how the world sees america

Turkish General Edip Baser: America Must Fight PKK

Note: Please upgrade your Flash plug-in to view our enhanced content.

ISTANBUL - Retired four-star Turkish General Edip Baser left his joint post as Special Envoy for Counterterrorism in May 2007, frustrated with America for professional reasons: he says the United States "tied Turkey's hands," leaving it more exposed to PKK terrorism. But now this frustration has turned personal.

His twenty-six-year-old son, Sukru, is about to enter Turkey's mandatory fifteen months of military service. Sukru wants to join Turkey's Special Forces in the southeast to help them fight the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

General Baser knows the danger his son would face; he used to command Turkey's military across all of Turkey's southern border, and says Sukru and his fellow soldiers deserve all the help they can get. He wants America to step up, but after his experience as Special Envoy, he isn't hopeful.

Baser has become a visible critic of America's role combating the PKK. Though he worked well with his American counterpart, General Joseph Ralston, Baser left his post as Special Envoy abruptly after criticizing U.S. involvement in an interview with a Turkish paper. (He says the reasons for his leaving the post are private; newspapers here reported his resignation was due to statements he made about the ruling party, AKP). Regardless, his retirement made big news here, and brought the issue of U.S. support for Turkey to the fore yet again. A number of Baser's military colleagues, who have been strong proponents of the U.S. over the years, have begun publicly voicing their disenchantment with recent actions..

Baser grew up on the Turkish-Syrian border in the town of Nizip. He was so entranced by the national air force – their bright blue uniforms and "their dignity" – that he elected to enter a military high school, which he says was "like a regular one except with more discipline." There he fell in love with World War II stories and the heroism of fighters like the Americans.

Ralston-Baser.jpg
Generals Ralston and Baser.

Baser met his first U.S. soldier in South Korea in 1965. After flying in a U.S. C-141 through Alaska, he ended up stationed on the border of Korea's Demilitarized Zone. "Americans were so well-trained, well-educated and disciplined," he remembers. "I was proud to be serving there. In Kuluri we lost 470 soldiers just to protect American soldiers drawing back from a Chinese attack. This is what friendship is."

Baser is a patriot with a collection of Ataturk portraits in his office, and an extensive knowledge of Turkey’s foreign military policies over the years. He interprets it all through a strong military lens, and his loyalty to Turkey is unwavering. So it is with particular emotion that he recounts, in rapid succession, the slights that Turkey has “suffered from our American friends."

He remembers his doubts stirring when the U.S. sacrificed Turkish security during the Cuban Missile Crisis by "bargaining away" Turkey's deterrent missiles. Then he says America used its arms trade to hold Turkey back in Cyprus when the Greek EOKA attacked. Turkey intervened anyway and the U.S. imposed the 1974 arms embargo. And in the 1990s, Baser claims the U.S. was too slow to intervene in Kosovo. Baser didn't get caught up on any one event over the years, he says, but as he reflects on his career now, he is "heartbroken."

The Second Iraq War brought it all to a head. When the U.S. invaded Iraq, they "took responsibility for the north, too." But PKK picked up in 2004. As a former military commander of the southern border of Turkey, Baser wanted men on the ground, patrolling the rugged hills. When neither U.S. nor northern Iraqi forces could control the area, "We were ready to do it,” Baser says. “But America told us to keep out." And so sentiment toward the U.S. soured “with each new PKK attack,” Baser says - his own views included.

When the Turkish Prime Minister asked Baser to serve as Special Envoy to Counterterrorism, working directly with General Ralston to coordinate actions against the PKK, Baser saw it as a chance for collaboration that could bring real results. He accepted despite fierce criticism from all sides.

But nine months later, he says no progress had occurred. "Washington said all the right things, [but] they did nothing. America only cares about its own terrorists."

But why would the U.S. support a relatively small band of Kurdish rebels over a whole state, I ask?

He doesn't know, he says, but he has his speculations. "The United States is a superpower with long-term plans for Iraq and for the Middle East. People's minds - and my mind - are so mixed up here in Turkey about U.S. intentions here."

"Ms. Rice said once that some of these boundaries will change in the Middle East. What did she mean by that? I have so many questions about the intentions of the United States." He says that all he knows right now is: "This is not an even friendship."

Join Monthly Mailing List | Del.icio.us | Digg | Facebook

Comments (67)

Chris in San Antonio:

Victoria-

Whatever label the media, or anyone else decides to put on the PKK, thier actions are reprehensible. What's more unfortunate is the fact that their cause appears to be a just one, at least based on the (admittedly little) information I have seen regarding it. The PKK needs to understand that they are doing the worst of disservices to their cause by lashing out at their oppressors. In America's civil rights movement, sects of African Americans that were bitter about their mistreatment resorted to violence. Unfortunately, this violence only perpetuated whites' racist views towrds blacks. The PKK needs to do its self a favor, and stop their violence. Doing so will secure for them the most important ground in a battle of ideals: public opinion.

Chris in San Antonio:

@ Ali Saygin
"What strategy are we talking about? Is it 100 casualties daily in Bagdad or skirmishes in the Lebanese borders?"

I'm not sure if you're aware of this, as I'm not sure what media outlets you follow, but the "100 casualties per day" you mention are not Americans lining Iraqis up in the streets to shoot them for trying to gain their freedom. The vast majority of casualties are caused by massive terrorist attacks by outside entities in an ettempt to goad Iraqi Sunni and Shia into civil war. The violence and tension that results from this manipulation accounts for most of the balance. Most recently, the Iraqi people have begun to realize the nature of this manipulation, and have been turning on their foreign agitators. The result has been a dramatic drop in casualties every month for the past three months.
As for Lebanon, there will never be peace until Israel's neigbors stop vowing to shove Israel into the Mediterranean. In a conflict where one side says, "I swear to kill you", there's not a whole lot of room to do anything but keep them from doing it by all means possible. If that includes securing buffer zones to protect territory, and raids against attacking forces, then it's an unfortunate result of the fact that The Israelis just aren't going to cooperate with the Arab's world's demand for them to die. Perhaps the Arab world should instead find an alternative to "Death to Israel", like perhaps a sincere "It's ok for Israel to live", accompanied by genuine and sustained efforts to stop people from murdering them. I'm no political scientist - just some dumb American - but I think that just might work towards Israel giving back the land it took and normalizing relations.

"He writes "America has also the responsibility to continue protecting the diversified oppressed religious and ethnic minority groups, especially in Turkey. America should encourage Turkey to comply by its human rights obligations, recognize, respect the rights of others and grant its 25 million Kurds their most fundamental and inherent rights."
Who gives US the rights? If the independent people of Iraq give such rights, why don't we know such a thing?...
...Barzani clans and his friends should look up to their responsibilities and roles in the region. It is not up to them to call US in arms to rule the neighborhood. Do they want an imperial power to operate in their own kitchen forever? Sooner or later they have to deal the task themselves. Think a little long run."

You are correct here, and I agree fully. The Iraqi people need to work with the Turks to resolve the issues causing violence, and they will. What America CAN do, however, is provide a unique and useful perspective in solving the problem of civil rights for Kurds. We in America have only just turned the corner on civil rights for African Americans these last few decades. We can help the Kurds by showing them examples of our most successful civil rights advocates, such as Rev. Martin Luther King Jr, and give them a framework by which to effectively exact the civil rights they desire, while convincing the people of Turkey that they deserve them.
"After all they are the invading enemy, weren't they looking after their own interest. Could you show me Al Qaida or nuclear bombs they claimed for the reasons of the war? None such."

