Friday, October 12, 2007
Walking Back The Turkey Crisis
Despite the gathering Perfect Storm of alarmist headlines, Turkey's government is reacting to both recent PKK attacks and the Armenian genocide resolution with what I'd call measured outrage. The Parliamentary vote authorizing cross-border assaults into Iraqi Kurdistan won't take place before next week at the earliest. And even if an incursion is authorized, that doesn't make one inevitable.
By all indications, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's main reason for seeking the authorization vote, besides assuaging domestic public opinion, is to use it as leverage at a regional meeting on Iraq and a bi-lateral meeting with President Bush both scheduled for next month:
Erdogan said the problems stemming from the PKK presence in Iraq would be discussed when a meeting of Iraq's neighbors and key international actors convenes in Istanbul early next month and when he visits the United States for talks with President George W. Bush, again next month. "Let's make sure we have the authorization at hand so that we can decide to take a step whenever it is necessary," Erdogan said in the interview, aired on CNN Türk.
He also appeared less than sanguine about an incursion's chances of success:
"So far, there have been 24 such operations. When you look back at its benefits, we see they have not been particularly effective. We have to see this fact… If we don't analyze it well, we will lose in the end," he stated.
Meanwhile, Erdogan downplayed reports that the Turkish Ambassador to the US has been recalled:
"I do not have any such information. Possibly, the Foreign Ministry called in the ambassador for consultations, but no one has recalled him," Recep Tayyip Erdogan said.
So it looks like the fan blades ought to stay clean for at least the weekend.