enclaves in Iraq (and possibly Iran) to form an independent Kurdish state. So I’ve long been fearful that the more power and autonomy displayed by the Kurds of northern Iraq, the more likely it would be that Turkey would invade the region in hopes of keeping Turkish Kurds crushed (not that I was in favor of the oppressive status quo. It was just that before the war, the pro-invasion folks acted as though only good things could come from this, I kept trying to point out the potential for, y’know, cataclysm).

But recently I’ve been re-thinking this. Turkey is a US ally, Turkey is a member of NATO, Turkey is attempting to join the EU. Surely these Western powers would hate to see this Turk-Kurd war, and would bring all their influence to bear to stop it, right? The Turkish government might then concede to this pressure, or to balance one interest against another. Maybe this war was not inevitable.

But a commenter on Steve Gilliard’s site apparently visited Turkey over the summer, and spoke with a number of Turks about just this question.

First, when I asked what they thought Turkey would do if a Kurdish state were created.
Answer: Turkey would invade it immediately. I then asked what would happen if the US backed the Kurds. Answer: Then we would fight the Americans and it would be a very, very brutal war.

I asked why the issue was so important. Answer: A Kurdistan would destabilize the Kurdish portion of Turkey, which would jeopardize Turkey’s control over the headwaters of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

They added that water is Turkey’s most valuable resource. One even said: “Iraq has oil, but we have water. The oil will run out, but the water will not. Besides, you can’t drink oil, anyway.”

I asked about how a Turkish invasion would affect their EU bid. Answer: Who cares? They will never let us join, anyway. I asked about how an invasion would affect relations with the US.

Answer: You Americans are our friends and greatest ally, but we cannot sacrifice our country for that friendship.

So it looks like there’s still room for despair.

Sigh.

Posted by Jake on December 28, 2005 10:18 pm

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