Wednesday, May 30, 2007
Not So Friendly Spat
More rumblings on the border between Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan. According to a report from Gulf News, the Turkish army has continued its buildup on the Iraqi border, moving 20 tanks into position:
Speculation about an imminent incursion into Iraq has grown since Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week he saw eye to eye with the army over possible military action, despite unease in the United States, Turkey's NATO ally, about such a move.
Also, I linked to a news item yesterday about a couple of American fighter jets that "accidentally strayed" into Turkish airspace, also on the border with Iraqi Kurdistan. But according to this article in Middle East Times, it wasn't an isolated incident:
Turkey Tuesday warned its NATO ally the US against repeating (sic) violations of Turkish airspace at the border with Iraq, threatening unspecified action.
The warning followed violations by two US F-16 warplanes May 24, which some Turkish media described as a deliberate attempt at intimidation as Ankara discusses whether it should conduct a military incursion into northern Iraq to strike at Turkish Kurd rebels based there.
Turkey presented a formal diplomatic letter of protest, and Prime Minister Erdogan warned that "If this happens again ... if this takes a different dimension, what we will do is obvious." Obvious, that is, in the sense that no one's quite sure what he means.
This is really kind of mind-boggling. Turkey's been pressuring us to address the PKK bases in Iraqi Kurdistan for years now. There's been a shooting war on the Turkish side of the border for months. The whole area is on high alert. And our idea of an appropriate response is to buzz Turkish airspace?
Does "Keep your fingers crossed" count as an Iraq policy?