how the world sees america

Metal Storm: Imagining U.S.-Turkey War

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ISTANBUL - Ankara is on fire. U.S. warplanes zoom overhead, blackening the skies. America has just launched "Operation Metal Storm."

So starts one of the most popular books in recent Turkish history, dubbed Metal Storm (or Metal Furtina). This fictional tale of a massive U.S.-Turkey war has sold 600,000 copies across the country since its release in 2004.

Metal Storm starts off, eerily enough, in northern Iraq in 2007. America draws Turkish forces into battle as a pretext to invade the country. The rich uranium, thorium, and borax reserves lure a greedy "evangelical American president" and his cronies, unsparingly named "Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice." It's all part of America's plan for world dominion, the book says.

After reducing Turkey to rubble and capturing its capitol, Ankara, the U.S. threatens to divide the remains among its Armenian and Greek neighbors -- the ultimate insult. But a powerful diplomatic alliance between Russia and the European Union comes to the rescue, stalling the U.S. Meanwhile, a Turkish agent smuggles a suitcase nuke through Mexico's border and detonates it in Washington, D.C.

America falls to its knees. Turkey, the good, prevails. America, the evil, loses.

I met one of the two authors of the book, Burak Turna, in a café off Taksim Square. The thirty-year-old, goateed author-musician spends his days here jotting notes for his next book, and says he owes his rise to fame to his ability to "predict future scenarios" and tap into "the subconscious of Turkey."


Burak has long been a dreamer. He recalls his childhood days reading American cartoon books like Mandrake the Magician and Tom Mix, and watching Star Wars, Star Trek, Indiana Jones, and Wild Wild West movies over and over again. "I was always a loner," he says.

As years progressed, he turned to video games like Call of Duty and Rise of the Legions, and to philosophers like Hegel, Kant, and Plato, "all of whom I think I have moved beyond now."

Burak started pondering his own theory of the world after finishing Turkish military service in 2001. Just out of the military, in the year 2002, Burak was twenty-seven years-old, living at home, and jobless. For one year "I walked around Istiklal doing nothing" but pondering recent world events -- September 11, the build up to the Iraq War, America's interventions in the Middle East.

That was when a problem struck him: "There is so much information -- books and internet and TV -- but so many things are not told to you. Why didn't the first George Bush get rid of Saddam?" Burak asks rhetorically, before revealing his answer: "They were waiting, preparing for their bigger moves."

But what were they? In 2002, he blended philosophy and current events to imagine America and Turkey's future. He decided a fundamental "will to power" drives most American policy choices, and at moments throughout history, this lust for total control brings humanity to the brink of disaster. Burak says now is one of those moments.

Burak presents Metal Storm as a work of fiction, political science, and philosophy rolled into one -- think "The Matrix," he says. To write his thrillers, Burak imagines himself the manic ruler of the United States, bent on world dominion. Then he imagines future scenarios. So far, he claims, his imagination has been oddly prescient.

He predicted a butting of interests in northern Iraq between the U.S. and Turkey way back before 2003, and the title of his latest book, "Third World War" is now "being used by President Bush" who "is taking my discourse."

So, I ask, does all of this end badly for America in the real world? Are we in for global confrontations and dirty bombs?

"No," he says. "This book predicts the context -- what you see now in Iraq and with the PKK -- but politicians have the choice on whether to act rationally. In the heat of the moment, things can spin out of control, but if you've seen it before [by reading the book] people can act better to control it."

"I see myself as a doctor," he says, "inoculating a patient against catastrophe."

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Comments (67)

Amar C. Bakshi:

Rick, thanks for the note, and for engaging this thread. I'm not sure exactly how to read the start of this message, whether as tongue and cheek or earnest, but links to other material is most welcome, as is a discussion on water rights. The issue is pivotal.

Rick Jones, Fredericksburg, VA:


Good reply to Mike and Babu. The point is to discuss why people around the world have such a low opinion of the US. Here is perhaps the most important reason, along with our illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq:

Here is an interesting site glorifying the Israeli technological marvel.

Yup, Israel is a technological marvel. That’s why the Israelis need to hog 80% of the Palestinian’s water supply.

…“According to recommended standards of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID), a minimum of 100 liters a day per capita are needed for balanced and healthy domestic consumption in rural households. In contrast, BâeTselem, the Israeli human rights organization, documents that Israeli per capita consumption of water already reaches 350 l/day, about five-times Palestinian consumption. Per capita consumption of water in Israeli settlements, most of which are strategically located directly above main water extraction sources, can reach even higher levels, estimated at seven-fold the Palestinian consumption rate. In contrast, Palestinian consumption rates per capita vary between 35-80 l/d, well below WHO and USAID recommendations, and in some communities, water consumption can dip to as low as 7 l/d under certain conditions…”

So Israel confiscates most of the West Bank water, to the point that Palestinians there do not even have what the UN and the US government both regard as the minimum necessary to sustain human life, while Jewish settlers - accustomed to living in their native Europe or America - water grass lawns and fill swimming pools with water taken from under the feet of the Palestinians, while the Palestinians are rarely allowed to drill wells.

So you Israelis go ahead and live well at the expense of your oppressed neighbors on your stolen land. My government will guarantee the continuation of your illegal existence and fund your atrocious behavior with billions of my tax dollars. Live long and prosper, until the world wakes up and puts a stop to your despicable treatment of the rightful owners of your stolen land.

Chris in San Antonio:

Rory -

You Wrote:
"Back here in the real world, sane people know that the U.S. will not attack Turkey. If anything, people should be disturbed by the authors' apparent assertion that a suitcase nuke would bring America "to its knees" and somehow usher in a gigantic worldwide Peace Garden. Now THAT is stupidity at its finest. If the U.S. is surreptitiously nuked by thieves in the night, any country remotely involved will be jettisoned into space as a giant cloud of radioactive afterdeath by a hail of murderous ICBMs from the heartland."

I laughed at this rather uncontrollably for about 5 minutes.

Additionally, Anyone with 15 brain cells understands how much we love the Turks. Their problems with civil rights mirror our own problems in the 60's and 70's. If anything, we could help provide them with a unique perspective, being recently edjumacated with the whole "pluralistic" thing ourselves. We have way too much in common with our Turkish brothers for even a moron to actually believe we're going to drop bombs on eachother.

