Turkey’s current predicament reminds us of the film “High Noon”. All those who boasted to be true friends of the town marshal, left him alone in front of a gang of criminals and fled to a hideout when he was in need.
The Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) has been acknowledged a separatist and savage group not only by Turkey but also by Turkey’s friends. That is, the United States, European Union and Iraq. PKK is officially recognized as a terrorist group and now that it has infiltrated Turkey’s territory, killed some Turkish soldiers and abducted 9 other, the Turkish government has decided to pursue and punish them under pressure from its highly provoked public. But those who called for global war against terrorism not only have abandoned this friendly state, important member of NATO, and candidate of joining EU but also try hard to dissuade Turkey from doing so.
Americans bring excuses like relative peace of Northern Iraq and economic prosperity of its Kurdish region that will all vanish if the Turkish Army attacks Iraq’s territory. But the Turks not only reject these excuses but claim that they are the ones who have brought about prosperity. They quote from Commander-in-Chief of American troops in Iraq that Turkey has invested around 10 billion dollars in Northern Iraq and in addition to supplying a major portion of electricity in this region, 2500 Turkish trailers transport goods into Iraq everyday, among them huge tankers which supply gasoline and other oil products for the U.S. Army.
Although considering Turkey’s counteraction legitimate, EU is concerned about political instability of the region and start of a new wave of refugees and its aftermath, so it wants Turkey to be patient and contain itself.
Although it recognizes PKK as a terrorist group, the Iraqi government which has Kurd president and foreign minister doesn’t show any interest in oppressing the Kurd rebels, claiming that it has not enough power to do so. Jalal Talebani, the President of Iraq, states that they will arrest and surrender the rebels themselves. Hushiar Zibari, the foreign minister, says that the attack to Turkey’s territory and murder of its 13 soldiers is done by infiltrators and Masoud Barezani, head of the Autonomous Northern Region of Iraq claims that Turkey has not been able to solve PKK problem in the past 23 years by using cannons, tanks, helicopters and warplanes and the case is still true and if the Turkish army passes their border and disturbs their peace they will retaliate.
Ironically, the American government has gathered the defense ministers of NATO members –including Turkey- in Netherlands to ask them to help the United States in its global war against terrorism by sending more troops to Afghanistan. At the same time it ignores Turkey’s request for assistance when the country is threatened by terrorism while according the 5th article of NATO treaty “an armed attack against one or more of them…shall be considered an attack against them all”. That means that as a NATO member Turkey has to fight against anti-American terrorists but as the commander, the United States gives no answer but silence against Turkey’s same request.
The Turkish press says that they possess the switch to peace, stability and economic boom that Americans have mentioned and they can turn this switch off whenever they may and plunge the region into darkness and instability.
However, imposing economic sanction on Iraq is not a one-way road for Turkey and will also harm the Turkish economy. Therefore to reduce the loss the Turkish officials are elaborating on other ways rather than Northern Iraq to transport goods to Iraq. One of these routes is Syria, with which the Turks share four import-export border points. The other one can be Iran and the Bazargan border point. Definitely the costs will be higher since Northern Iraq has to be circumvented but compared with the costs and losses of a military attack, these will not count.
The United States dual behavior against Turkey is so flagrant that even major American newspapers such as New York Times and Washington Post have criticized it.
And it seems that Israel is the only country that has announced its unconditional support for every Turkey’s measure against PKK, whether military or unmilitary.