This particular assertion warrants a seperate discussion. Many feel that George W. Bush intentionally lied about WMD's in Iraq so that he could invade Iraq and steal its oil. Unfortunately, this assertion fails to pass very simple logical examinations of the events that occured. I submit, for your approval, a short evaluation of the events that occured, as well as logical alternatives to the assumption that the United States is an imperialist invasion force.
If you conclude that President Bush intentionally lied about WMD programs in Iraq, it is a logical necessity to also believe that the collective governments of the entire free world also intentionally lied about them. The world intelligence community believed with little doubt that Saddam Hussein was continuing to pursue nuclear weapons programs. The primary reason for this was the intelligence community's reliance on tips from Iraqi expatriates that claimed just that. Additional factors included Saddam Hussein's perpetual manipulation and agitation of the UN weapons inspection programs designed to confirm his innocense.
These factors combined to lead the world to believe that Saddam did indeed have weapons that he wished to hide. Given our president's obligation to protect the American people, I hope that the reasonable people of the world can sympathize with his decision to eliminate that perceived threat after the horrors of 9/11.
In addition, The United States is currently not "stealing" any of Iraq's oil, despite the opportunity. Iraq is selling its own oil, and using that money towards its reconstruction. I'm not even sure it's the US that's buying it from them. Regardless, the buyers are paying market prices, so I don't really feel that reasonable people can assert that President Bush is after Iraq's oil. If the President wanted to pay market prices for Iraq's oil that badly, it would have cost far less money, and cost fewer lives, to simply encourage the UN to lift restrictions on Saddam Hussein's oil exportation. I'll not accuse Dubya of being a genius, but nobody can beleive he's stupid enough to commit political and diplomatic suicide just to kill Saddam Hussein.
No, my friends. I submit that President Bush is sincere in his will to spread democracy and freedom in the Middle East by getting rid of the first and worst brutal dictator he had good reason to kill. He's certainly no Einstein when it comes to peacekeeping in a complex and volitile political environment, but the guys that ARE good at that were too busy booing from the sidelines, hoping Bush's "imperialistic invasion" fell on its ass so that they could say, "I told you so", and pin the horns on the superpower, so we just had to do the best we could.

Back to your other statements:

"BTW, Talking at kurdish rights is nonsense. Today in Istanbul, there are more Kurds than in any metropolitan. Many of them are poor workers, but a considerable of them are wealthy merchants, businessmen, politicians, statesman etc. Ask them what the Kurdish rights mean. Today in Turkey, a Kurd can be anything he wants, but the backward clans like pseudo-Barzani's don't send their kids to school properly, so they end up in poverty. That is the real problem. Locals need to take every action to solve their miserable economical problem in this part of the world. After all this is a liberal economy, just like in the US."

I have never been to Turkey. I am, as most Americans are, woefully ignorant of the political landscape there. As such, it would perhaps be imprudent of me to assert an opinion about the actual status of Kurdish civil rights. Therefore, I respectfully qualify the observation I'm about to make by establishing that I am uncertain of its validity. Only an honest evaluation on your part will validate it for your particular situation:

In the US, in the 1960's, African Americans enjoyed many of the same freedoms you mention for Kurds. There were black shopkeepers, politicians, even scientists. However, at the same time, African Americans were, either through official laws, or through intimidation by the populace, widely denied the right to vote, to own land, to marry outside their race, or even to use the same bathroom as a white person. Despite the existence of a smattering of standout African Americans that found success in this America, the sad truth was that equality was universally denied to blacks. Powerful white people, in an attempt to deny this oppression, used speech that is eerily similar to the statement above that you make regarding the Kurds, right down to blaming them for their own poverty.
The reality of the Black America at the time was that is was not ignorance or backward thinking that caused Blacks disillusionment and bitterness towards their oppressors, but the frustration and "dark clouds of inferiority", to quote a famous civil rights activist of the time, that led to their bitterness and isolation from the mainstream in America. This resentment and isolation, along with the violence it bred, in turn prepetuated whites racist attitudes toward the black community.
In the end, it was a movement of peaceful protest in the face of oppression that truly showed the white majority in America that African Americans were people to be treated equally. If my observations are correct, and the situations do mirror each other as much as I believe they may, it is my hope that this will happen for the Kurdish people as well. The result will be a very happy one for all the peoples of Turkey. It certainly has been for America.

spidon:

@ Victoria, November 12, 2007 1:39 AM

Since you like statistics, and an objective approach, would you like to comment on the overwhelming amount of human rights violations by Turkey toward her minorities, including but not limited to the Kurdish people, thereby presenting a problem that can only be solved by a form of civil disobedience; say like the PKK?

Please respond to my question since the topic of this discussion is about this very same thing.

Please see the HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH ON TURKEY for the relevant information:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

I have asked you to address this issue in the past but you have not. I think we all want an answer to this question.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

victoria:

im not familiar with the poet, so i looked him up and found this quote-

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
"“If one had but a single glance to give the world, one should gaze on Istanbul.”
Alphonse de Lamartine quotes
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

interestng comment from a french poet, no?


you are certainly right h r soran about that

here in america , the PKK has been called terrorists ocnsistently-

after the democratic debacle with the armenian genocide, and turkeys reaction-

the word was softened to rebel-

any red white and blue-blooded american will feel a kinship to a 'rebel', after all- our founding fathers were rebels.

the next step, as you've indicated, is the play on words american troops have used-

theyre not soldiers, they're liberators

PKK isnt committing murder, they're freedom fighters- or if you really want to get the crusader mentality in full swing and bringreligion in-

salvation fighters will surely get the evengalicals and neocons running the US government on their side.

to be honest- im not so concerned with how poets or journalists demonize or angelicize

its the actions that matter- not who calls them what when

rebels are the ones fighting established authroity
since in this case, turkey is the eastablished authority, i dont think id call them rebels.

call them what you want

i admit to using some dramtic license when i want myself-

but i find it distracting and unprofessional when journalists or historians (or any whose narration were looking to for impartiality)

even when it supports my own particular biases

i dont want my emotions massaged or my passions diffused with pretty words-

thats why i like statistics
peace

H.S. Soran:

Certain political language sabotage makers or better to say , some linguistically orientated politicians , commentators , reporters , news agencies etc , not only divert and transform the course of actual news , issues , sentences , phrases , words or even, the political terminology ; but even by intention and mischievously , misinterpret and misuse them , in order to justify their malignant attitudes and malicious goals .

To provide an typical and vivid example : Some of them surprisingly introduce gentle butterflies in shape of vicious crocodiles and innocent lambs as wild Alpine wolves . About which , the great poets and leading intellectuals of our global society , have composed efficient paradigms and metaphorical verses . For instance , I point out to a superb and eloquent poem of Alfonse De La Martine , the French scrutinizer poet , called : (Wolf And Lamb ) !!! In which , he quite symbolically explains , that when a wolf decides to slaughter a lamb, the beast expresses many false thing , to justify its criminal act ; ultimately it kills the lamb and eats it .

Nowadays , this terminological distortion , is concentrating on Kurds , which are approximately the biggest populous stateless nation of the world , and are forcefully divided between many countries ; thus deprived from most primary human rights , freedom and political integrity .

Unfortunately , some world media , political gangsters called statesmen/women , and so on , unjustifiably use the denomination of KURDISH REBELS , which means the Kurds , who are making rebellion , i e. are anarchists , make terror or malicious agitation !!! . This word is unmercifully used , as the Kurdish activists , who are almost struggling peacefully , must be called KURDISH SALVATION ARMY , not REBELS . As they are confining their efforts to get freedom , peaceful coexistence and human rights for 50 million of their Kurd compatriots .

Real rebels are those , who have occupied Kurdish land , forbidden their language , humiliated their culture , executed their compatriots , jailed their peaceful activists , confiscated their property , deported them from their traditional land , transformed them to contemporary Diaspora , bombarded them chemically more fatal than Hiroshima ( for example Halaja ) , carried out heterogeneous annihilations on them , including 10 kinds of ( -cides ) , such as genocide . Above mentioned bodies are official rebels . Kurds are real and innocent liberators .

PS : To cure such pathological phenomenon , instead of present false name of UN , an humanitarian organization shall be established , to treat the pains and injuries of the nations ( people) , not to side the governments , which are mostly illegitimate and unlawful .

spidon:

@ parlaksari November 9, 2007 2:15 PM

You may be surprised to discover that it is you and your government who support the PKK. Without the illiterate position you maintain, there would be no need for the PKK to exist.