Chris in San Antonio:


Unfortunately, throughout history, it's been incumbant upon the oppressed peoples to be the ones to rise above the violence first. Those with power will never evaluate their racist opinions when they view them as confirmed by the violent nature of the oppressed peoples' reaction to suffering that's inflicted. Until the Kurds find a visionary figure to instill into them the discipline and patience to walk through the streets, take the police beatings, dogs, and even lynchings and shootings without recting violently, they will not be able to break their oppressive government's hold on the most important ground in a war of ideals - public opinion. The government will use every nasty trick in the book (ours sure did), and gaining the support of a hostile people will be difficult, but once it happens, it will truly be the beginning of the end for racism in Turkey.


@ Chris,

I agree with your mature position on the matter of tolerance, acceptance and equality. You are very right that in order to accomplish change, the past must be addressed. Yes it takes time but once the process of healing starts, it is empowering in the end result.

Germany did not mature over night. It took many decades for the country to reassess its moral position given the hard lessons of history. The difficulty experienced by Germany however, has been compensated quite astonishingly by the prosperity of its people, due to the liberation from the brutality of the past.

Is it possible for the same liberating result to be experienced by the Turkish and Kurdish people? I think it is. I truly believe that if Turkey made an effort to disarm the PKK through negotiations with the Kurdish South-East, the necessity of the PKK would be one of irrelevance.

Such maturity however is not possible, unless Turkey acknowledges that her aggressive means against her minorities both present and past must be corrected. If there is no move presently for Turkey toward this goal, how can the past, which is even more brutal than the present be addressed?

There is much work to be done in Turkey and further brutalizing her minorities is not the answer. Furthermore, rewriting history is a deplorable tactic used by the Turkish government to only further justify the past and legitimize the present conflict.

I want to be hopeful but I am not betting that tolerance will prevail in this case.

Montreal Canada

Chris in San Antonio:

Hi Spidon.

While it’s true that the Turks have responded to solutions with violence, we have to understand that the violence only perpetuates its self. Before there can be equality, the Kurds need to take an example from perhaps the greatest American, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. It was his teachings of peaceful protest, civil disobedience, and drawing attention to their cause through righteous action, not the violent actions of the Black Panthers and other hate groups, that showed stupid white people, like my parents, that African Americans were not subhuman animals, but people that deserve respect and equality. We sent peaceful protestors to jail, rolled them down the streets with fire hoses, and set dogs on them because we didn’t want to listen to them, but by doing that, exposed our own wrong-minded blindness to the fact that we all deserve the same opportunities if we’re to have peace.

It will be a patient, diligent movement towards non-violent protest, along with the will and patience to see it through, that will solve the problems of the Kurds and Turks. We Americans understand that all too well, as our own recovery from the blindness of racism is still fresh in our minds.


@ Chris,

I am glad someone is saying it like it is. Petty dictatorships have been tolerable in the past since there was a sense of powerlessness in action against them.
Though the US has its own interests in the ongoing conflict in Iraq, it is none the less attempting to resolve the regional acceptance of brutal dictatorships, and advance some semblance of rational governance where there previously was none.

As for Turkey and the Kurds however, it must be acknowledged that the Kurds have offered a political solution a short while ago that Turkey has responded to by bombings, assassinations, deportations, internal harassment and imprisonment of Kurds within her borders and within Iraq.
I am not sure how much value we can place on an ally who advocates a position that we are trying to defeat in other places.

Though the PKK are known for their terrorist tactics, it must be acknowledged that their need to exist is precipitated by Turkey's need to traditionally and presently continue to brutalize her minorities and citizens, including the Kurds.

I believe that an ongoing relationship with Turkey can only be maintained if Turkey accepts a less aggressive means of dealing with her neighbouring countries and above all, her minority and special interest groups. Human rights must first be guaranteed to all Turkish citizens and respect toward Turkey's neighbours, in order for Turkey to mature as a nation and thereby be a mature ally as a result.

Montreal Canada

Chris in San Antonio:

comment immediatly above attributed to Ray is mine - a mispost. If you like, blame it on the fact that I’m a stupid American that doesn’t know how to operate a computer.

P.S. Sorry for hijacking the thread, as well. In response to the thread topic, Turkey is a great ally of the US, and always will be, despite any differences we have. The Turks are reasoned and enlightened people with good leadership. I’m confident that in time, the US and Turkey will work out the current problems with the Kurds in a manner that is favorable to all involved parties. However, for this to happen:

The Turks must be willing to recognize Kurds as equals.

The Kurds must be willing to stop their violent attacks in order to begin dialogue.

The US MUST be aware of the situation, and do all it can to promote a swift, equitable solution.

Chris in San Antonio:

Ray -

To your comment: "There has been never a period in history where an arrogant power has not been defeated when it has tried to impose its rule by naked force on other nations so that it can control the reosurces it needs.."

First, The United States and its few allies seem to be the only ones on the planet interested in stopping anyone from “enforcing their rule by naked force” on the Iraqi people. If you’ll remember, it was Saddam Hussein doing exactly that to 80% of his population, when he wasn’t killing them with chemical weapons. In addition, it is the foreign insurgents and local fringe groups that are currently blowing up civilians in the streets in order to intimidate and coerce the people of Iraq to abandon the hope of democracy, not the “arrogant power” that you so bemoan.

Second, technically, your statement is only true in the last 100 years or so. Before that, vast empires stretched across Europe and Asia with impunity, repressing or killing everyone that stood in their way. Remember Rome much? Persia? I’m just a stupid American, and even I know that empires spanned the old world for sometimes thousands of years before disintegrating only under the weight of their own unmanageable landmass.

Third, the primary reason your statement does remain true for the past 100 years is because the “arrogant power” you love to trash is the primary entity that made it so. We helped push back the Germans in WWI. When WWII was fought, not only did we turn the tide against The Axis in Europe while fighting Japan practically alone, but we spent our treasure for the next 20 years rebuilding not only the countries that were attacked, but the attackers as well, in order to ensure that the resentment and economic strife that caused WWII in the first place wasn’t around to cause a third war. We beat back the Communists after that, being the primary ones to do so, and the only ones that realistically could.

