Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Will Turkey invade northern Iraq?
AP on Yahoo ^ | 7/9/07 | Christopher Torchia - ap

Posted on 07/09/2007 4:19:55 PM PDT by NormsRevenge

ISTANBUL, Turkey - Reports that Turkey has massed a huge military force on its border with Iraq bolstered fears that an invasion targeting hideouts of Kurdish rebels could be imminent. But how deeply into Iraq is the Turkish army willing to go, how long would it stay and what kind of fallout could come from allies in Washington and other NATO partners?

All these questions weigh on Turkey's leaders, who have enough on their hands without embarking on a foreign military adventure. Turkey is caught up in an internal rift between the Islamic-rooted government and the military-backed, secular establishment, less than two weeks ahead of July 22 elections that were called early as a way to ease tensions in a polarized society.

A military operation could disrupt Turkey's fragile democratic process by diverting attention from campaign topics such as the economy, and raise suspicion about whether the government and its opponents are manipulating the Iraq issue to win nationalist support at the polls.

On Monday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Turkish television that Turkey would take whatever steps were necessary if the United States fails to fulfill its pledge to help in the fight against Kurdish rebels, but he appeared reluctant to order an invasion before the elections.

"We are seeing with great grief that America remains quiet as Turkey struggles against terrorism. Because there were promises given to us, and they need to be kept. If not, we can take care of our own business," Erdogan said. "We hope there won't be an extraordinary situation before the election. But there'll be a new evaluation after the elections."

The aim of any military push into Iraq would be to hunt separatist rebels of the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, who rest, train and resupply in remote bases in the predominantly Kurdish region of northern Iraq before crossing mountain passes into Turkey to attack targets there. In recent months, rebels have stepped up assaults, adding to a sense of urgency in Turkey that something must be done.

A claim Monday by Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd from northern Iraq, that Turkey had massed 140,000 soldiers on its border with Iraq rattled nerves on both sides of the border. Turkey's military had no comment, and the Bush administration said there has been no such mass buildup.

Although Turkish military commanders have said an invasion is necessary, it is difficult to know how prepared they are because many areas along the Iraqi border have been declared "security zones" and are essentially off-limits to civilians. There have been reports of Turkish shelling of rebel positions inside Iraq from time to time, and commandos are believed to periodically conduct so-called "hot pursuits" of guerrillas across the border.

Turkey also feels a special kinship for the ethnic Turkmen minority in northern Iraq, and Turkish military air ambulances on Sunday evacuated 21 people wounded in a devastating suicide attack in Armili, a town north of Baghdad, for treatment in Turkish hospitals. Turkey condemned the attack, but there was no indication that it gave impetus to calls for military intervention in the north to protect its ethnic brethren.

Turkey staged a series of major cross-border operations in the 1990s, involving tens of thousands of troops and jet fighters that attacked suspected rebels hideouts in the mountains. Results were mixed, with rebels regrouping after the bulk of the Turkish forces had left, even though some military units stayed behind to monitor guerrilla activities.

This time, Turkish forces could face the possibility of a confrontation with Iraqi Kurds who are emboldened by newfound autonomy since the downfall of Saddam Hussein in the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Some U.S. forces are also in the area, with American warplanes known to fly close to the Iraqi-Turkish border.

Soner Cagaptay, director of the Turkish Research Program at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, acknowledged that part of Turkey's goal was likely to draw increased U.S. attention to the issue, but said the Turks were likely to act if attacks continued.

Cagaptay said there are already Turkish forces in Iraq, operating about 10 to 15 miles beyond the border, where the steep mountains turn into hills that are more easily navigable. He said monitoring this area was "the only way (Turkey) could control the border."

Cagaptay said Zebari's announcement that there are Turkish troops on the border was likely a sign that the Iraqi foreign minister takes the threat of further incursion seriously and is trying to draw international attention to the border games to eliminate the possibility that Turkey could execute raids under the radar.

Besides possible tension with the United States, another concern for Turkey is the impact that a military intervention might have on its troubled efforts to join the European Union. Accusations of human rights abuses by Kurds could slow the process even further; the Turkish military has already expressed frustration with what it perceives as European leniency toward PKK sympathizers.

Sinan Ogan, head of the Turkish Center for International Relations and Strategic Analysis, said one option was a limited air force operation, which would help the government deal with domestic demand for action. If ground forces do go in, he said, the military would want them to stay for at least six months to assess the impact of the mission.

"An operation before the elections will bring the ruling government more votes so they might be willing to allow such an operation," he said. "A clash with several soldiers getting killed or a bombing at an important spot might be the spark for a military operation."


