"Turkish repression of the Kurdish minority in the southeastern part of the country has been severe, with the Turkish armed forces using U.S. weapons in widespread attacks against civilian populations, destroying over 3,000 Kurdish villages in recent years. Turkish forces have periodically crossed into Iraq into the UN safe haven to attack Kurds as well, with the U.S. virtually alone in the international community in backing such illegal incursions."
~ Stephen Zunes, FPIF.
~ Stephen Zunes, FPIF.
Well, you knew it was only a matter of time, didn't you? The real ruler of Turkey, Yasar Buyukanit, finally came out today in his first press conference since taking up his position as the Turkish chief of general staff and "asked" the government for permission to invade South Kurdistan. And that whole bit about "asking permission" is window-dressing for all those idiots in the West who believe that Turkey is a democracy. From Australia's The Age:
The head of Turkey's powerful military General Staff called for a military operation in northern Iraq to quash Turkish Kurdish rebels hiding there.
"From the military point of view, a (military) operation in northern Iraq must be made," General Yasar Buyukanit told a rare news conference, adding that a political decision from the government was first required to authorise such a step.
More on that from MSNBC and something from TDN.
Bianet gives a rundown on Turkey's Human Rights Foundation's reaction to Buyukanit's press conference:
Evaluating Gen. Büyükanıt's words to bianet, Turkey's Human Rights Foundation (TİHV) chair Yavuz Önen said: "He targeted everybody from academics, the government, the European Union to human rights activists but avoided to mention anything about the policies of United States".
Önen argues, overall, Büyükanıt's speech signals a period of increased pressure and control over the forces of democracy in the country as he aims to block any debate on increasing freedoms and rights, forcing people to self-censorship.
Referring to Büyükanıt's criticism on current legislation and how it scrutinizes the fight against terrorism, Önen voices fears of implementation of legislative changes resembling martial law, which in return would curb the freedoms in Turkey.
That means a virtual return to the State of Emergency. Pretty interesting that Buyukanit doesn't criticize the US. Think about that one long and hard.
Then there was something interesting in Zaman, too:
But there are also strong indications that keeping the Turkish cross-border operation as an option on the table -- despite the possible serious repercussions on Turkey's international image -- is aimed at intimidating the Iraqi Kurds for their plans to annex the oil-rich city of Kirkuk to the Kurdish autonomous region through a planned referendum to be held this year; let alone aspirations to officially set up an independent Kurdish state. Ankara fears any such attempt could encourage its own Kurds to do the same.
In fact, retired Gen. Edip Başer, the appointed Turkish coordinator in the fight against the PKK, told news station CNN Turk on March 9 that Turkey's priority strategically has been to prevent the establishment of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq rather than the fight against PKK terror.
So Baser is expressing the view consistent with Henri Barkey's analysis from 2005 which was mentioned in yesterday's post. It's not only the prevention of an independent Kurdish state in South Kurdistan that the Ankara regime opposes, but control of Kerkuk is also a major issue:
US-Kurdish rift emerges on Kirkuk referendum's timing
Thursday, April 12, 2007
PKK problem cannot be resolved unless Turks, Iraqi Kurds talk, Kurdish official says
WASHINGTON - Turkish Daily News
U.S. and Iraqi Kurdish officials on Tuesday appeared to be disagreeing on the timing of a controversial referendum for the future of the oil-rich and multi-ethnic northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk, but it was not clear if the rift could eventually derail Kurdish plans to include the disputed area into their semi-autonomous region.
At an Iraq conference here, a senior Iraqi Kurdish official insisted that the referendum be held before the end of this year, as planned by the war-torn country's constitution, but a U.S. State Department official said Washington had no position on the polls' timing.
Turkish diplomats welcomed what they saw as a sign of a change in U.S. policy on Kirkuk, which so far had fully backed the Iraqi Kurdish position.