I’m not saying America is perfect by any means, but to conclude that we’re trying to form an empire for our own economic gain is absurd and insulting. The founders of my country fought and died to free us from the tyranny of British rule without representation. We’re not in the business of doing that to others. When we leave Iraq, it will be a self determining democracy, not a colony. We’re simply paying forward a debt in the same spirit that inspired France to help us break free from Britian. The Iraqis will sell their oil to whoever THEY want to, for whatever price THEY feel is appropriate - most likely Europe.

The only economic interest of the US in Iraq was to prevent 95% of the world’s oil exports ten years from now from being controlled by unstable, xenophobic dictatorships. That’s not only in the US’s interests. That’s in the World’s interests. It benefits the people that are selling the oil because corrupt dictators aren’t building palaces for themselves while their people starve. It also helps the buyers (ALL of them, not just the US) by having stable, friendly, accountable governments with which to trade.

So sit in your home, and bemoan the imperialistic, warmongering US and their debacle in Iraq, but just remember this: We asked for help from the UN. They deemed it imprudent to enforce their own resolutions, and sit on the corrupt Oil for Food program while Iraqis died under the heel of a brutal dictator. They did nothing to prevent the foreign and sectarian violence that’s cost the lives of 80,000 Iraqi civilians since the US intervened there. We had to do it ourselves. Fine, we're not the best at peacekeeping in a complex and volatile environment, but at least we’re trying, and we will succeed. Next time, if you want it done right, come play the game instead of booing from the sidelines.


Unlike Germany in WWII, The US is attempting to establish democracy in Iraq after removing a dictator that was proven by his own actions to be a threat not only to his own people, but to world stability. Mark my words. After democracy is established, and Iraq is stable, the people of Iraq, not the US, will govern the country. A great number of people in the US feel that by removing Saddam Hussein, and fighting alongside the Iraqis to remove the forces of oppression, that we are paying foreward a debt owed in the spirit of France assisting to liberate the American colonies from Britian.

If you really think the US isn't helping the Iraqis, ask yourself this: Would the people of Iraq suffer more if the Americans left tomorrow and the insurgents stayed, or if the insurgents left tomorrow and the Americans stayed? Would the people of Iraq suffer more if the US acheived its goals in Iraq, or if Saddam Hussein was still there forcing isolation and scorn from the rest of the civilized world?


To anyone interested in formulating an objective and personal opinion on the matter at hand, a good place to start is by reading where the Turkish problems come from. Please copy/paste the line below into your browser and simply read the thousands of Human Rights violations by Turkey as listed by the organization HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH:


Montreal Canada


Any book that has the European Union coming to the rescue as a resolution belongs in the comedy section -- what a way to suck up to the Europeans so that you can become part of their union. I'm really appalled at the level of anti-americanism in Turkey; it's so pointless and passive aggressive. I wish the Bush gov't would stop its delusions and regard Turkey as a convenience not as an ally; bush's foreign policy is just so off the mark.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Rizgar, sorry for the delay. I just read that piece. It's certainly a very provocative point of view, but one which many Turks I've met would reject outright. I'm hesitant to comment one way or the other on such a piece, except to say I'll keep looking for voices from inside the military and without to get some perspective on it. Sorry to respond like a politician on this one, but this is better suited for others to address...

Amar C. Bakshi:

Life in the Midwest, I agree with the importance of this platform. Let me know who you would like to see interviewed and I will work hard to do it. I just interviewed a retired Turkish general who collaborated with the U.S. in the battle with the PKK. I am interviewing a group of students interested in film from Bospherous University tomorrow. Then I am planning to go to Izmir to talks to Turks there, and then I have some options: Incirlik or where the U.S. base is, Trabazon where there is strong nationalist feeling, Ankara, or down south to Diyarbakir and beyond to the border with Syria. Because Turkey is vast and complex, there are many many different voices that could be of value. I'm all hears to yours and others suggestions.

life in the midwest:

So according to OilHistorian, journalists should have spoken to Tom Clancy in the '80s to give perspective of the cold war? That's exactly my point. Here is this big, sophisticated, complex country at a very crucial moment in time and a journalist with a huge stage does random stories about 1) a Kurdish translator who is unhappy but doesn't want to reveal his name 2) a fictional novel that sounds like it's loosely based on WWI but now 90+ years later....

Call this an opportunity lost....


As usual, many of the responses show the abysmal ignorance of the right-wing Bush/Cheney supporters> turks are not arabs; they are Indo-Europeans just like Americans of European decsent are. 2nd: the point of the post by Amar is not that USA and Turkey will fight in the near future but to ponder the destructive consequences of an agressive nation's policy in invading and occupying muslim countries that have been around far longer than USA has existed as a Western power. One should use this story to ponder the endless lies and propaganda being used by neocons and pro-Israeli cabal to paint Iran as the biggest threat to the world: it's similar to Hitler's endless propaganda before he invaded Poland and Soviet Union that they were a mortal threat to Germany!!! Iran's GDP is less than Finland's, its annual defense budget is less than $5billion, and it has zero nukes compared to thousands possessed by USA and Israel..Before you fall for this My last comment is: if you are a follower of this mad rsuh to war with Iran, just remember that Hitler boasted to his generals before he invaded the Soviet Union in 1941 spring that Moscow will fall by October of that year, and then he is going to turn his attenation back to England! Less than two years later, the mighty German army(the most powerful army with the best tanks, airplanes, rockets etc at that time) was on their bitter march back to Germany and ultimate defeat. There has been never a period in history where an arrogant power has not been defeated when it has tried to impose its rule by naked force on other nations so that it can control the reosurces it needs..


It would be interesting to talk to this fellow. He strikes me as someone who i could communicate with as he seems to be a people watcher. I've been trying to tease out both the rationalities and irrationalities in american political undercurrents here too. Its pretty facinating as we all see ourselves as rational actors, but humans are not all that rational to begin with.

I should check out the age distribution too. My theory is that the closer you are towards puberty, the more certain things like respect matter. No one wants to look like a dufus in front of a potential girlfriend. I know the median age in the USA is 36.6 years old. In turkey it seems to be, 28.6 years old and 28.4 years old for males. So they aren't as young as Iraq in which the country is divided around the age of 20 and males are divided around 19.9 years old.