We have all seen Turkish democracy in action. See Article 301 for a definition. This is a great place to start. Later, if you still do not get it, and want to read some more, there is always the HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH reports on Turkey:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

Just copy/paste the line above into your browser and see the Turkish democracy in practise.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

parlaksari:

to spidon,

If you are supporting PKK, the terrorists, then you are not eligible to measure my knowledge about democracy.

spidon:

@ Parlaksari November 7, 2007 2:51 PM

It would appear that you do not see the relationship between democracy, human dignity, tolerance and the functional state, where a group like the PKK would have no reason to exist.

I ask you to consider why Turkey is having the problems it now has. You may discover that subjecting people so such indignity as has been shown toward all of Turkey's minorities and special interest groups, is not the best way of preventing these people from wanting autonomy.

I believe that Turkey will fall apart if it continues being so blatantly ignorant on the matter of respect. This is not something I am actually condoning, it is a necessity based on the reality of the situation.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

Parlaksari:

Spiridon, don't fool anyone please. You explicitly reveal your self. You are supporting the PKK terrorists and this means that you are supporting a group which is highly effective as drug dealer and also known as a killer.

The people that you are supporting killed thousands of innocent people in Turkey. These murderers were not the Kurds, not the Kurdish originated Turks; The murderers were the group which is named as PKK.

Turks are not accusing anyone, actually they do not started to talk yet.

It is surprising that first Armenians then PKK terrorists started to denigrate Turkey. Is this is a coincidence; or a situation is created by others which aims to implement this idea 'Turkey is accusing everyone, and they caused everything by themselves since this is what makes them happy.'


Sorry spiridon, but the people who have the same aims as you have, would never be successful with these tactics.

Your animosity can only daMage the future of the world and thats what you can gain only.

parlaksari:

Turkey is not against to Kurds, this is not the reality. There are many Turks that are Kurdish origined in Turkey. They are Turks, they are Turkish citizens.

The problem is the terrorists, that uses Kurdish name. They are trying to generate a separation between the Turks as Kurds and Turks.

Everyone should know this before evaluating this issue what ever religion or race people are coming from, it does not matter, if they are leaving in the border of Turkey and holding a Turkish ID, then they are Turk. There is no difference between any of them. All the Turks equally deserve the same rights and in the reality they are obtaining the same rights.

Who try to create an image that there is discrimination in Turkey, be sure that real Kurdish originated Turks and all the other Turks are standing against the PKK terrorists hand by hand. These people are the insurance of the Turkish Republic.

PKK, all you do is reminding this reality again and again with your ferocity that makes all the Turks suffer.

SPIDON:

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:

hrw.org/doc?t=europe&c=turkey

****

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

SPIDON:

And here, in the predictable post by none other than the Turkish propagandist, Victoria, we have what appears to be deflection of blame. Isn't it so typical that this is the only message coming out of Turkey?

We have had enough of Turkey blaming everyone else. It is time for this friendless country to grow up and live happily with the rest of us.

Victoria, we can all read and in so doing we can make up our own minds whether JUSTWATCHING has a grasp of the topic you seem to be having lots of trouble with.

I believe the responsibility rests upon you Victoria to process information you are so clearly against accepting.

Spiridon
Montreal Canada

VICTORIA:

your inability to process information is not my responsibility

figure it out for yourself

JustWatching:

Dear Victoria,

Please be kind enough to read my post again. I presume you are familiar with read and write, do you? I fail to notice the contradictions you claim, are you sure you can?

That Europe is opened minded frankly my dear I believe I do not have to make a point on that. Is Turkey so? Please allow me to doubt this. Feel free to keep your position, but just let me stick in mine 's . That I am afraid is what most Turkish people cannot do, whatever their beliefs may be.

I would be more than just happy to argue with anyone, had he/she been kind enough to provide me with some argument. Please forgive me but I fail to see any in yours.

The happiest day of my life will be the one that Turkey joins the EU. Sadly this day seems to be far away. Still I hope to live and see this.

By the way, are you on the Turkish government payroll? You know these days some people are.

cheers sweetie


Baqi Barzani:

Israel training the Kurds? Most Arab and Muslim countries retain direct or indirect diplomatic relations with the state of Israel. The first one is Turkey. Nothing is wrong with that, We, the Kurds also seek friendly relations with Arabs, Turks, Persians, West, US and the entire world including Israel. Israel has always supported the oppressed and deprived nations of the world. And part of is because she was a victim herself. Having experienced the horrifying ear of Holocaust, they understand and sympathize with Kurds. We are peace-loving people and prefer peace, not war. In contrast to the Turks.

VICTORIA:

JSUTWATCHING-
i cant help but notice the cotnradictions in your post-

first you say turkey didnt jump through enough hoops to satify the EU- (even though theyve been waiting for 40 years, watching many other countries apply later and be accepted quickly)
it wouldnt happen to have anything to do with turkey being the only muslim country would it?


and then you imply they never had a chance anyway- europe made its mind up hundreds of years ago.

are you also stating that europe never interfered in turkey and has been a good neighbor?

it would seem to follow if your allegations were morally reasonable.
but they seem lke childish gloating to me, solving nothing, and adding oxygen to a fire where there should be water

JustWatching:

Dear Hasan Can from Turkey.

Oh my dear! Turkey having ever fulfilled the Copenhagen criteria... I can still take an amusement by remembering how our good Mr Erdogan -the Turkish prime minister- was left in the cold of some northern European capital while awaiting and hoping for an admittance which never really came out.
Turkey did and still does not fulfill Copenhagen. However Turkey was accepted in what is expected to be a rather prolonged admittance procedure, in the hope that in the future, they will make the necessary steps to meet these fundamental criteria, that is to qualify for the EU. For sadly currently you simply do not.
It is my understanding that many Turkish nationalists are driven to despise the EU and their working principles. What these people seem to expect is that Europe will embrace Turkey so that European money will be transfered to some local pockets and that 's all.
Please forgive me Hasan, but I strongly believe these people are wrong. To me, it is of grave importance for the average Turk to understand that all EU expects from Turkey is to advance into a European nation state, not in geographical terms, but in real political, economical and social practices.
In short we expect from you to get rid of your notorious "Deep State", which forms your political and financial underworld, enrich your democracy with institutions that safeguard the fundamental human and political rights for everyone, independent of his/hers religion, ethnicity or political beliefs. Strengthening your fragile economy is another important issue. And last but not least you should have to stop bullying your neighbors as you systematically do ever since the creation of the contemporary Turkish State. Just provide me with a neighboring country Turkey is in good terms with, if you can. It certainly cannot be Bulgaria, of course neither Greece, Cyprus is ruled out, forget about Syria, you seem to get increasingly unpopular in Iraq/Kurdistan, while for some reason clearly they hate you in Armenia.

In short we expect you to become Europe, for Turkey's hopes of Europe becoming Turkey were ruined at the outskirts of Vienna just a few centuries ago.
Do this and you will be most welcomed. After all this will be for your own benefit. As of us, we can take care of it.


kind regards from Europe


Tom Miller:

Thanks to all of you who provided the links to information about the Israeli training of PJAK. I did find the reference through the Seymour Hersh link. It's really a sidebar to the discussion here and just one of the many ingredients in the Mid-East turmoil I think. Iran creates Hezbollah to work with Syria to contol Lebanon and harass Israel and Israel trains PJAK to harass Iran. Just another in what seems like an endless stream of tit-for-tat in the Mid-East.

a sily mind:

Even my English is not sufficient to converse, I noticed that the Kurdish Fascist are more full of hate than the Turkish ones. The comments here will not solve the problem, if they accuse each other for the events in near past forever. I recommend for the both: either be smart or fight like a man and die like a man. Then, don´t hide yourself behind the human right, rightless folk ect. as a false hero.

