Coward Old Universe…

by Jeremy G.

Note to Turkey: Be Smarter Than Us…

Posted by Jeremy Ghez on October 17, 2007


It is quite hard to understand the logic that drove the decision of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee to vote on an event that occurred 85 years ago, does not concern the U.S. nor its policy, and which does not seem to bear any urgency given today’s international context.  The resolution, which was approved with 27 votes against 21, determined that Turkey committed a genocide against the Armenian people during the First World War.

The resolution caused a national outcry in Turkey, leading officials to recall the country’s ambassador to the U.S. for “consultation”.  Even if American foreign policy should not be elaborated in function of potential outcries and others’ oversensitivities – not many resolutions would be voted in that case – it is hard to understand the urgency behind this decision, which is just adding more trouble to the current strains the two countries have experienced since 2003.    Some are already bad-mouthing over the Democrats’ responsability in this fiasco and are hinting that this may be a way to give Republicans yet another hard time with Foreign Policy.  Nevertheless, in practice, it is hard to imagine how Democrats could have reached this decision without realizing that the potential long-term damage could impede their geopolitical flexibility if they win the White House in 2008. 

This is why this resolution is ill-advised, no matter how one spins it.  It has limited Washington’s ability to influence Turkish policies in Northern Iraq, where a pseudo-Kurdish state has emerged as the only success story of the 2003 American intervention.  Tensions are now growing on Turkey’s Iraqi border.  Indeed, Turkey has displayed great suspicion towards the new Kurdish state that it considers as a potential safehaven for the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), a mouvement considered as terrorist by the U.S. and Turkey.

According to the MIPT Terrorism Knowledge Database, the last criminal actions led by the PKK occurred in the summer of 2006, when the terrorist movement attacked business, government and police targets in Turkey.  Thus Turkish authorities have legitimate reasons to be wary of the movement.

However, Turkey is as a significant stakeholder as any other country in the region, when it comes to the Iraqi issue.  By intervening in Northern Iraq, Turkey could destabilize the only region of Iraq that could provide a positive sign in the region.

America broke this relationship.  It’s time for some fixing, and allowing Turkey to destabilize Northern Iraq through a military dimension is not an answer.  In such circumstances, one could hope that Turkey will be pragmatic enough to use the situation to its own advantage, without resisting calls for a dialogue with the Kurds.  Paradoxically enough, one solution may be summed up in just two words, and you’re not going to like it: nuclear energy.




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