The main place Turkey seems to pick up population is amongst the future. They have 4.7 percent more of their population within the ages of 0-14, and only 0.9 percent more in the main age group of 15-64. They have about 5.7 percent less people in the oldest age group (over 65 years old) then the US does. They have a lower fertility rate per woman (Turkey 1.89) then we do (US 2.09) and a higher growth rate, 1.04% v the growth rate in the US of 0.894%. This is because younger people tend to have more babies then baby boomers.

I would not say they are as unstable as Iraq so there is a bit more room for diplomacy, Iraq only has 3 percent of their population over the age of 65 and almost 40% under the age of 15 (Turkey's total in this group is 24.9 percent and the US follows them with 20.2 percent as we still have more children then europeans despite recent tax incentives overseas to reverse aging population trends. The US stat includes mexican children too so its pretty broad, part of our growth is from immigration and part is from natural population increase.

Here is the CIA world factbook on Turkey:

I hope people find this useful. I am very fond of statistics! :)


@ Runon,

I presume with your communications in this discussion, that you are actively seeking my IP. That would be a nice thing to have in case you are planning a Turkish response, no?

Your communications, in manner and intent are well noted and expected.


As to the topic at hand:

Yada-Yada-Yada, Ladida...

There will be no war! There will be only more human rights violations by the usual suspect and the end-game will be partition of what should stay intact. I think that Turkey (the people) is doing the greatest disservice to itself by allowing the government and military to be so self-serving. I think, like most of the Turkish neighbouring citizens of countries bordering this country, that if Turkey stays intact it stands a better chance of survival, and we as neighbouring states, stand a better chance at keeping more serious problems from the East from moving Westward.

Many attempts have been made to dissuade Turkey to back off from what it has been repeatedly trying to achieve in Northern Iraq; none of the subtler attempts have succeeded. What now?

The Turkish government does not understand that criticism is most often, despite the rough edges it displays, positive.
The only thing stooping the internal change of the Turkish government, and disengagement of the Turkish military from active decision making, is the self-protectionist role they both play in the functioning and ongoing Turkish drama.

What do the Turkish people (regular citizens) think about all of this?

Do we have any Turkish people contributing here, other than the government and military propagandists?

I think we have seen enough of Turkish bravado. Let's talk to the real people.

Montreal Canada

Alan Dean Foster:

This is what good science-fiction is supposed to do: offer different scenarios of the future that simultaneously entertain and make people think.
Walking down Cadessi one day in Istanbul, I found a little side street/mall full of used bookstores. The window of one was papered with book jackets from classic SF books...but the books themselves were long since gone. So SF is present and read in Turkey, which is more than you can say for much of the Middle East.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hasan, I'll ask Burak.


Lots and lots of people pointed out that invading Iraq could complicate things between our Kurdish allies and our Turkish allies.

The whole failed attempt to bribe the Turkish Parliament into letting us invade through Turkey thing kind of illuminated that.

I'm sorry this man's book is so popular, I don't begrudge him his prosperity, but I don't think he is a prophet who deciphers complex political situations, he is an opportunist who, unfortunately like his countrymen, has been disappointed in the america he idolized as a child. Yes they do call him Darth Cheney.


Amar, so many people wants to read that book in English.
Maybe I should translate it to english? Ofocurse if the author wants me to and maybe there is already someone working on it.


Ah, yes -- the inevitable ad hominem attacks on the reporter wondering just how /she got this cushy job ....

Let's see: Bakshi interviews one of the authors of a top-selling book in Turkey, a antion whose relationship with the US is indeed news at the moment. Gee, guess nobody ever interviewed Tom Clancy and asked him his views on the Cold War, huh? Oh, wait -- Mike and his ditto-heads probably *agree* with what Tom Clancy would have to say, wouldn't they?

Interesting piece. Wish I read Turkish.

life in the midwest:

I agree with Mike -- nice gig you have Amar -- writing weak stories for a huge publication on a country you know little about. I wonder if the Post Omubudsman is asleep. I wish you would write more fair stories about Turkey and people living in Turkey.


I agree with Mike -- I'm not sure what insight you're providing Amar aside from writing for a huge publication from a country that you know little about except from single interviews that you conduct and write slanted articles on. I also wonder if the Post ombudsman would be interested in reading these as they are journalistically weak. I wish you would provide a fairer view of Turkey and people living in Turkey.


Thanks Bakshi.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hi Rizgar, I'm writing a piece right now. Let me read this as soon as I finish and get back to you.


Dear Amar
I find this article quit interesting about Turkish hatered against the US. What do you think?
Turkish-American Relations - By Amed Demirhan

In the post cold war environment, Turkish – American relations have increasingly deteriorated as this author has been arguing since 1997. The two countries’ policies on major regional issues—Cyprus, Armenia, the Kurdish issue both in Turkey and in Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Palestine—have increasingly come into conflict. The rigid Turkish political system with its root in the 1920s-1930s is not able to respond to current domestic and regional political developments in a rational manner. Therefore, this relationship is increasingly becoming a burden for USA, and the current crisis of Armenian genocide legislation in the US Congress and the corresponding Turkish threat to invade the Kurdistan Federal Region of Iraq is only the latest problem that has boiled up. Recently, the Turkish regime has been experiencing extreme political crises. For example, in last three years several que de etats have been aborted and just a few months ago many Turks feared yet another one.

Turkey increasingly blames the USA for its own short-comings and domestic problems; consequently, Turks holds the “championship” of Anti-Americanism in the Middle East, even more than Palestinians, Iranians, and Sunni Arabs in Iraq. The 2003 war against the Saddam regime Turkey not only refused to assist American as an “ally” to open second front against the Saddam regime, it also strongly limited the Coalition Forces’ capacity to fully use the Kurdish Peshmarge against Saddam. After the war Turkey has been leading regional opposition to the liberation of the Iraqi people from a dictatorship by organizing regional countries, particularly Syria and Iran, against a free Iraq and the Coalition Forces. The purpose of the current Turkish threat to invade the Federal Region of Kurdistan is to stop any US success in Iraq, and it is a direct challenge to US policy in the region.

