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October 29, 2007

Turkish Funerals
Posted by Ilan Goldenberg

Steven Cook is guest blogging over at the economist this week.  He's one of the few American scholars who is a genuine Turkey expert.  Should make for some interesting reading this week.  Here is one interesting tidbit.

The policy of kicking the can down the road and hoping for the best may well have precipitated the very outcome the Bush administration wanted to avoid. All the while, leaving the Turks to wonder whether “Washington was with them or against them” in their fight against terrorism. The answer is clear as 83% of Turks have an unfavourable view of America. At the funerals of Turkish soldiers killed at the hands of the PKK, a common refrain among the (often thousands) mourners is “Down, down PKK…Down, down USA.” Heartwarming, I know. This is a huge shift from the late 1990s when America was quite popular in Turkey despite the fact that the government in Ankara was under the leadership of that prickly nationalist Bulent Ecevit, who seemed preternaturally suspicious of the United States. Currently, if 10 is the best and 1 is the worst, I’d put US-Turkey relations at 3.


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There has been no "kicking the can down the road and hoping for the best"--rather there has been active US promotion of terrorism and Kurdish independence, and now the piper must be paid.

The PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) is being supported by the US and Israel in its terrorist activities against Iran, but supposedly the US is discouraging PKK activities against Turkey, where Kurds are treated more harshly than they are in Iran. This is a dangerous double game, made worse by long-time US support for an autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq, and now Turkey is calling the US on it.

This situation highlights the obvious hypocrisy of the US "war on terror" as described by Bush. "And so one of the doctrines and one of the lessons learned after September the 11th is that we must hold people to account for harboring terrorists. If you harbor a terrorist, if you feed a terrorist, if you house a terrorist, you're as equally guilty as the terrorist." --President Bush, March 24, 2006

Some one still has to explain to me why a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq wouldn't be more justified than our invasion of Iraq. The Kurds there are helping terrorists attack Turkey. If Turkey were to counter attack, it would be on par with our invading Afghanistan after 9/11.

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