VICTORIA:

O, AND THANKS TO BERRY, FOR PROVIDING THIS LINK

VICTORIA:


the conversation seems to have gotten sidelined
i believe the current topic is the PKK,
terroristic attacks on turks- their rigt to defend themself, kurdish rights and the validity of their use of force to attain their goals.

the israeli support and training of kurds in the hopes of establishing and extending their own bases in this area

but- the united states has betrayed turkey-
it has also betrayed the kurds (regarding sadaam's massacre of them)

ill let the article speak for itself-
these are some snippets because i thought it was such an exceelent (and prescient) asessment)

SEYMOUR HERSCH OF THE NEW YORKER

Israel has been training Kurdish commando units to operate in the same manner and with the same effectiveness as Israel’s most secretive commando units, the Mistaravim.
However, a senior C.I.A. official acknowledged in an interview last week that the Israelis were indeed operating in Kurdistan. He told me that the Israelis felt that they had little choice: “They think they have to be there.” Asked whether the Israelis had sought approval from Washington, the official laughed and said, “Do you know anybody who can tell the Israelis what to do? They’re always going to do what is in their best interest.” The C.I.A. official added that the Israeli presence was widely known in the American intelligence community."


http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/06/28/040628fa_fact?currentPage=1

Israeli involvement in Kurdistan is not new. Throughout the nineteen-sixties and seventies, Israel actively supported a Kurdish rebellion against Iraq, as part of its strategic policy of seeking alliances with non-Arabs in the Middle East. In 1975, the Kurds were betrayed by the United States, when Washington went along with a decision by the Shah of Iran to stop supporting Kurdish aspirations for autonomy in Iraq.

There are fears that the Kurds will move to seize the city of Kirkuk, together with the substantial oil reserves in the surrounding region... the Kurds consider Kirkuk and its oil part of their historic homeland. “If Kirkuk is threatened by the Kurds, the Sunni insurgents will move in there, along with the Turkomen, and there will be a bloodbath,” an American military expert who is studying Iraq told me. “And, even if the Kurds do take Kirkuk, they can’t transport the oil out of the country, since all of the pipelines run through the Sunni-Arab heartland.”

. “It would be a new Israel—a pariah state in the middle of hostile nations.”

“Israel’s immediate goal after June 30th(2004)is to build up the Kurdish commando units to balance the Shiite militias—especially those which would be hostile to the kind of order in southern Iraq that Israel would like to see,”... The Kurdish armed forces, known as the peshmerga, number an estimated seventy-five thousand troops, a total that far EXCEEDS the known Sunni and Shiite militias.

“But the growing Kurdish-Israeli relationship began upsetting the Turks no end. Their issue is that the very same Kurdish commandos trained for Iraq could infiltrate and attack in Turkey.”

‘What will the behavior of Iran be if there is an independent Kurdistan with close ties to Israel?’ Iran does not want an Israeli land-based aircraft carrier”—that is, a military stronghold—“on its border.”


If Iraq is divided, America cannot explain this to the world.” The official compared the situation to the breakup of Yugoslavia, but added, “In the Balkans, you did not have oil.” He said, “The lesson of Yugoslavia is that when you give one country independence everybody will want it.” If that happens, he said, “Kirkuk will be the Sarajevo of Iraq. If something happens there, it will be impossible to contain the crisis.”

(insertion mine)
, Gul (THEN A FOREIGN MINISTER, NOW PRESIDENT) described Israeli activities, and the possibility of an independent Kurdistan, as “presenting us with a choice that is not a real choice—between survival and alliance.”

THIS WAS WRITTEN IN 2004

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

To Garak:

You went back to 3000 years to kick Turks out Anatolia? OK. Lets say we went back to Central Asia according to plan. So you leave USA or Canada right now, ressurrect 100.000s Indians that had been genocided and palce them back to their lands.

This is your plan? You are a genious indeed. :D

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

to JUSTWATCHING.

During your imaginary fairytale, EU come to conclusion that Turkey fullfills the Kopenhagen Criteria (human rights, minority rights etc...) and take Turkey as a candidate member of EU and joined Turkey into EU CUSTOMS UNION.

So Mr/Mrs JUSTWATCHING, once again Europe is totaly wrong and your imaginary evil empire exists? :) Wake up NEO!

JRLR:

Two observations, two questions:

1. It seems to have become customary (or fashionable?) for a great many people to see Nazism and the shadow of Hitler everywhere: Castro, Chavez, Saddam Hussein, Ahmadinejad, Hezbollah and Hamas leaders, Turkish leaders, etc. (Hitler!); Cuba, Venezuela, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon, Palestine, Turkey, etc. (Nazism!).

2. It has become no less trendy to not only imagine but advocate as well the partition of any country, be it Palestine, Iraq, Pakistan, Turkey, etc.

Is this a new epidemic spread by people who never had a clue what Nazism and Hitler were really about?

Or is it rather, more simply, the same person (an unemployed "diplomat"?) projecting repeatedly his/her obsessions around indiscriminately, only under different names?

Garak:

Baser gives us the usual Turkish propaganda on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. That area was part of Armenia until Stalin put it in Azerbaijan as part of his strategy of separating ethnic groups to maintain Soviet control. In other words, the old "divide an conquer" routine. The NK Armenians wanted self-determination and acted in self-defense with the Azeris attacked. And the Azeris are ethnic Turks, so this brought back memories of the Armenian Holocaust committed by the Young Turks, the direct predecessor's of today's regime in Ankara. Baser is simply upset that the Armenians dared to fight back and win. The very idea of Armenians beating Turks must make his blood boil. Too bad.

Removing Azeris from the houses and forcing them off their land? Gimmee a break! This is exactly how modern Turkey was formed. Start with Armenian Holocaust, move to the ethnic cleansing of Greeks from their homelands of 3000 years on Aegean and Black Sea coasts of Turkey, and you arrive at modern Turkey. Baser is really saying ethnic cleansing is OK for Turkey, bad for anyone else.

As for Cyprus, who stood back and let Turkey invade and conquer Cyprus? NATO, the West, and the US. We could have forced Turkey out, but did not. Turkey owes the existence of its fraudulent Cypriot colony to the US. The Cypriots wanted union with Greece, and any election on Cyprus would have resulted in a clear majority vote in favor of union. Turkey prevented any such vote. And Baser has the gall to talk about human rights? Pathetic.

As I understand it, "Metal Storm" envisions the US partitioning Turkey between the Greeks and the Armenians. Sounds like a great idea to me!

Justwatching:

I can see a flood of Turkish nationalism here. This is the good Turks and the bad Kurds, Greeks, Israelis, Americans and whoever else.
I almost forgot that ethnic Kurds Turkish citizens were denied even to speak their own language. This of course was not taught at schools even in solid Kurdish regions. And large parts of the population had to leave their villages and watch their properties been confiscated without compensation, in order to be forcefully resettled in areas where they could be easily monitored. Thousands of people were arrested and kept imprisoned without charges inside the luxurious Turkish prison system of the midnight express fame. Most have been tortured while an unknown number died in the hands of the Authorities. Of course later official investigations were to prove the authorities were not to be blamed...
Turkification is a form of ethnic cleansing. But what could someone expect from a state which still refuses to accept a number of genocides their ancestors committed about a century ago and reconcile with the children of their victims.
The current Turkish administration and a few local businessmen are desperately trying to bring Turkey into the European Union framework. This appears an oxymoron since -with the exception of a few developed areas- sadly Turkey remains a medieval state run by an oligarchy such as the Army, the organized crime –mainly drug traffickers, really nice people-, and a few business tycoons who defy everything which undermines their powers, including their own government.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TO ZERDEST

Many of those people were communists and they had been prisoned because USA wanted them to be prisoned. As you know in the early 1960's many americans who were communist were prisoned too.

Orhan Pamuk was NEVER prisoned.

Current PM Tayyip was prisoned because he tried to use religion for votes. Turkey is a secular country.

Bulent Ecevit, Suleyman Demirel, Necmettin Erbakan wer not prisoned, taken into the custody and releised in couple of weeks.

On the other hand PKK has killed 43 teacher, 138 doctors and raped 27 nurses (and killed) by now. Just because they were turks who wanted to bring some civilation to Kurds.

Zerdest:

Hasan Can
why you don't defend freedom of speach for citizens of Turkey? There is not a single famous Turkish writers, poets and politician that haven't been in jail or threaten to go to jail for their ideas: For example: Former Pre Minister Bulent Ecevit, Suleyman Demirel, Necmettin Erbakan, Current Pre Mineter Recep Tayip Erdogan and the writers: Aziz Nesin, Orhan Pamuk, Cetin Altan, Fazil Necip ..., nazim Hikmet, and more all of those people Turks like you. Don't you think something seriously wrong with a polical system like this?