Christopher Torchia is the Associated Press chief of bureau in Istanbul. AP correspondent Sarah DiLorenzo contributed to this report from New York.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; War on Terror; Your Opinion/Questions
KEYWORDS: invade; iraq; iraqioil; kurdistan; kurds; northern; oilfields; turkey; turkishtroops

1 posted on 07/09/2007 4:19:59 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

I don’t trust the Turks. If they come across the border into Iraq, give them 4 hours to pull out. If they’re not turned around and high-tailing it home in 4 hours, turn the A-10’s and fast movers loose on them and rip ‘em to shreds. And, tell them the EU is off.

2 posted on 07/09/2007 4:32:22 PM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
And we got politicians calling for a pullout. Looks like we might need more Troops.
3 posted on 07/09/2007 4:35:36 PM PDT by do the dhue (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I wont - George S. Patton Jr)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: do the dhue

Still wondering if this prophecy will be fulfilled in our lifetime. Its amazing to watch the players line up.

Ezekiel 38 and 39

Also the one about Damascus burning and never been raised again.

4 posted on 07/09/2007 4:39:25 PM PDT by applpie
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: applpie


5 posted on 07/09/2007 4:41:22 PM PDT by do the dhue (May God have mercy upon my enemies, because I wont - George S. Patton Jr)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge

I don’t think the Turks are worthy allies compared to the Kurds. Here’s what I’ve been pushing on Iran/Iraq threads:

We should withdraw from Iraq — through Tehran. Here’s how I think we should “pull out of Iraq.” Add one more front to the scenario below, which would be a classic amphibious beach landing from the south in Iran, and it becomes a “strategic withdrawal” from Iraq. And I think the guy who would pull it off is Duncan Hunter.

How to Stand Up to Iran
Posted by Kevmo to TomasUSMC
On News/Activism 03/28/2007 7:11:08 PM PDT · 36 of 36

Split Iraq up and get out
***The bold military move would be to mobilize FROM Iraq into Iran through Kurdistan and then sweep downward, meeting up with the forces that we pull FROM Afghanistan in a 2-pronged offensive. We would be destroying nuke facilities and building concrete fences along geo-political lines, separating warring tribes physically. At the end, we take our boys into Kurdistan, set up a couple of big military bases and stay awhile. We could invite the French, Swiss, Italians, Mozambiqans, Argentinians, Koreans, whoever is willing to be the police forces for the regions that we move through, and if the area gets too hot for these peacekeeper weenies we send in military units. Basically, it would be learning the lesson of Iraq and applying it.

15 rules for understanding the Middle East

Rule 8: Civil wars in the Arab world are rarely about ideas — like liberalism vs. communism. They are about which tribe gets to rule. So, yes, Iraq is having a civil war as we once did. But there is no Abe Lincoln in this war. It’s the South vs. the South.

Rule 10: Mideast civil wars end in one of three ways: a) like the U.S. civil war, with one side vanquishing the other; b) like the Cyprus civil war, with a hard partition and a wall dividing the parties; or c) like the Lebanon civil war, with a soft partition under an iron fist (Syria) that keeps everyone in line. Saddam used to be the iron fist in Iraq. Now it is us. If we don’t want to play that role, Iraq’s civil war will end with A or B.

Let’s say my scenario above is what happens. Would that military mobilization qualify as a “withdrawal” from Iraq as well as Afghanistan? Then, when we’re all done and we set up bases in Kurdistan, it wouldn’t really be Iraq, would it? It would be Kurdistan.


I have posted in the past that I think the key to the strategy in the middle east is to start with an independent Kurdistan. If we engaged Iran in such a manner we might earn back the support of these windvane politicians and wussie voters who don’t mind seeing a quick & victorious fight but hate seeing endless police action battles that don’t secure a country.

I thought it would be cool for us to set up security for the Kurds on their southern border with Iraq, rewarding them for their bravery in defying Saddam Hussein. We put in some military bases there for, say, 20 years as part of the occupation of Iraq in their transition to democracy. We guarantee the autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan as long as they don’t engage with Turkey. But that doesn’t say anything about engaging with Iranian Kurdistan. Within those 20 years the Kurds could have a secure and independent nation with expanding borders into Iran. After we close down the US bases, Kurdistan is on her own. But at least Kurdistan would be an independent nation with about half its territory carved out of Persia. If Turkey doesn’t relinquish her claim on Turkish Kurdistan after that, it isn’t our problem, it’s 2 of our allies fighting each other, one for independence and the other for regional primacy. I support democratic independence over a bullying arrogant minority.