In September 24, 2007, the Turkish Land Forces Commander, General Ilker Basbug, in a speech to military students stated: “It may be claimed that Turkey does not have enough power to control the development in Iraq by itself under the current conditions but they can not say it [Turkey] could not hinder the progress and increase the cost of the war in Iraq.” In September 27, 2007, the veteran and Turkish Army insider columnist Fikret Bila wrote in the daily “Milliyet” about Turkish Armed Forces expectation from the USA and their understanding of the threat in regards to Iraq, he said that the number one issue is an Independent Kurdistan in Northern Iraq, number two the inclusion of Kirkuk in Kurdistan Federal Region (KRG), and number three is the PKK. Therefore, the current threat of Turkish invasion to Iraqis not about the PKK; rather, it is about the success of the US and KRG. As such, it clearly is a direct challenge to the US and Iraq governments and has practically nothing to do with the actions of the “Worker Party of Kurdistan” (PKK- Kurdish acronym).

The USA and Iraqi government should be frank and straightforward with Turkey. The Kurdish problem in Turkey has been in existence for centuries and since the foundation of Turkish Republic in 1923 as former President Sulayman Demirel stated many times the PKK is the 29th and longest Kurdish uprising against the Turkish regime. Furthermore, since 1984 Turkey has made 24 incursions in Iraq against the PKK and mostly with help of USA, Iraq, and Kurdish political parties in Iraq, but they have never managed to solve the PKK or Kurdish issue in Turkey by force. The US with help of Israel arrested/kidnapped Mr. Abdullah Ocalan the founder and the president of the PKK in February 1999 in Kenya, perhaps in violation of International Law, and handed him over to the Turkish government. But instead of appreciation for their assistance the former Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit (who got credit for the arrest of President Ocalan and with that recognition he was re-elected Prime Minister) later declared that he didn’t understand why the USA turned Mr. Ocalan over to Turkey and in fact claimed it was an American conspiracy against Turkey. This has been their response when the US helped them against the PKK. Now, interestingly in the current clash Turkey is again demanding that the USA and Iraqi governments arrest the PKK leadership and send them to Turkey. Given their past response to such assistance it can only mean that Turkey is really only using the PKK difficulty to destabilize Iraq and defeat the US in Iraq.

It is well known fact that the Turkish army has not been happy with the “democratic progress” in Turkey or for improving relations with the European Union or the success of civilian government in recent years. Before the last elections the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) introduced a new threat concept to the elected civilian government—the “e-threat” [in Turkish e-Muhtira]—on their website. They couldn’t stop the early election in July 22 of this year and consequently election of President Abdullah Gul, so now they are pressing for an invasion of Iraq simply to strengthen their own political position. This is a common tactic used by many authoritarian regimes, for example, the military junta of Greece in the 1974 Cyprus provocation and in 1982 the Argentinean juntas’ Falkland Island invasion. In both cases the defeat of the military led to greater democracy and civilian rule. Perhaps, the US should let Turkey invade Iraq in order to be defeated by the Peshmarge and Iraqi Coalition Forces and thereby help Turkeys’ democratization. After all, a democratic pluralistic Turkey will be a better partner for the US and more respectful to its citizens and neighbors.

Amed Demirhan

Demirhan is University Librarian and a free lance writer on the Middle East issues. e-mail:


Amed Demirhan Biography

Amed was born in Northern Kurdistan (Turkish part of Kurdistan). He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in International Studies with a minor in Spanish, a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Southern Mississippi, and a Master of Arts Degree in Dispute Resolution from Wayne State University. His languages spoken are: Kurdish, Swedish, Turkish, Spanish and English. Since 1998, Amed has contributed to numerous newspapers and online news portals as a columnist in international affairs.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Mike, Babu, I read your comments regularly. The point of this project is not to magnify differences, but reveal why people around the world feel a certain way about the U.S. The reasons are often specific -- polls and big rhetoric can wash them away. The point is to find them, put a human face on them, and discuss them civilly.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hey Victoria,

Good point on the strong female lead! I've been trying to find part of Valley of the Wolves on line, an excerpt to share with readers here. If you come across it let me know!

I spoke to the director of the movie and we are to meet later this week. I want to meet some of the actors too...


Hi, I'll get back to you once I've done some digging & reading on your arguments and the human rights report. However, I want to point out to you one thing urgently.

I am sorry that I've only skimmed the link

which pretends to be an extension of

Please compare the make up of these sites and then come to a conclusion if this PKK site was made by official channels or not.

If you are familiar with network security you'll see that points to another webserver (albeit on the same govt. domain) whereas points to another webserver. This leads me to conclude that this is the work of either some crafty PKK hackers or some stupid individual civil servant. I think the latter is more likely. I'll be contacting website administration about this issue.

I'll get back to you on the more substantial matters.


ANIMUS- (okay, arminius) my dad was in korea, and apparently the stories of the turks were legendary.

heres a snippet fromthe end, as i know people never read links-

The Turks, armed and trained by American military advisers, did better than even they had hoped or expected in this, their first real combat since World War I. The American units to which they were attached respected their skills and tenacity in combat. Some comments by American officers give insight into the Turks and their abilities. "They really prefer to be on the offensive and handle it quite well," went one appraisal. "They are not as good at defensive positions, and certainly never retreat." Another report told of their patrol skills: "Certain Turkish patrols always reported high body counts when they returned from patrols. Headquarters always scoffed at the high numbers, much higher in fact than any other unit, until the Turks decided to bring the enemy bodies back and dump them at headquarters for the body count."

The Turks acquitted themselves in a brave and noble fashion in some of the worst conditions experienced in the Korean War. Very little else could have been required or expected of them. Their heavy casualties speak of their honor and commitment. Their bravery requires no embellishment. It stands on its own.

hi amar- well, im american- but ive watched both movies.
valley of the wolves was banned in american theatres when it came out-
i happened to watch it with some turks in turkish but with english subtitles brought back from turkey, along with quick histroy lessons, politics and such thrown in-

my favorite chaacter was the old sheikh- i wish i could remember his line-

astute comparison by the way- but a big difference between them, is the strength of the female lead (no value judgements attached) and the lack of any females in apocalypse now.

i recommend strongly americans to watch this movie-if you can find it in english.

i too am interested in turks opinions on it.

i just spent he evening at a halloween party with predominantly turkish guests.

talk about your polar opposite experiences
anyhwere you go in this world people will dance and people will fight

in regards to the post by the poser pretending to be burak now anonymous-

strangely enough- i had a conversation with a turk tonight who was tellin me about the general stupidity of orhan pamuk-
i asked, what have you read of his works?