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

to Amar and to whom it may concern:

I have attract reactions, which was something i intend to do. Why?

1) There is freedom of expression here, so anyone can express their ideas but there is also freedom to "lie" and "make up stories" here.

2) I am Turk, nation who has been blamed for everything going wrong on earth. So there comes a time that you feel like you need to hit them back but it was my mistake, should have turned the other chick.

3) The people i have adressed as a terrorists are the people President od USA George Bush has adressed as terrorist. Bush had said that "a person or a country harbouring and helping terrorists are as guilty as terrorists."

4) Taking defination of G.Bush as a guide, The Kurdish people who are helping financially and logistically to PKK as as guilt as PKK as PKK is officially a terrorist gruop according to USA, UN and EU.

5) Amar yes we may have talked on the phone and we have even meet but you are as a journalist, what you are reporting here are not your ideas, you are just simple meeting people and reporting us what they are saying. Lets say you had a meeting with Saddam before iraqi war and he was very kind to you, would that make Saddam innocent? Lets say you are going to meet Osama Bin Ladin, the criminal of the century and he is very kind and sweet to you too? What different it makes.

6) The world has written international laws and those laws clearly (UN. no:51) says that "any country that cant protect its border and lets attacks to be carried to neighbour country, that country is guilty of this and the attacked country has the right to defend itself and do crossborder operations.

7) Mr Barzani, assuming that you are a northern Iraqi from Kurdish ethnicity, if so by letting PKK terrorist operate from N.Iraq you are commiting a crime against UN law. So when the UN sanctions will come and UN peace keepers take control of the N.Iraq surely people who has helped terrorist will be judged. But if you have got nothing to do with supporting PKK then i apoligize. I must have mix you with Barzani the Kurdish tribe leader who is helping PKK on N. Iraq.

Ciao:)

Zerdest:

The question is simple the modern Turkish nationalism with its xenophpobia, racism, and hatered is a threat not just Turkey's citzines like: Kurds, Armenians, Jews, Alawis, Anatolian Muslims, womens with head scarfs and other minorities but also to its neighbor therefore, it is a responsibility of the international community to deal with this racist entity the way it dealth with Nazizm and Saddam.

Zerdest:

Mr. Hasan Can is a good example of Turkish nationalism and its hatered agains humanity. Even Nazist weren't so frank about their hate against Jews and rest of world.

JRLR:

"Report: U.S. Sponsoring Kurdish Guerilla Attacks Inside Iran," Tuesday, March 27th, 2007, Democracy Now.

http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/27/1356250

JRLR:

"Israel Training Iraqi Kurds"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XTt84I3bxF4

Berry:

Re: Israel training Kurds

That's old news. It was reported by mid 2004. Take a look:

http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/06/28/040628fa_fact?currentPage=1

The Iraq invasion radically changed things across the Middle East and South-West Asia. It would have been too naive to expect Israel, Iran, Turkey, Syria, and many others not to react when the neighbor's house was in flames. Iran began sending troops and weapons into Iraq in order to take advantage of the chaos. Israel began training Kurds in order to contain Iran. Kurds accepted Israel's help, with their own goals in mind: a Kurdish state, independent from both Iraq and Turkey.

Believe it or not, the U.S. and Israel managed to convince Turkey to do nothing, once and again, even when PKK attacks inside Turkey became all too frequent.

Decorated journalists such as Seymour Hersh did report what was going on. Mainstream media failed to inform the public. It has taken almost four years, and the imminence of an all-out war between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds, for these news to reach major newspapers' frontpages.


Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:
JRLR:

Just Google: BBC Israel training PKK Iran.

JRLR:

Tom Miller writes: "I have found absolutely nothing even hinting of what you (Mohamed MALLECK) said (Israel training Kurdish PKK militants to conduct insurgency operations inside Iran) on the BBC site. Do you have a url or source to back up what you said? Was this just someone's theory or unsubstantiated comment on a blog?"

Tom, I have sent a message providing you and users with 6 references, and way to access many more, if interested. Response I got from WP was:

"Your comment has been received and held for approval by the blog owner."

thanks:

hey thanks for this pov. ive been curious - done some littl reading on turkey and this is a nice way to get some skin on it.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Hasan, now that we've spoken on the phone and I might well come visit you, please do be courteous to other commenters! You frighten me calling them all terrorists. I've been in touch with Mr. Barzani as you and I can vouch for both of you being very kind. With that I will withdraw and let this conversation continue. Victoria, I'll pass the message along to him.

Tom Miller:

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada said:

"I was very deeply disturbed, recently, to read on BBC World news that the BBC is in possession of hard evidence that Israel was training Kurdish PKK militants to conduct insurgency operations inside Iran."

I have found absolutely nothing even hinting of what you said on the BBC site. Do you have a url or source to back up what you said? Was this just someone's theory or unsubstantiated comment on a blog?

Thanks

Fiona.uk:

America always has double standarts.Amerika now says PKK a terrorist group..who created it???? I love Turkish people.

Baqi Barzani:

We have been betrayed by the US many times in history. Looks like it is gonna happen again. This time we have to be smart and look at our own interests. Our non-binding cooperation is being taken advantage of. Suggestions to all Kurdish fellow-citizens.

1) Take possession of Kikuk city irrespective of US concerns. Kirkuk is key to our independence and without it, Kurdistan is worth nothing.

2) Declare an independent Kurdish state.

3) Withdraw Peshmarga forces from all parts of Iraq. Iraqi security is none of our business.

4) Hold the Kurdish Peshmarga forces in charge of Kurdistan's security.

5)Start exploring and selling oil in Kurdistan, sign contracts with the foreign companies.

continue trade and commerce in Kurdistan.

6) If any neighbor country invade South Kurdistan, crush them.

Let see who they are gonna attack us.

Bea:

I hope we can remind ourselves that the PKK and the Kurdish people are NOT one and the same. Yes, the PKK is made up of some Kurdish people, but just because someone is a Kurd does not make them a terrorist or part of the PKK. We have many Kurds in Turkey and they live peacefully among and with the Turks every day of the year. This is their land too. Their families on the other side of the border also deserve to live in peace.

At the same time, Turkey should devise a strategic plan on how to combat the PKK; afterall, they have had 25 plus years to create and implement a plan. Turkey usually does not attack unless provoked and then will defend themselves. Conversely, as with all terrorism, it is not easy to rout out and end it as we have seen with so many terror organizations.

Kurdistan:

To Amar and all dear readers: Please visit this very important video coverage. This is what is happening in Turkey.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJJUKEmXJfc&eurl=http://www.kurdistanpost.com/

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

JRLR from Canada,

You correctly write " Turkey should just do what is in its best interests, exactly like the US does. It should stop listening to US authorities completely! Forget about so-called “friendship”. Dare! Attack! Defend your borders and your people. In that kind of international world you live in, only your national interests matter. Who cares what Americans think?

The only way out of that madness would be through diplomacy. But we all know that American diplomacy, international accords and treatises, international law, Geneva conventions, etc. have all become extinct in the United States of America's eyes, a long, long time ago. Even its Foreign Servants now refuse to serve abroad, namely in Iraq! That's how far it has gone.

The time is now for the survival of the fittest. Nations should therefore act accordingly."

But, that is precisely what everybody is doing, on all fronts, uncluding the invitee-commentators/editors of WAPO, who occasionally intervene to spin the message in a particular direction so as to shape strategy -- diplomatic, military, state-terrorist/mercenary (a la Blackwater), 'enemy-combatant' terrorist, etc --- with a view to 'win hearts and minds' but actually crush the suckers into submission so that the winner's self-interst is maximized for the longest time-horizon possible.

Sweet-talk, ideology, deceit, 'madman strategy' etc. are all part of the deadly confrontation, and the possibility of their unwittingly blowing up our so-far only habitable planet is not excluded from the possible outcomes.

