(Premier Recep Tayyip Erdogan, photo by Murad Sezer/Associated Press)
Buried in page A7 of the Saturday LA Times (with the vague headline, “Turkey’s premier issues warning”) Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed to protect Turkey from the Kurds in Northern Iraq—and America be dammed.
“Did [the U.S.] seek permission from anyone when they came from a distance of 10,000 kilometers and hit Iraq?” Erdogan asked. “We do not need anyone else’s advice.”
What the papers don’t report in all their hype about “stable” and America-loving Northern Iraq (where the Kurds hope to form Kurdistan) is that Turkey’s been bombing them since 1992 with U.S. permission—or at least a blind-eye, and a wink and a nudge. The “no-fly” zone established after the Gulf War only applied to Saddam Hussein. President Clinton let Turkey fly over and bomb the Kurds regularly during his administration. (In March of 1995, Turkey invaded northern Iraq with 35,000 troops to wage war against the Kurds. They used the ‘no-fly zone’ as a cover to protect their own bombers.) And, Turkey bombed the Kurds just this past summer.
Today, Turkey said that if Congress passes a resolution acknowledging the Armenian genocide, then the U.S. can no longer use Turkish air bases to launch attacks against Iraq. If that happens, U.S. planes will have to take off from Italy or some such farther off place, costing considerably more.
Maybe Bush can now blame the Democrats for escalating the war, and the troops can come home?