"well, nothing" he replied.

anonymous who tried to sneakily post as the author-
we are not interested in your critique unless it is based on some remote familiarity with the book in question.

its nice to see a panelist so repsonsive and moderating his own board.
i hope you do a post about the director, if space and time allow it.

ive been asking for years where are the islamically socialized sci-fi writers.
it seems more than appropriate that one comes out of a country with feet in both the east and west.

ive also had fears of arnold schwartzenegger becoming president and forcing us fat lazy americans to do exercises in front of our television screens (ala 1984) which (the tvs)yell at us for not participating.

ok, blah blah- im boring my own self now


Tom Miller:

If we don't want to hear what the rest of the world thinks about us, then we shouldn't read these posts but it's unfair to shoot the messenger for the message. Of course, this post doesn't represent all of Turkish opinion about the U.S. but if you didn't know already, you should know that fiction like this abounds in the world and finds a hungry audience. We have to draw our own conclusions about why this is so. I don't believe that knowledge ever hurts anyone and we in the U.S. should understand that better than anyone. Free societies are based on open investigations and free thought.

In my opinion, fiction like this exists for reasons that include (1) the U.S. is number 1 in technology and the C.I.A. is considered an astute international organization that works to influence world politics. Too much credit for technology and astuteness is probably granted the C.I.A. and the U.S. but it's the perception regardless. Would you want to read a book where Norway was the conspirator? Would you believe it?(2) A book like this mirrors other conspiracy books that have already been created and sold well in the U.S. and other markets using the Russian, Chinese, or other foreign secret services. It worked in the U.S. so let's imitate and try it here. (3) When you're number 1, you get kicked, sometimes because of jealousy and sometimes because you don't want to take responsibility for your own failures so it must be the fault of the "big" guy. (4) $$$ Conspiracies always sell whether they are fictional accounts of Kennedy assassinations or the death of Diana. What sells makes authors and publishers rich. Isn't it really that simple?

Yes, I'm glad that we know that Turks find this book interesting. I bet a lot less believe the story, however, and even less make it part of their political outlook.

This was an interesting post, however, and something we should understand and discuss.


Give us your detergent (Borax) or DIE!!!!! We ain't playin' mot$%#%^%$ers!!!!

Bangalee Babu:

The world is made up of good people who understand economic greed makes people corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Years ago when young and much more fit I worked for a business and occasionally met with a senior level director to discuss work related issues.

On his desk he had something that said along these lines:

Are you here with a solution or are you part of the problem?

Mr. Bakshi is part of the problem!

Mr. Bakshi do us a favor, either become a hermit and spend your life in the search of "truth" or go live on Mars.

You are a disgrace "muck raking" your way to fame and fortune!


What I find revealing, in this conversation, is to see that many people trying so hard to reassure themselves, one way or another. There is not only fear, there is perceivable terror behind those efforts.

"What a stupid book... These guys are crazy... Don't be scared by a book... This is just fiction..."

Of course, fiction is fiction. The problem is: fiction is never "just" fiction. If it were, there would be no need to reassure oneself.

As a matter of fact, what is so troubling is that artists (precisely because they have no other "job" than to think, to imagine and to write (or perform), more particularly if they be so-called "loners"...) are the visionaries of their time. They always were, something everyone knows, no matter that it be only intuitively, or subconsciously.

What is rather disturbing, in this particular case, is that this "something wild coming from inside" seems to "appeal" so much "to the subconscious of the Turkish reader" (Yasemin Nak, spokesperson for Timas publishers -- 600,000 copies sold: more than one copy every minute, 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, during the past three years, and in Turkey alone!)

Could it be because a large majority of Turkish readers consider "Americans today are just like the crusaders who seized Jerusalem centuries ago" (Burak Turna)? Given the question comes to mind, it needs be answered!

Hence Amar's most pertinent question (at the back of everybody's mind): "Are we in for global confrontations and dirty bombs?"

"No," answers the doctor, busy "inoculating a patient against catastrophe."

Did we indeed hear the witty doctor answer "no"?

Now just wait a second! Should the answer really be "no", who needs a doctor? Then what is that catastrophe he is so busy inoculating patients against? And why are so many people passionate about what he is doing?

No, the good doctor never left Plato's Socrates that far behind.

Stephen Star:

Kurds are again in a suicide mission...Turkish economy is booming creating wealth, progress and good life. Except for these self hating people, instead of working hard and spreading the wealth to their people they become PKK terrorists.They have no excuse of being illitirate any more since Swedish scientists invented them an alphabet.

Been there done that:

Interesting topic for a book. I can't write alot because the Millenium Falcon will be here shortly to go to Alderan.....
True BT, it is fiction but the middle eastern mindset (includes most Turks) is consipratorial in nature...everything happens because of a design or hidden reason...I do understand the Turkish mindset well...actually went to the Kara Harp Akademisi in Istanbul and actually had a Yuzbasi Kurmay Subay who actually believed that the U.S. Government designed and executed the attacks on the World Trade Centers. He based this on a book he had read published by a Turkish author. is it wrong for writers to publish works of fiction that will be taken as fact? Do they have some responsibility to not write fiction so that the uneducated or simple minded/conspiratorial thinking people don't go overboard? Just a thought. I do agree with you though...people should chill is just fiction.

T. Traub:

What a stupid idea for a book. Oh right--Bush wants cheap oil. That's why the U.S. has invested about $1 trillion and climbing on "occupying" Iraq, and that's why oil is at record high prices and likely to stay that way. These partially educated people like this author need to get out in the world and complete their education. Until then such a waste of paper and now waste of electricity discussing this piece of trash are just that. The only significant idea in this whole thread is that Turkey is becoming more anti-American, particularly among the less educated fundamentalist Muslim majority. Big news, that.


