Saturday, October 13, 2007

Fried, Rice Talk Turkey

There's no doubt that the U.S. government is taking Turkey seriously.

Both Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and former ambassador to Turkey Eric Edelman and Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Dan Fried have joined Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Turkey. That's a lot of secretaries.

The purpose of the Edelman-Fried-Rice team is over there to talk turkey about the Turkish government about America's use of Turkey's airspace and ground transportation to supply troops in Iraq. That, and the American House of Representatives embarrassing Turkey by reminding the of the Armenian Genocide that Turkey says didn't happen.

On top of logistics and alternative histories, there are the 60,000 or so Turkish troops on the Iraq border. One reasonable explanation is that Turkey wants to, ah, enter Iraq and deal with Kurdish rebels who have been killing Turks. The Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, seems to a particularly troublesome group. (The U.S. State Department has declared the Kurdistan Workers' Party to be a terrorist group.)

Turkey says that it's tried to get America and Iraq to take care of the PKK and other annoyances, but is ready to go into Iraq and do the job itself, if necessary. The Iraqi government doesn't see that sort of invasion in a very positive light.

Although it's wildly unlikely to happen, and I don't approve of the PKK, I wouldn't mind seeing Kurdistan become a nation, made up of parts of eastern Turkey, Northern Iraq, and western Iran.

The land of the Kurds is a distinct area where Kurds live. There was a province of Kurdistan in the Ottoman Empire. There would probably be a Kurdistan now, if the allies hadn't been distracted (and, in my opinion, arrogant) when they carved up the Ottoman Empire, and other colonial holdings, after WWI. Actually, a "Kurdistan" was defined, but Mustafa Kemal and company sent troops in, and now we've got today's boundaries.

If you think I'm biased about this, check out the Kurdistan Regional Government website. And remember: Being biased doesn't necessarily mean being wrong.

Back to Turkey

Today, not quite a century later, American officials are dealing with a successor of Mustafa Kemal's bunch, who don't like being reminded of what a previous dynasty did to the Armenians.

What puzzles me most about the current Turkish situation is why the current rulers are so anxious to hush up something done by a previous set of rulers. I'd think that they'd be happy to be able to show how superior they are to the Ottoman Empire.

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.