Baqi Barzani:

To: ALI SAYGIN

If the Bush admin truly considers the wish of the vast majority of Iraqi people, then Iraq should have been partitioned years ago. That is what the Iraqi people really are looking for. They are being forced to coexist in a totally hopeless Iraq. An Iraq that is getting worse every day and becoming more insecure. We all are aware that the sectarian and ethnic civil war is irrepressible. A million people have been killed but killed by the Shiite and Sunnis, not the US admin. The state of instability, inflation, unemployment, hunger, abject poverty is all the same if not worse except for the prosperous Kurdistani region. It is the waste of time to remain in Iraq. The situation will continue without any positive recuperation and in order to prevent another million from being massacred and a few more million from being homeless on the streets, just partition the country.

123:

I have no love for Turks (out of 8 years of experience living there) but I see the general's point. Afterall, the PKK terrorists are carrying American arms. How did they get that?

Secondly, The general reflects the view of most people in the Middle East: America is following its own interests and has no other plan for the region. The rest is just alligator tears.

I also note that the Turkish general is making the same statements that, for example, General Sanchez (of Iraq War II) or Colin Powell or General Abizaid are making...expression of disappointment for lack of a real convincing policy and strategy.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

63 Kurdish tribes in city of MOUSUL declared today that they want an unification with TURKEY and close any kind of relationship KDP (Barzani's gang)..
What you gonna say about this? :))

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TAKE A LOOK AT THESE FACTS :)

SADDAM REGIME: 5000 KURDS HAD BEEN KILLED AND SADDAM HAD BEEN HANGED.

CELAL TALABANI REGIME: SINCE HE BECAME PRESIDENT OF IRAQ 600.000 IRAQIES DIED (christian,arab and turcoman) SO TALABANI DESERVES TO BE HANGED 120 TIMES.

HASAN CAN FROM TURKEY:

TO KURDISH TERRORISTS HERE (INC. BARZANI):
READ THIS!

KOSOVA: GENOCIDE COMMITED BY SERBS HAD BEEN ACKNOWLEDGED BY UN AND UN SEND A FORCE TO STOP SERBS AND TODAY ALL OF THOSE CRIMINAL SERBS HAD BEEN JAILED.

TURKEY: KURDISH LIES (EXTERMINATION LIES) HAVE NOT BEEN ACCEPTED BY UN. UN/USA/EU LABELED PKK AS A HUGE TERRORIST AND DRUG DEALER ORGANISATION.

KURDISTAN: AN IMAGINARY STATE BUILD ON EXTERMINATION AND GENOCIDE OF ARABAS,ARMENIANS,TURCOMANS AND ALL MINORITIES WHO IS ONLY ECONOMICAL POWER COMES FROM DRUG TRAFFIC AND GLOBAL TERRORISM. (PLUS INVASION OF ARAB OIL RESERVES!)

IF YOU GET UPSET ABOUT WHAT I HAVE SAID ABOUT KURDISTAN THERE ARE RIGHT NOW 5000 TURKISH SOLDIERS SAYING THAT THERE IS NO SUCH PLACE ON EARTH CALLED KURDISTAN. AND THEY ARE IN NORTHERN IRAQ RIGHT NOW! WHY DONT YOU TRY TO FACE THEM WITH YOUR IMAGINARY PATHETIC TERRORIST ARMED GRUOPS? :)))

LOOOSSSEERRSS :))))

Levent:

Jim,

Next one will probably be a DEM. They are trying to pass the genocide resolution. And as if that was not enough, they are talking about withdrawing soldiers from Iraq.

What will happen then? Iraq will divide into three independent states. Kurdish state will be born. US will secure bases there for the purpose of defending Kurds which will further antagonize Turks. Kurds will lay down claims on Turkey (they have already applied to UN and are hinting their intentions in their statements), Turkey will have to fight. At that point if US intervenes, well I guess axis of evil will have to welcome another Muslim country.

I think US is assuming that it will be able to stop Turkey from attacking Kurds and Kurds from claiming Turkish land. But they will find out that they have done a mistake. Because there are more than enough motivated Turks willing to fight, and more than enough ambitious Kurds who would like to get a piece of Turkey.

From where I sit Turkey and US seem to be in a clash course. And Iran is the only beneficiary.

jim M:

Sad to reflect upon Bush's debacle in Iraq and the consequences that continue to flow from it. Turkey has been freind and ally for many years. As was reported today, 52% of Turks had favorable opinion of US in 2000. Today the Trukish citizens have a 9% favorable view of US.

The White House said today that US relations in the middle east are improving. One only need to look at the above poll to see what a lie that is.

George Bush claims to be fighting to win the hearts of people in the Muslim world. What he really means is, "as long as Muslims beleive exactly as I beleive and do exactly what I tell them to do." Within our own country we see can see Bush's rehtoric when he speaks of compromise, "as long as I get my owm way." Right now 70% of the American public is held hiostage by this president.

To my Turkish freinds...be patient with the US. This president will no last too much longer. The damage he caused to relationships around the world will be hard to repair, but the American people will be willing to make the effort in the next administration.

stmarike @ gmail .com:

Abdullah Ocalan was a Turkish Nationalist educated by Soviets, like Mehmet Ali Agca for John Paul Pope, against USA Army and Israel.

Abdullah Ocalan was given to Turkish Government by MOSSAD and CIA. Since 1940, Turkish Government has been supported by Israel and USA.

Condaleeza Rice must bear an eye for all to see now, between the eyebrows, where Prague for South Anatolia is.

tied hands are tight enough for an alive fist. and Austria-Prussia War shall be signed here, in Bursa, where bones are moving frictionless with Olive and Honey.

She'll be in Shell or He'll Do the Healing in Hiven.

Ali Saygin:

Barzani wrote this "America should follow the implementation of its democratization strategy through out Middle East."

What strategy are we talking about? Is it 100 casualties daily in Bagdad or skirmishes in the Lebanese borders?

He writes "America has also the responsibility to continue protecting the diversified oppressed religious and ethnic minority groups, especially in Turkey. America should encourage Turkey to comply by its human rights obligations, recognize, respect the rights of others and grant its 25 million Kurds their most fundamental and inherent rights."

Who gives US the rights? If the independent people of Iraq give such rights, why don't we know such a thing? After all they are the invading enemy, weren't they looking after their own interest. Could you show me Al Qaida or nuclear bombs they claimed for the reasons of the war? None such.


Barzani clans and his friends should look up to their responsibilities and roles in the region. It is not up to them to call US in arms to rule the neighborhood. Do they want an imperial power to operate in their own kitchen forever? Sooner or later they have to deal the task themselves. Think a little long run.


BTW, Talking at kurdish rights is nonsense. Today in Istanbul, there are more Kurds than in any metropolitan. Many of them are poor workers, but a considerable of them are wealthy merchants, businessmen, politicians, statesman etc. Ask them what the Kurdish rights mean. Today in Turkey, a Kurd can be anything he wants, but the backward clans like pseudo-Barzani's don't send their kids to school properly, so they end up in poverty. That is the real problem. Locals need to take every action to solve their miserable economical problem in this part of the world. After all this is a liberal economy, just like in the US.

VICTORIA:

my impression of the general is a man who has a soldiers heart and so values is own honor and word.
mostly i felt a sense of his confusion at the word of the US being meaningless- people without honor instantly understand self interest-
and wonder why it isn't o immediately apparent to others
he seems determined to find the word of his ally in arms to vindicate his faith in them

i worked for a couple of years as a volunteer at Disable American Veterans with vietnam era vets

one thing i learned about soldiers is tht the ones who talk all the time- to quote a vet- "never seen sh*t, never did nuthin"

george bush reminds me of those blustering phonies, riding in glory on the bones of their fallen comrades-

his word has not held up to scrutiny-
his heart would fail under fire (which he never saw)

the general feels betrayed by the US his 470 comrades died protecting it's soldiers.

tell the general that this american woman said her father was in korea, it was there he developed his repsect for turks (which probably manifested in me)
and there are some old soldiers here who still remember their fearless bravery

(and recommend the movie titus to him amar- i think he'd get it)
a gentleman named arminius posted this link on the metal storm blog-

http://www.historynet.com/wars_conflicts/korean_war/3030651.html?page=1&c=y

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.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

as for myself, i find the actions of my president woefully inadequate and sadly hypocritical in respect to our ally turkey.