Is this the best you can do? Taking completely hypothetical situations and attacking Bush about them? Granted most "liberals" will be blaming Bush for everything that does or doesn't happen anywhere on the planet for the next 10,000 years, ultimately converting him into some sort of mythological boogey man who sneaks into your hover pods late at night to steal protein pills and force you to think critically about those poor cuddly suicide bombers, but war with Turkey seems like a particular stretch. Here are some other topics for the next pre-emptive Bush Bash:

-- War with the Mars Ice Caps * Is Bush Insane Enough To Do It?

-- Atlantis Attacks! How The Bush NeoCon Hegemony Will Trigger Terror from the Deep!

-- Halley-Bopp II: The Quickening - A Cabal of Neocons Controlled By The Zionist Entity Attack Innocent Comets (alternate title: "No Blood For Ice")

-- How Bush Is A Retard For Not Realizing In 9 Months What Clinton Ignored For 8 Years: Terrorism and its Roots in Not Giving Terrorists Exactly What They Want

Back here in the real world, sane people know that the U.S. will not attack Turkey. If anything, people should be disturbed by the authors' apparent assertion that a suitcase nuke would bring America "to its knees" and somehow usher in a gigantic worldwide Peace Garden. Now THAT is stupidity at its finest. If the U.S. is surreptitiously nuked by thieves in the night, any country remotely involved will be jettisoned into space as a giant cloud of radioactive afterdeath by a hail of murderous ICBMs from the heartland. If anything, the authors are just arguing the U.S.'s case against Iran for us, despite the willful blindness of most of their readers to the same parallels.


Bakshi feels it is his duty to magnify the grievences between American and other countries. Not really certain what the point is, but that is what he is doing.

Vic van Meter:

For a perspective on creative fiction, I'd recommend we all read Fatherland by Robert Harris. It's a fictional mystery story set in Germany after it fictionally wins World War II. And it was a National Bestseller. I'm a huge fan of the book and I've reread it several times.

And so far, nobody I know who has read the book has claimed that Hitler won World War II.

Maybe the example I picked was a little overboard, but don't you all think you're taking it a little too far? It's a book, people. It doesn't claim to be accurate or prophetic. It's not Nostradamus or anything. It's just a book speaking about Western-Eastern relationships.

Besides, it's Middle-East political suicide to bomb Turkey, of all places. If America absolutely HAD to bomb somewhere in the Middle East (hypothetically for whatever reason), Turkey would be last on the list. Even behind Israel. That's right, I'll say it! If I were President, I think it would be more politically expedient to bomb Israel than Turkey.

And considering the last arms shipment we sent to Israel, we aren't bombing them anytime soon. So the Turks have nothing to worry about. They happen to be our best friends still largely considered to not be our proxy (mostly because the EU members don't like Turkey). There is absolutely no political reason to bomb Turkey and every reason to help them.

I swear, if I hear one more person flapping their gums about an American-Turkish war because some guy writes a good book about it....



You are quite correct in your analysis. America will never, never attack an ally such as Turkey. Even the demented current occupant of the White House has retained just enough brain cells to realise that.

Yet it is a difficult situation, to be sure.

But the specter of an attack on Iran still looms. May God help us all if that happens.

T Rocks:

Blow Washington up? But that would cripple our ... um ... bureaucracy ... umm ... Congress couldn't get its work done ... please ... no ... umm ... hey, you know ... come to think of it ... Well, it would still be really insulting, anyway. We would have to start calling them all turkeys.


father_of_nation (from Belrus):

> If I were President right now,
> I would warn Turkey about their raids
> and bombing of Kurdish territory.
> One waning, then, I would bomb every base
> on the border if Turkey continued.

1) 2/3 all americans transportaion to Iraq going through Turkey. If Turkey will close thier territory for USA military it will be collapse for american army because Syria, Jordan, Iran dont allow this transportation on their territories. Persian gulf transportation is very expensive and risky because of Iran territory is close.
2) If Turkey will start big war than it means that Basfor and Dardanelly will close - main transportaion path for Russian oil to Europe. Wich mean Russian will not keep silence and bigin to help Turkey. And I am sure Europe will not smile after these USA steps.
3) Russia will close thier territory for NATO military Afghanstan transporation. Wicth mean that whole Afghanistan operation will depend from one single country and very unstable country - Pakistan.
4) USA will lose strategic acces to Iran and Caucasus.

Conclusion: USA will not bomb Turkey because it is key country in region and key USA ally and friend.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Just finished watching The Valley of the Wolves. I'm hoping to meet the director soon. Though the two aren't connected directly, the movie takes off some of the success of this book to create an action film of Turkish revenge against a crazed American in Iraq setting people against one another and killing at will. To me, his character seemed an awful lot like Kurtz from Apocalypse Now. Anybody seen these two movies also? Don't want to sidetrack the discussion but for the Turkish readers on this thread I'd be interested in your thoughts on that too. I'm hoping to meet the actors/directors later.

Tomorrow, however, I have General Edip Baser coming up. He worked with U.S. General Ralton from NATO to tackle the PKK in northern Iraq.

the old ranger:

We want your borax

Mike Brooks:

Imagine all you want. If I were President right now, I would warn Turkey about their raids and bombing of Kurdish territory. One waning, then, I would bomb every base on the border if Turkey continued.

I am sitting here, wondering who Turkey thinks it is fooling with the current agressive acts. There are at most 2,000 PKK fighters in the mountains. The Iraqi Kurds sent troops up last summer to dislodge them and hundreds of them died. Now, using those few PKK gurrilla's as an excuse, Turkey has amassed 150,000 troops, tanks (not much good in the mountains!), aircraft, artilliary, and armored vehicles, all poised for an invasion of Iraq. Only a blind fool doesn't understand that Turkey means to do to the Kurds what they did to the Armenians and other before them, and grab the Northern oil fields. Turkey is bent on territorial expansion and genocide and needs to be stopped, whatever it takes!


Anybody want to know some history about the quality of Turkish soldiers? Check out this link about the Turkish brigade in the Korean war. They are formidable!

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

Well, Paul Erdman had written "Crash of 1979". 1979 had been the year of the Iranain Revolution.That book was also some sort of best-seller.

Was Burak Turna inspired by Paul Erdman?


> Compared to the US, Russia is too weak to fight us.

