Posted by: Nick Poma | November 1, 2007

Turks or Kurds, Who will the United States side with?

            The Bush administration finds itself in a real conundrum lately. The issue at hand is the tension between Northern Iraq’s Kurds and the country of Turkey. There have been tensions between these two people for quite some time but it seems that things have stepped up a notch in the last couple of weeks.

            On one hand we have the Kurds which are looking to create a sovereign nation for themselves, and this plan includes real estate beyond the Turkish border. On the other hand we have Turkey that is not willing to give up any of their territory, and who can blame them?  The issues between the Turks and the Kurds were well known and openly discussed leading up to the war in Iraq, but it was hoped that Turkey would restrain them selves and allow the United States to sort out the issues in the war torn country.

            However, there have been recent attacks against border towns in Turkey and it is claimed that the Kurds are the aggressors. News reports state that more than 30 Turkish soldiers have been killed in recent Kurdish attacks. This comes at a time when the country of Iraq is still unstable and its government is being criticized for not taking a more active role in policing its people.

            The reason why this is so problematic is that Turkey is an ally in the “War on Terror,” and is pivotal in U.S. operations in the region. However, with these new incursions into their country, Turkey has now massed tens of thousands of troops on the Turkey, Iraq border. The Kurds on the other hand have been used as an element of sympathy to the American people, and for that matter, the world.

The Kurds were part of the reason given for going into Iraq and removing Saddam Hussein. It had been reported that the Kurds were an oppressed people in the northern part of Iraq and they were the victims of chemical attacks perpetrated by Saddam.

This has the U.S. administration very apprehensive as to what action might cause this volatile situation to suddenly explode. The House of Representatives recently passed a non-binding resolution declaring the Turkish action in Armenia in 1915 an incident of genocide against the Armenian people. While this has been interpreted by many scholars as factual, this vote does not help the situation in the region at this particular moment in time.

It is possible that what we are witnessing is only the beginning of a growing amount of trouble in the region. If Turkey were to invade and start cleansing the region of the Kurds, this will be a signal to other countries in the region to make their move as well. U.S. forces would be hard pressed to defend a war in one country that has many fronts. It is also unclear as to what side the United States will take.

Do we side with a people that have been persecuted for many years and are citizens of the country that we went in to save, or do we side with an ally in the war against terror? This is one of those questions that can only be answered in time. Nevertheless, it appears that the time is growing short and we will have to make a quick decision.

Sources

http://www.boston.com/news/world/articles/2007/10/12/turkey_swift_to_admonish_us_over_vote/

http://abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/10/11/2056301.htm?section=world

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