Tom Miller:

I'm a firm believer in realpolitik and I believe that the alliance with Turkey is of major importance to the U.S. for many obvious reasons that would take too long to discuss here. As an ally realpolitik means that we support our allies against terrorism and that is exactly what the PKK is. I have only been to Turkey once but shortly before going there the PKK set off bombs that murdered innocent civilians in Antalya and Cesme Turkey to discourage tourism. This wasn't done on the Iraqi border. The PKK has set off bombs and killed the innocent for many years throughout Turkey. I remember vividly the description of the murder of an innocent, invariably poor street vendor in Antalya on the news. Who knows what political cause he supported? He most likely just wanted to live in peace and make a life for his family. He could have been Kurdish. In the terrorist mind, it doesn't matter. Only those who have no value for human life at all and have truly lost their moral compass would commit such a deed. The recent murders of Turkish soldiers in Turkey from Iraqi-based PKK is no more glorious. It's meant to de-stabalize Turkey and draw the Turkish military into the same game of murder of the innocents all for world attention, nothing else. If we are truly against terrorism and the killing of innocents inherit in terrorist strategy, we need to help those who oppose them and not hang them out to dry. Allies and friends are a part of realpolitik and if you don't support them you will lose their friendship - that's just realpolitik.

This is not just Turkey's fight. The U.S. incursion into Iraq opened up the opportunity for the PKK and given that the U.S. needs to keep the peace in Iraqi Kurdistan it's doubtful that U.S. forces will do much militarily to stop the PKK even if they had the manpower to do so. I understand that the U.S. is now providing military intelligence on PKK positions to Turkey. The U.S. can also insist that Iraqi Kurdistan and the Iraqi Government meet it's obligations and intervene to eliminate the PKK as a threat to the Turkish borders.

This was an interesting interview with General Baser and I agree with his view that the U.S. must fight the PKK. It's not in our interests to do otherwise.

maxiths:

Something wrong with this picture. The general says about his son "soon to join the military and go and fight the Kurds" The Kurds are bad people, right Gen-l? and your son is going to be a hero killing Kurds!!(soon to see him in Parliament Hopefully ehh)???(NEVER HEARD A GEN-LS SON GETTING KILLED ON COMBAT)
Also America forgot it's commitment in the Korean war, cause, the Turkish army protected the Americans. (who protected the Turks from the Russians?)
Amazing what a four star General can say and get away with it.
It's not his fault though, he is propably right!
we stupit Americans are to be ashamed for not providing WEAPONS TO THE TURKS? and also not sending our boys to fight the bad Kurds! so Mr four star gen-l can continue
with his arrogent remarks on protecting his son and not OUR SONS!
HAVE A NICE DAY YOU ALL!

JRLR, Canada:

Honestly, Amar, I can hardly believe the person you interviewed, Edip Baser, is a four-star general!

When you interviewed Professor Brahma Chellaney, in India, I wrote (June 29, 2007 7:11 PM): “this talk about "FRIENDS America makes", about "EQUALITY in the relationship", about "CLOSE BUDDIES", is … surrealistic, coming from a professor of strategic studies.”

I dare say, that today’s comments from a four-star general, are even more surrealistic.

US foreign policy has nothing to do with “friendship”, everything to do with American interests, and exclusively so. That much, at least, both Gandhi (“ahimsa”) and Machiavelli (“The Prince”), from both ends of the spectrum, understood very well.

To tell you the truth, Amar, I know adolescents who would burst out laughing, reading what that four-star general says, and, rightfully so, just walk away from that type of conversation. I don’t think any responsible politician should ever give meaningful national responsibilities to a general who holds such juvenile Orwellian views. Again, we're talking Realpolitik here!!!

“… nine months later, he says no progress had occurred." Washington said all the right things, [but] they did nothing. America only cares about its own terrorists." … it was another game of the Americans to delay specific measures on terror…”

Of course, “the United States has certain plans for the future for Iraq, and for the future of the Middle East, but also global projects… some of these boundaries will change in the Middle East.” As American politicians like to say: “All options are on the table.” That means even the options that are not in Turkey’s interests are on the table. Indeed, double, triple, and quadruple standards, are the order of the day.

That leads me to my main point: Turkey should just do what is in its best interests, exactly like the US does. It should stop listening to US authorities completely! Forget about so-called “friendship”. Dare! Attack! Defend your borders and your people. In that kind of international world you live in, only your national interests matter. Who cares what Americans think?

The only way out of that madness would be through diplomacy. But we all know that American diplomacy, international accords and treatises, international law, Geneva conventions, etc. have all become extinct in the United States of America's eyes, a long, long time ago. Even its Foreign Servants now refuse to serve abroad, namely in Iraq! That's how far it has gone.

The time is now for the survival of the fittest. Nations should therefore act accordingly.

Riza:

It is a typical double moral and double standard of a Turkish nationalist for example Mr. Baser claim" And in the 1990s, Baser claims the U.S. was too slow to intervene in Kosovo. " Does he honestly could claim that Kosovo people were more presecuted or discriminated againt that Kurds in Turkish occupied Kurdistan? I wish you asked Mr. Baser to compare Kurdish situation with Kosovo.....Thanks for your response.

Kurdistan:

American will never assist or allow Turkey in exterminating a nation (Kurds).

Baqi Barzani:

America should follow the implementation of its democratization strategy through out Middle East. America has also the responsibility to continue protecting the diversified oppressed religious and ethnic minority groups, especially in Turkey. America should encourage Turkey to comply by its human rights obligations, recognize, respect the rights of others and grant its 25 million Kurds their most fundamental and inherent rights.

Amar C. Bakshi:

Last interview post. EDIP BASER on the PKK, terrorism, and America's regional ambitions:

Any America citizen, any Western European citizen who lost his son, young daughter in Iraq should keep in mind that in the disaster of their young children there is PKK’s bloody hand in it because the PKK is the major carrier of all kinds of drugs from East to West, they get a huge amount of money out of the drug trafficking business.

Some people do claim that Americans are providing arms [to PKK] and that some America soldiers are visiting camps. I have heard these kinds of stories. I have no reason not to believe these kinds of things because of where we are now.

It’s hard to explain my feelings really. If an administration has the power to do something about a terrorist organization’s activities or existence and if you are reluctant to do it, if you refuse to do it, and not only that, but…there is a terrorist coming at me, and you aren’t doing anything to stop it, and you are holding my arms. If you have the power to stop this terrorist organization and you are not doing anything, then to me you are standing by the terrorists.

Mr. Bush says you will be either on our side, or the side of terror. That’s it, that’s the same. This is a relatively small size example of that. If you are not on my side on this Mr. Bush, then you are on the side of PKK, and PKK is a terrorist organization on your list of terrorist organizations so why this reluctance, why this attitude? We understand the United States is a super-power with long-term plans for Iraq and for the Middle East.

People’s minds are so mixed up here in Turkey when the American leadership makes these kinds of announcements. This belongs to Ms. Rice who said once that some of these boundaries will change in the Middle East; what she might meant by that? Many Turkish people have so many questions about the intentions of the United States. This is not an even friendship.

…This is the reality, you cannot help it, it is in front of you, it is on TV and on the CNN. How can you explain it? How can you translate it?

I talk to them [Americans] and they always say the same thing. They tell me one thing and after months he visited Ankara and said word by word the same thing as he said to me: “They appreciate Turkish efforts to fight terrorism and they support Turkey’s fight against terrorism and they do no agree with the PKK’s activity.”

…As far as I know, the U.S. hasn’t given us full satellite access. If they did, all those terrorists would not be able to cross the border to conduct an operation.

...The United States has certain plans for the future for Iraq, and for the future of the Middle East, but also global projects, this is only a part of it. The idea in mind to change the borders in the Middle East.

When you look at their attitude now; why do they not put enough pressure on Mr. Barzani to make a move against PKK camps, it cannot be explained any other way but the Americans have something else in mind, but I don’t know what it is.

In such situations, it’s so easy to create scenarios. Now of course people are producing many different scenarios.

…I have read Metal Storm, well of course it was a good projection, I think, very well informed person who wrote it. He made quite logical assessments though he put them as scenarios, but still we see them coming closer.