The kurds are the closest thing we have to friends in that area. They fought against Saddam (got nerve-gassed), they’re fighting against Iran, they squabble with our so-called ally Turkey (who didn’t allow Americans to operate in the north of Iraq this time around).

It’s time for them to have their own country. They deserve it. They carve Kurdistan out of northern Iraq, northern Iran, and try to achieve some kind of autonomy in eastern Turkey. If Turkey gets angry, we let them know that there are consequences to turning your back on your “friend” when they need you. If the Turks want trouble, they can invade the Iraqi or Persian state of Kurdistan and kill americans to make their point. It wouldn’t be a wise move for them, they’d get their backsides handed to them and have eastern Turkey carved out of their country as a result.

If such an act of betrayal to an ally means they get a thorn in their side, I would be happy with it. It’s time for people who call themselves our allies to put up or shut up. The Kurds have been putting up and deserve to be rewarded with an autonomous and sovereign Kurdistan, borne out of the blood of their own patriots.

Should Turkey decide to make trouble with their Kurdish population, we would stay out of it, other than to guarantee sovereignty in the formerly Iranian and Iraqi portions of Kurdistan. When one of our allies wants to fight another of our allies, it’s a messy situation. If Turkey goes “into the war on Iran’s side” then they ain’t really our allies and that’s the end of that.

I agree that it’s hard on troops and their families. We won the war 4 years ago. This aftermath is the nation builders and peacekeeper weenies realizing that they need to understand things like the “15 rules for understanding the Middle East”

This was the strategic error that GWB committed. It was another brilliant military campaign but the followup should have been 4X as big. All those countries that don’t agree with sending troups to fight a war should have been willing to send in policemen and nurses to set up infrastructure and repair the country.

What do you think we should do with Iraq?

Posted by Kevmo to Blue Scourge
On News/Activism 12/12/2006 9:17:33 AM PST · 23 of 105

My original contention was that we should have approached the reluctant “allies” like the French to send in Police forces for the occupation after battle, since they were so unwilling to engage in the fighting. It was easy to see that we’d need as many folks in police and nurse’s uniforms as we would in US Army unitorms in order to establish a democracy in the middle east. But, since we didn’t follow that line of approach, we now have a civil war on our hands. If we were to set our sights again on the police/nurse approach, we might still be able to pull this one off. I think we won the war in Iraq; we just haven’t won the peace.

I also think we should simply divide the country. The Kurds deserve their own country, they’ve proven to be good allies. We could work with them to carve out a section of Iraq, set their sights on carving some territory out of Iran, and then when they’re done with that, we can help “negotiate” with our other “allies”, the Turks, to secure Kurdish autonomy in what presently eastern Turkey.

That leaves the Sunnis and Shiites to divide up what’s left. We would occupy the areas between the two warring factions. Also, the UN/US should occupy the oil-producing regions and parcel out the revenue according to whatever plan they come up with. That gives all the sides something to argue about rather than shooting at us.

6 posted on 07/09/2007 5:13:38 PM PDT by Kevmo (We need to get away from the Kennedy Wing of the Republican Party ~Duncan Hunter)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]


7 posted on 07/09/2007 6:51:07 PM PDT by SunkenCiv (This tagline optimized for the Mosaic browser. Profile updated Monday, July 9, 2007.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: NormsRevenge


8 posted on 07/09/2007 7:04:13 PM PDT by afnamvet (Kyrie, eleison)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci
Naaaaaahhhhh, the Turks are steadfast allies.

Why the invasion of Iraq would have been much more difficult without Turkey allowing us to stage and launch from their soil.

9 posted on 07/09/2007 7:08:32 PM PDT by null and void (We can oil drill through miles of rock under sea water, drilling thru inches of glass is a snap...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: null and void
Naaaaaahhhhh, the Turks are steadfast allies.

Why the invasion of Iraq would have been much more difficult without Turkey allowing us to stage and launch from their soil.

LOL! You forgot the < /sarcasm> tag...

10 posted on 07/09/2007 7:50:41 PM PDT by CatoRenasci (Ceterum Censeo Arabiam Esse Delendam -- Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: applpie

I does seem like the only piece that isn’t in position yet is Turkey. That could change rather quickly if this story is true.

11 posted on 07/09/2007 8:03:10 PM PDT by papertyger
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: CatoRenasci

*hangs head* Yeah, I forgot. *sigh*

12 posted on 07/09/2007 8:14:20 PM PDT by null and void (We can oil drill through miles of rock under sea water, drilling thru inches of glass is a snap...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson