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October 17, 2007

The U.S. must act to prevent Turkish invasion of Iraq
Posted by Max Bergmann

Lost in some of the debate over the House resolution on the Armenian genocide, is that Turkey’s threat to invade Iraq is very real.

It would be a disaster. As Mort Abramowitz, former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, warned the situation could “explode into violence.” Not only would an incursion potentially destabilize northern Iraq – the one relatively peaceful area in Iraq – but it would also set a very bad precedent, possibly enabling Iraq’s other neighbors to justify intervention.

Turkey has legitimate complaints about the PKK (a Kurdish rebel group based largely in Eastern Turkey) using Kurdish northern Iraq as a safe haven to launch attacks inside of Turkey. Turkish opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq had a lot to do with fears that an invasion would embolden Kurdish nationalism, reinvigorate the PKK, and threaten the integrity of Turkey’s borders. These fears have been largely confirmed with the growth of PKK activity since the invasion. Turkey has also continuously brought up this issue with the U.S., but we have done little.  In short, Turkey’s frustration is understandable.

To make the situation worse, U.S.-Turkish relations have declined greatly since the invasion of Iraq. The Turkish public now predominantly views the U.S. in a negative light and the House resolution on Armenian genocide has added more fuel to the fire. The danger is that a Turkish public, fed up with the U.S. and angry about the lack of military action against the PKK, pushes Turkey’s political leaders to act.

The U.S. needs to work to assuage Turkish concerns. Pressuring the Kurds in northern Iraq, as well as taking steps to close down PKK safe havens is a start. But the U.S. must also work to rebuild U.S.-Turkish relations that have precipitously declined under the Bush administration.

That being said, we need a stick as well as a carrot.

While the timing of the Armenian genocide resolution could probably not have been much worse, Turkey’s sophomoric reaction and their continued suppression of free speech and expression and their general treatment of the large Kurdish population in eastern Turkey, should not be ignored by the U.S. As Gary Kamiya in Salon persuasively argues, there will likely never be a “right time” for a resolution genocide.

BUT – instead of shoving these issues down Turkey’s throat with the House resolution at such an explosive moment, we should recognize that Turkey, as a young, maturing democracy, that is seeking EU membership, will have to come to grips with these issues.

But if they invade Iraq. Pass the resolution.


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No, pass the resolution because the Armenian Genocide actually happened and because America has a lot of Armenian citizens who want it recognized.

Turkey likes to solve the kurdish issue with the help of another country as they "solved" the Armenian issue in 1915-1923 with the help of german empire an dtjis was the frist modern genocide in 20 centary !

the issue of denial policy of Armenian Genocide and kurdish issue will not solve as long as EU and US don´´t accept that Turkey is indeed a faild state and it doesn´´t act like a democratic state!

Which are American values? To support turkish nationlist on their pan-turan ideas ?

Why should US side with Turkey on the denial of turkish genocide of Armenian people? and why should US yield to turkish threats and blackmails on nord iraq and Kurds ?


As the UN-mandated occupying power, do we have any obligation to repel a Turkish invasion by force?

As for this:
That being said, we need a stick as well as a carrot.
But if they invade Iraq. Pass the resolution.

So the "stick" you have in mind is Congress passing a resolution condemning an act of genocide committed nearly 100 years ago? My, how the mighty have fallen. In fact, that's the most revealing aspect to this whole Turkish crisis: no one fears the United States any more. You can thank George W. Bush for that.

SteveB, if that resolution passes, Turkey loses its "Never committed genocide" free sodas at Chuck E. Cheese's.

If Congress gets cowed out of passing this resolution on the Armenian holocaust, doesn't this take Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's denial of Nazi genocidal history?

There has been harsh criticism to this resolution mostly due to the empty threats that Turkey has declared it will follow through with if this resolution. I call these empty threats because Turkey has made these threats in the past. When most of Europe passed an Armenian genocide resolution, Turkey made threats similar to these. The best example was with France when they passed their version of an Armenian genocide resolution in 2000 Turkey threatened it would cut off relations. The resolution passed overwhelmingly and I can report that trade between France and Turkey has grown over 200%. Furthermore, as far as military strategy let me remind you that Turkey has already undermined US efforts. In 2003 Turkey denied the US a two front campaign into Iraq. Interestingly enough, this was before a genocide resolution was being debated in the House of Representatives (in fact it was 30 months after the last resolution was scrapped, much to the delight of Turkey). I argue that Turkey will pursue its own foreign policy regardless of any resolution the US decides to pass and not to pass. Let me remind you that is Turkey whom receives 10 billion dollars from the IMF each year (which is funded by the US); thus let me say that Turkey risks destroying economic relations over this issue at its own risk.
Finally and most importantly the United States has a long history of passing resolutions condemning atrocities and this should be no different. The only reason why it is still lurking in the heads of congressman and women is because Turkey has embarked on a vast campaign of genocide denial. Turkey outright denies the genocide even when it is widely documented in the US archives by diplomats who saw the genocide take place first hand. I am shocked to think the US would even consider tarnishing everything it stands for. I understand that Turkey is an ally to the United States but the US has never offered genocide denial as a perk to friendship (as the Honorable Brad Sherman stated so well) Turkey cannot force the US to deny the truth just because it is in a geographically important region of the world. What kind of ally does that anyway? This resolution is long, long overdue and I applaud those courageous congressman who recognize the good track record of the US and the need to keep the US on the forefront of standing up for justice and righteousness.

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