…Right after my assignment as special envoy, I had lots of criticism from many circles, even from my very close friends criticized me and told me not to accept the position when the Prime Minister offered it because it was another game of the Americans to delay specific measures on terror, that is what they have said to me, and in many TV channels I have heard very hard criticism of me, namely, and on many newspapers I have read so many very bad articles about me. They were putting the blame on me, that I would be playing the same game with the Americans to delay the Turkish forces from acting. That is people’s reactions. That is what I have seen, what I have witnessed. I had to go on various TV programs to explain to people why I have agreed to take over this position. I try to explain to them why I see even small sign or light at the end of the tunnel so I would go after that and try it. It may take us to the all bright end of the tunnel or that light may completely be lost one day, that happened in the end to me.

Baqi Barzani:

America should follow the implementation of its democratization strategy through out Middle East. America has also the responsibility to continue protecting the diversified religious and ethnic groups, especially in Turkey. America should encourage Turkey to comply by its human rights obligations, recognize, respect the rights of others and grant its 25 million Kurds their most fundamental and inherent rights.

Amar C. Bakshi:

EDIP BASER on the Balkans, Armenians, NATO and Islam:

In the Balkans we see ethnic struggles have been encouraged by some officials and lets not forget after the end of the cold war era that there was only one superpower in the world. Now in Balkans tens of thousands of people have been killed by armed gangs of Serbs, or whatever. They fight each other and they were in such a bloody fight, bloody war and it took quite a long time. When you look at the strength the United States has, when you look at those armies or air forces or land forces, no one can believe that they were not able to stop this bloodshed in the first instance. Not letting it continue for weeks and months and months costing tens of thousands of innocent peoples lives, whether they are Serbs, Bosnians or Macedonians or whoever they are. They are human beings. No one said “Stop it” after so much time. When so little people remained to be killed, then NATO came up and said “Let’s stop it because it may be dangerous for NATO’s interest.”

NATO’s interest means German, American, British, French interests. They are talking first of all about American interests. That’s how people understand it.

OK. They were able to stop it. NATO sent some troops, as you know, the United Nations tried to stop it. It looks OK. Going somewhat peaceful manner, and then we were witness to a similar type of fighting in the northern caucuses and southern caucuses. Armenian taking over and occupying. Killing so many Azeris. Removing hundreds of thousands of them out of their houses, they are still living in Azerbijan. No one is telling them to go, you have no right, pay for the destruction you have made. No one is saying that. Why not?

People in this region not only the Turks but many others translate it into their own language saying they are Christian and we are Muslims. Europe is Christian so they wouldn’t say Christian nation stop killing Muslims. Of course they would be grateful that so many Muslims have been thrown out of their houses, put on refugee status, really limited conditions. That’s how people feel.

Amar C. Bakshi:

I will paste some sections of our interview below. It was long, almost four hours, so I've only typed up certain portions.

Here is the first portion that touches on his childhood, an experience in South Korea, and the Cyprus issue. Our conversations went in loops, returning to the same themes again and again. This was the first time he addressed them. Please forgive any typos and the ellipses.

* * *
EDIP BASER (October 31, 2007)

As a child I decided to become an air force pilot, a jag pilot, because in those days the Turkish air force was becoming more and more in front of the line. Pilots in blue uniforms were passing by our house and I used to look at them with great admiration. When I finished the eighth grade I applied for military high school.

During those days of course the air force used to take the main source for the air force officer core. The main source was the army. I applied for the air force but unfortunately I was not one of those lucky people to get the correct number out of the box to be able to go for the air force physical examination. There were so many cadets applying. The have produced a system. Everyone should get one number out of it. Graduated in 1961 as a second lieutenant.

I had an extremely enjoyable, though difficult life in my 41 years as an officer. 16 years of it was as a general. I enjoyed every minute I spent in uniform.

Those years, 1950s and early 1960s in military school it was a time Turkey had just become a member of NATO. Turkey and United States had been fighting together in Korea against Communism. We were excited with the stories of Turkish Armies, military operations in Korea. Of course we had stories from our relatives or people who we met on some occasions we had been serving Korea. Of course when the United States, big country in our eyes, strong country. We read about Second World War and our admiration of the United States was really much greater.

At the military academy we went into more detail of the Second World War, all fronts one by one. Looking at it from a leadership point of view, what was successful and what wasn’t. Trying to find out all these things. It was so nice, so good, to read history this way, taking lessons of history. Not just read and change over the pages.

So my first impressions of the United States, when I first knew about the country called the United States, my impression was quite positive.

But after my graduation, 1965 I was assigned to Korea, that time we had only one infantry company in Korea occupying positions on the DMZ together. We were attached with another battalions. We had a very good time there….

My English was too poor at the time. It was still poor. Very childish English but it was a good chance to improve my English. I learned a lot as far as my English was.

So it was a great experience for me, and what I’ve seen there was a strong, highly disciplined, very well trained American army. I was sure that the other services were the same line. Well educated, well trained. We were taking to Korea by three American military aircrafts, C-141 I think. Now these were my initial impressions.

Of course time passed; time doesn’t stop. It continues to work, to go ahead. Those 1960s however were not all good time as far as Turkish-American relations are concerned. The first question marks in my mind began to take place in those days when we had trouble in Cyprus. Every time, EOKA, the Greek terrorist organization in Cyprus organized against the Turkish population on the island, the aim was to clear the Turks out of the island. Either they would leave or be killed….

The United States has always been behind the Greek thesis even though they were sure that thesis was not based on good reasons, on any international treaty or whatever, but still they insisted to stand next to the Greeks, every occasion. In 1967 there was a Johnson letter telling our president that if Turkey tries to do anything against Cyprus alone by himself then the Americans would no more give permission to use the American weapons because Turkish army was armed with all American systems.

United States used those acts of assistance on the political side against Turkey by saying no I have given to you this weapon but you cannot use it in Cyprus. You cannot use this truck in Cyprus or that airplane or that tank….

After July 1974 intervention in Cyrpus, U.S. administration puts arms embargo against Turkey. We are probably the only example in history where a friend and ally puts an arms embargo on a friend just because she has acted to use her right from international treaties….But that was good in one way; that has shown us that the United States can never be a reliable ally for Turkey. We know alliances, international relations, they all turn around the mutual interests. You don’t talk about you emotions in the international relations. We know that.

Still too hard to explain this attitude of a friend for whom we have lost 470 soldiers just to protect American soldiers drawing back from a Chinese attack. We did not order a brigade to move back; they were surrounded by Chinese army and we lost 470 soldiers in Korea, Kuluri.

Mohamed MALLECK, Swift Current, Canada:

I was very deeply disturbed, recently, to read on BBC World news that the BBC is in possession of hard evidence that Israel was training Kurdish PKK militants to conduct insurgency operations inside Iran.

It kept me wondering whether the Israelis might not be, knowingly but covertly (or else unwittingly, at least) training Kurdish PKK militants that are conducting insurgency operations against Turkey as well.

In any case, since there is very little control to prevent PKK fighters who are trained to conduct insurgency operations against Iran from using the training to also fight against Turkey, America is clearly failing in its obligations to strictly prevent the use of a territory that it is occupying as a base to launch an attack on another country not at war with the occupied country.

In another WAPO blog about a week back, one commentator put on a pontificating if not stupidly arrogant tone to tell me that he appreciated my moderate comments (except for the sentences about Islamic solidarity -- the West are allowed to have a sense of shared purpose but not Muslims!) and that while NATO does have an obligation to collaborate with another NATO memeber country (Turkey), he hoped that, when the crunch comes, Turkey will still use restraint.

In the light of what I subsequently learnt, I am wondering whether dark oil-thief forces are not covertly leaning in favour of a Kurdistan that would, in return for support for insurgency training, later sign lucrative oil deals with these dark forces.

Mr. Erdogan is very, very reasonable, but not stupid. I hope that villainy and cynicism is reined-in on the American side.

mike s:

This is a disappointing and understandable reaction from a Turkish patriot, which highlights a central tension. Many people across the world consider America a "friend" primarily to the extent we oppose their enemies, and ideally help to put them down. The US cannot adopt this kind of view; it has led to too much sorrow already.

Post a comment

We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send your comments, questions and suggestions for PostGlobal to Lauren Keane, its editor and producer.