1900 Russian warheads - is too weak to destroy USA? Man, you need to have a rest, and less read books like this and watch Hollywood films. 80 percent of USA population lives on 13 percent of USA territory. There are only 33 cities that have more than 500 000 population. You know what does it mean SS-18 Satan? It is missiles with 10 warheads 0.8 Megatons each. Hirosima bomb was 20 Kilotons. Witch mean one Satan missile ~ 400 Hirosimas. Russia have 150 Satans missiles. 130 Stileto missiles, 200 Topol missiles and 45 Topol-M missiles, missiles on ships and submarines and air-crafts. Last 15 years Russia reduced nuclear arsenal in 8-10 times but Russia still can destroy North America continent but not only USA.



I forgot to mention poor Armenians. They have no chance either.


In last several years public surveys shows Turkey is holding championship of anti-Americanism more than any Middle Eastern countries. Despite all US support and donation to them because of the racist and xenophobic nature of the Turkish regime. The kemalist racist regime in Turkey is not just hating America but they are the enemey of the humanity.


I've been watching South Park lately, and our imaginations really do seem to have been attacked by terror.


What a stupid book.

I doubt the EU, of all things, would dare raise a military finger against the US. You can't even put the words military and EU in the same sentence, who would think they would have any influence in a war. Compared to the US, Russia is too weak to fight us, even if DC was destroyed.
Any nuclear weapons action against the US would definetly warrant a strong response, lets just say ALL of Turkey's cities would be destroyed. Now tell me who wins.

These guys are crazy, do they honestly think all of this will come true and the invasion of ONE country somehow poses a threat to the 200 or so others. Its obvious they are out of their minds and are just a bunch of conspiracy theorists.

[This post originally claimed to be by the author, Burak Turna. However, it is not. Therefore, the name has been changed to anonymous, and the post made by Burak has been authenticated by Amar.]

father_of_nation (from Belrus):

It is interesting to see what happening between USA and Turkey. Many centuries Russia was biggest problems for Turkey. We had 12 wars against Turkey. And last wars Russia won. USA was Turkish allies ... according nature, geography. But now ... when Russia keep silence about Turks invasion into Iraq. When Russia have treaty with Turkey that denied NATO ships to go to Black Sea, when Russia makes oil-pipeline through Turkey, when Russians one of most biggest turrists strems in Turkey, when turks military condering to sell Russian anti-aircraft systems ... Turkey dont afraid Russia any more. Turkey dont need USA ally relation like it was during last century. Just brilliant, it is just perfect.


Turkey may not be perfect- but it is a secular democracy (and I hate to be judgemental, but maybe that does make it admirable, especially in its neighborhood)...where , guess what, people have the freedom to write wacked out fiction...what can I say, everyone loves a good conspiracy theory...


Turkey has no oil. Bush is interested in occupying only countries that do. So Turkey gets a pass. The absolutely most stupid thing imaginable would be for the U.S. to invade and occupy Iraq. Bombing Iran would be even more unimaginably stupid. But it looks like Bush has 53% percent of stupid American goobers all for it. So we can count on the unimaginable happening from here on out. Kenneth Pollack, uber-interventionist, Israel's apologist and Democratic neoconservative, is Hillary Clinton's adviser. Podhoretz is actually advising Giulinani to bomb Iran as soon as logistically possible. We have raving maniacs determining the nation's fate in both political camps. And a limp, battered Democratic majority in Congress that doesn't know its own strength and speaks with timid little voices afraid of a president with a 24% approval rating.

James David:

turkey is not better Iran, Syria or Saddam. The only difference is for some reasons the US is not talking about it.


Take it easy guys... We are having fun here. Dont be scared by a book. What is written is just a fiction.

listen to my politically oriented songs...


[This entry is by Burak Turna. He emailed me to authenticate. - Amar]

mike s:

Although I did expect to see one, I didn't expect a knee-jerk, jingoistic, out-of-touch-with-reality post to be the very first on this thread.

I hope the book gets translated (assuming it's in Turkish) and distributed in the US. I'd read it for kicks and to see an alternative world view, though not for the self-aggrandizing reasons put forth by the author.


It took me 4 hours to finish this book. It is fun to read but has many stupid things in it too. But basicly it is the first time Turks show themselves loosing a war. (in the story EU and RUSSIA saves the turks not that small nuke bomb.)


for those who cannot discern fiction from reality, there will be no hope and they will follw where they're led

i think most people now are familiar with this clip
reel bad arabs


so this one book is supposed to demonstrate how an entire country sees america? i'm not sure i'd call one interview "reporting". i was just in istanbul last week and witnessed starkly different views concerning america.


Very rational and constructive input, "Bomb Squad"

The book is a Fiction as Amar points out and the intent is to sell the book. It does not depict the entire country's opinion.

I ask you, "Bomb Squad", hasn't any American/Western author written about Turks/Arabs/Middle Easterners in bad light? Plenty of movies have been made defaming the region.

"Poor US! Someone has written something bad about us. Now we must bomb EVERYONE!" You need to chill out and take the book for what it is...fiction.

Vic van Meter:

Let's not freak out. Ever read Robert Harris? There's interesting literature out there.

Truth be told, war with Turkey would be absolutely the most ridiculous and stupid thing America could ever do (not that I necessarily put it PAST Bush, but still). They're an island of political usefulness in a sea of people who really do want to kill us.

Failing that, the book doesn't exactly make rational claims. The United States isn't run specifically out of D.C. anymore and the Constitution itself sets out a long chain of successors to the Presidency. And let me tell you, if you read the names on that list, you'd know why Bush hasn't been assassinated yet. If America and Turkey went to war, it'd be a similar situation to Iraq. Turkey would be decimated and America would be to blame for it. And this time, we'd be shooting ourselves in the foot.

Take heart, Turkish citizens! Bush has elected Iran to be demonized, so you've got little to fear from our administration. He's more preoccupied with Iran than with the PKK situation we should be monitoring.

Bomb Squad:

Great piece, Amar!
Expose those "reliable allies" and show their true colours. This is exemplary of how regular people in "allied" nations of USA in the Middle East think. people in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Pakistan probably feel the same way.

Your exposure makes it easier to bomb and divide their country, .........and bomb Mexico for letting in their agents! Does this also mock U.S. immigration?

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