"Remember remember the fifth of November . . ."
~ Traditional rhyme, Guy Fawkes Night.
~ Traditional rhyme, Guy Fawkes Night.
Özgür Gündem is running an item on the status of Kerkuk and Turkish recognition of an autonomous South Kurdistan. Naturally, there are strings attached. Excerpts from Özgür Gündem:
Turkey, which does not compromise to solve the Kurdish question in a democratic way, began its cross-border operation with the active support of the US on 16 December . Contrary to what they claim, the PKK did not suffer any significant losses [5 şehîds], but the Turkish army murdered civilians. Since the aerial operation resulted in a fiasco, Turkey is preparing a land operation against South Kurdistan, thus it is bargaining internationally for this operation. These activities are becoming obvious day by day.
It has been mentioned that if the KRG cooperates with Turkey against the PKK, Turkey would assume guardianship of a controllable South Kurdistan. For this purpose, two steps have been taken: 1. Cross-border operations are being implemented at the cost of the violation of a nation's sovereignty (Iraq's); 2. The Kerkuk referendum has been delayed. Thus the deal is that Turkey is willing to recognize a limited Kurdistan, which excludes Kerkuk, and includes only Hewlêr-Silêmanî.
Apparently Barzanî and Talabanî approved this plan, selling Kurdistan down the river, and for that reason we see no objections to Turkish stipulations. On the contrary, Talabanî has praised AKP's policies and urged Northern Kurds to vote for AKP.
A controllable Kurdistan plan became obvious with the cross-border operations. Some experts claim that, despite the support of the US, since Turkey could not annihilate the Kurds, Turkey is willing to recognize a limited South Kurdistan. On 5 November, Turkey forced the US to exclude Kerkuk from the Kurdish region and, thus Turkey would recognize the government of such a limited region. This was the first step of the controllable Kurdistan plan. It is not a coincidence that two days after the first Turkish [air] attack on 16 December 2007, the Kerkuk referendum was delayed on 18 December. While this decision of delay was being made, US Secretary of State Rice was in Kerkuk--again this was not a coincidence. These steps were the indicators of the US-Turkey alliance against the Kurds. Later on, the KRG parliament also approved the decision. The approval of the decision by the KRG was satisfactory for Turkey. In December 2007, Büyükanıt, who always considered South Kurdistan as a threat, said, "It might be a modern federation which excludes Kerkuk." By saying so, he stressed that Turkey would accept a South Kurdistan that excludes Kerkuk.
This is an updated plan because Turgut Özal was the one who most recently toyed with the idea of re-annexing the Mosul Vilayet:
Turkey has never entirely lost its interest in the former Vilayet of Mosul. There are those who believe that the entire Vilayet rightly belongs to Turkey — the previous Minister of Foreign Affairs, Yaşar Yakiş, suggested that Turkey might wish to lay claims to this territory. The late Turgut Özal, Turkey’s former Prime Minister and President, flirted with the idea of re-integration of this region with Turkey. He appeared to believe that a form of federation between Turkey and the Kurdish part of Iraq would be mutually beneficial and could potentially solve Turkey’s Kurdish problems. This shows at the very least that Turkey’s commitment to Iraq’s territorial integrity has been less than consistent and wholehearted.
More backgrounder on Turkey's longing for its Vilayet at AsiaTimes, pre-Iraq War.
Turkish politicians only matter as part of the "democratic" show for international consumption; however, if Büyükanıt--the real ruler of Turkey--accepts the deal, then you know know it's done. With all the scurrying around of generals and politicians in the last few weeks-culminating, no doubt, with Dick "Halliburton" Cheney's visit to Ankara this coming March--anyone who's surprised by a Turkish invasion in the spring should be considered incomparably thick.
At the end of last week, Hürriyet reported a surprise visit to Ankara of General James Cartwright, vice-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Cartwright's visit closely follows Turkish General Ergun Saygun's visit to Washington in the first week of February. More from AFP:
General James Cartwright, vice chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, will discuss "the ongoing struggle" against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) with Turkish counterparts, an embassy spokeswoman said.
Cartwright, Turkish General Ergin Saygun and US General David Petraeus, the top commander in Iraq, are coordinating measures against the rebel group.
Washington has been supplying its NATO ally Turkey with intelligence on PKK movements in northern Iraq, where the group has taken refuge.
On Thursday this week, the MGK (Milli Güvenlik Kurulu--National Security Council) will meet to hold discussions on this spring's Turkish invasion of South Kurdistan:
US Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. James Cartwright's last week's visit to Turkey will also be on the agenda at the meeting. Cartwright met twice with Turkish Deputy Chief of General Staff Gen. Ergün Saygun in the last 10 days, once in US and once in Turkey. His visit to Turkey bears great importance in terms of Turkey's possible cross-border operation into northern Iraq with its land forces in the spring.
In another amazing coincidence, the new US Attorney General, Michael Mukasey was in Turkey last week as well. In addition to offering advice on the legality of torture techniques as part of the Global War on Terror, Incorporated, he discussed joint US-Turkish operations against the Kurdish freedom movement and Turkey's hosting of al-Qaeda operatives:
Mukasey would not elaborate on media reports that his talks focused on the possible capture and handover to Turkey of PKK commanders.
Ankara and Washington, like much of the international community, list the PKK, which has waged a bloody 23-year campaign for Kurdish self-rule in southeast Turkey, as a terrorist organisation.
Mukasey said he also discussed measures against Al-Qaeda, which has stepped up activities in Turkey in recent years.
"Our two countries can expand our collaboration on this and other judicial and law enforcement matters," he said.
More from Hürriyet:
News about upcoming Cheney visit to Ankara was revealed during the latest high level visit by an American official, US Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Meeting with top level Turkish officials, Mukasey delivered a warning from Washington with regards to Al Qaeda presence in Turkey.
"We are watching Al Qaeda closely. And we have seen in the recent period that they have increased their activities in Turkey" he told Turkish Justice Justice Minister Mehmet Ali Sahin and Interior Minister Besir Atalay, according to sources close to the matter.
In addition, the US head of the Justice Department warned Turkish officials that it "appeared as though Al Qaeda may have chosen Turkey as a base". Mukasey is the first American head of Justice to have made an official visit to Turkey.
Really?? Only recently?? I don't think so. Remember, the 9/11 hijackers were trained in Turkey.
The updated plan for the invasion of South Kurdistan, and Turkey's "guardianship" of the same, has been agreed upon as part of America's wider plans for the region, specifically with regard to Iran. Turkey's expanded sphere of influence into South Kurdistan will shift the regional balance of power away from Iran.
Of course, the Medya Defense Zones--those areas in which PKK operates--are key terrain. That the US is working with Turkey to gain control of those areas by annihilating a freedom organization that has offered ceasefire and political solution, indicates clearly enough that the PKK has refused to compromise its integrity by caving in to US interests.