Thursday, June 07, 2007

Contradictory reports about Turkish incursion into Iraq

I didn't report on this yesterday, because the reports I saw were contradictory. But I guess if the New York Times is running with it, I can't be blamed too much for mentioning it. (Witness the herd effect!) This is one of those very bad possibilities that has been looming for some time:
Iraqi and American officials got a jolt late in the day when reports emerged suggesting that Turkish forces had begun a long-threatened incursion into northern Iraq to hunt Kurdish guerrillas who stage attacks inside Turkey.

The reports, attributed to Turkish military officials, said thousands of soldiers crossed the border in pursuit of members of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party, or P.K.K.

American and Turkish officials quickly denied the reports. Iraq’s foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, also said in a telephone interview that while a large force of Turkish troops remained massed on the border, none had crossed into Iraq.

“There hasn’t been any Turkish military incursion or operation inside Iraqi territory,” Mr. Zebari said Wednesday evening.

Despite the official denials, two news agencies citing sources within the Turkish military continued to report that a limited cross-border attack had taken place.

Somebody is feeding bullshit to reporters. I don't know which side, but it seems to me that the US, Turkey, and Iraq all have an enormous incentive to play this down. But I think there's a large faction in Turkey that really wants to stick it to the P.K.K. Hence the confusion and contradiction.

This could get very bad: Turkey is a US ally and member of NATO, but a Turkish invasion of Kurdish Iraq could mess up one of the few relatively stable areas in Iraq. It could also lead to clashes between Turkish and US forces, either intentionally or accidentally. I'm sure the US doesn't want Turkish involvement in Iraq, but I'm also pretty sure that Kurdish rebels are using Iraq as a safe staging area to make attacks into Turkey. (That's I would do if I were a Kurdish rebel.) I can understand why Turkey would be pissed off and want to be able to chase the insurgents back into Iraq. I think it would be for the best if Turkey let some of its territory go to form a Kurdistan, but of course no nation wants to lose territory. Yet another reason not to get embroiled in Middle Eastern ethno-turf wars.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Internal Monologue home