As if our soldiers didn’t already have their hands full with the insurgents and militants in Iraq, now the Turkish army is preparing to attack separatist Kurdish guerrillas in a cross-border offensive. Gen. Yasar Buyukanit said his forces are ready for a fight and they are simply awaiting government orders to cross into Northern Iraq.
As you might imagine, this development has the folks in Washington pretty damn nervous, as well they should be. A Turkish military invasion will most likely destabilize northern Iraq, and should our country be forced into choosing a side (which is almost a 100% certainty) we’ll lose one of the few allies that we have in that entire region. The question is, do we support the Kurds, who for the most part, have been holding down the fort in Northern Iraq for us throughout this entire conflict, or do we take sides with Turkey and turn the pro-American Iraqi Kurds against us?
This whole dispute boils down to two very sensitive issues. First, a lot of Turks believe that if their military were to push into the Kurdish controlled Northern Iraq, they could very well finish off the rebels fighting under the banner of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. The PKK has been fighting for self-rule in the Kurdish-dominated southeastern Turkey since 1984. Secondly, The Kurds want to form an independent country for themselves in northern Iraq, but the Turks think (and for good reason I might add) that if the Kurds were allowed to form their own country in the region of Iraq they control now, that they would eventually use it for a stepping stone to take over a large chunk of Turkey.
This whole mess is further complicated by the fact that until recently, the Turkish military has had help from various Iraqi Kurdish groups fighting separatist Kurdish guerrillas, however, according to Turkish intelligence reports, those same groups of Iraqi Kurds are currently preparing defenses against the possible Turkish incursion into northern Iraq. It seems like the lines of division are clearly drawn along ethnic lines this time around.