First of all, the Kurdish official quoted (Qubad Talabanî) is wrong; the PKK "problem" cannot be resolved unless Turks talk with the Kurds that they have been in the process of genociding for the last 80 years, and those Kurds are not the Kurds of South Kurdistan. They are the Kurds of North Kurdistan. Secondly, in reading through the entire article, it would appear that the title is misleading--not unusual--because there is no indication that the US opposes the timing of the Kerkuk referendum. Futhermore, if, as the article states, the US supports a resolution based on the Iraqi constitution, then there is no "rift." The US spokeswoman also remarks that "the outcome should be one that takes into account the worries of all parties." Turkey is not a party to the Iraqi constitution and therefore Turkey should butt out.
Again, the entire problem of Turkish meddling goes back to Henri Barkey's analysis and to the fact that the Turkish state is fascist in nature and is founded upon the premise that Kurds do not exist. To admit that Kurds exist, through the reality of either a de facto or actual independent Kurdish state in South Kurdistan, is to undermine the very foundation of Türkiye Cumhuriyeti--the Turkish Republic--and the entire question of identity within Turkey.
Well, okay, there's also the fact that since its beginning, the Ankara regime has viewed Kurds as untermenschen and now it sticks in their craw that Kurds may be equal enough human beings to make the attempt to govern themselves, to solve their own problems, and to create a democracy of their own liking. All of those are very dangerous ideas because if Kurds in the South can do it, Kurds in the North can do it and Kurds in the East and West can do it.
Dangerous, very dangerous.
There's a good read at Mother Jones on the Israelis in South Kurdistan, and there is a far different conclusion drawn than that which The New Yorker's resident moron, Seymour Hersh, came up with back in 2004. Teaser:
What I found was not the story I had expected. Instead of Michaels being part of a covert operation to set up anti-Iranian proxies in Kurdish Iraq, I discovered that Michaels and his associates were part of an effort by the Kurds and their allies to lobby the West for greater power in Iraq, and greater clout in Washington, and at the same time, by a group of Israeli ex security officials to rekindle good relations with their historical allies the Kurds through joint infrastructure, economic development, and security projects. It was, in other words, a story about influence-building, buying, and profit, albeit with subplots that were equal parts John le Carre and Keystone Kops, and a cast of characters ranging from ex-Mossad head Yatom to a former German superspy, with Israeli counterterrorism commandos, Kurdish political dynasties, powerful American lobbyists, Turkish business tycoons thrown in—not to mention millions of dollars stashed in Swiss bank accounts.
[ . . . ]
In the end, Yatom and Michaels’ business activities may well be evidence, as much as any covert U.S. interests, of the Kurds’ superb gamesmanship, pragmatism, and sense of opportunity—instincts honed to a fine art by a people that, lacking durable proximate allies, has learned how to cultivate the enemies of its enemies. The Mossad’s former Irbil station chief, Eliezer Geizi Tsafrir, told me that like the Israelis, the Kurds regard themselves as an historically stateless people surrounded by hostile nations. Back when Tsafrir served in Irbil, he even helped set up a Kurdish intelligence service, in cooperation with the Barzani patriarch, Mustafa Barzani. “They [the Kurds] approached us, saying they had nobody to help them in the world, and our people had suffered too,” he said. “We supplied them with cannons, guns, anti-air equipment, all sorts of equipment, and even lobbying. The contacts between us, and the sympathy, will last for generations to come.”
Use them if you can.
If you've read Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman's Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, and are familiar with the "propaganda model" proposed in the book, take a look at an analysis of the American media's coverage of the British hostages, from ZNet. You'll find it interesting.
Also, check out the scandal over World Bank chief, Paul Wolfowitz, and how he's helped his girlfriend get a World Bank tax-free salary--significantly greater than Condoleeza Rice's salary--in addition to a State Department salary, at the NYTimes, the BBC, or the Guardian. Another, longer, article from The New Yorker is available from Truthout, and that one also suggests that the Wolfowitz World Bank appointment was made in an attempt to further US interests in Iraq.