Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Turkish bombing campaign against PKK signals shift in strategy

I just finished my last post about Libya and mentioned Turkey when this story caught my eye.

The Kurds occupy an area consisting of Northern Iraq, Southern Turkey, Western Iran and parts of Armenia and Georgia. The Kurds are not Arabic (they have their own language) and really have no place to call home. The governments of Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Armenia basically have no use for the Kurds. After Desert Storm, Turkey and Iraq (under Saddam Hussein) agreed on Kurdish problem. Iraq would move their artillery up to the 38th parallel (the star of the northern no-fly zone) and shell Kurdish villages. The Kurds would be driven back into Turkey who had a hot-pursuit agreement with Iraq and could fly into Northern Iraq to strike the PKK. Oh, and the US was part of OPERATION PROVIDE COMFORT which was supposed to protect the Kurds (except for the Turks who were letting coalition forces stage at Incirlik).

Now 20 years later, the Turks and the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party) and having more disagreements. As you can see from the map, the Kurdish problem could create an interesting cooperation between Turkey, Iran and Iraq. The presence of Turkey in NATO raises the ugly question, does an attack by the PKK on Turkey constitute an attack on NATO? If so, what will NATO's response be?


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