According to the London Times, the Turkish government are definitely getting ready to rumble.
The Turkish Prime Minister said today that he had ordered preparations for a possible military strike in northern Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish rebels launching attacks on Turkey from cross-border bases, despite strong opposition from Washington.This was always the danger with the recently-signed accord between Iraq and Turkey - that the Iraqis would talk big and act small, followed by more attacks. Now, it looks like the large-scale military incursions Turkey has been threatening since at least last December are definitely on again.
“Preparations for parliamentary authorisation have begun,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Parliament, just days after the killing of 13 government troops in an ambush that outraged the country and marked the latest in a spate of intensified attacks by the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK).
At a high-level terror summit earlier this week, chaired by Mr Erdogan, Turkey’s senior civilian and military authorities decided to consider “every kind of legal, political and economic measure, including an incursion across the border”. Parliament would still have to officially authorise any military action and the final decision rests with the Government, but the current sabre-rattling is the most purposeful it has been for some time.
Meanwhile, the Bush administration have been unusually dismissive of Turkey's complaints - ones which in many respects mirror U.S. allegations about Iranian meddling in Iraq. It would seem perfectly accpetable in such a situation to have the Turks repeat back to the Bush administration and U.S. Congress their own words about states that harbor terrorism.
What the U.S. is doing is head-in-the-sand denial of a clusterf**k of the Bush administration's own making, which could have been prevented if it had played diplomatic hardball with the Kurds these past years instead of giving them a free pass in return for one part of Iraq that wasn't utterly FUBAR. The Iraqi president has already said that his government will see any cross-border action as an invasion of Iraq as a whole and will meet it accordingly with a state of war between the two nations. The Kurds have threatened civil war if Maliki doesn't live up to his word. Either would put paid to any notion of US success in Iraq if the US wasn't wholeheartedly on the side of the Iraqis/Kurds. If U.S. forces defend Iraqi Kurds against Turkish troops, we're looking at war between two NATO nations. It looks like it may become a question of which is more important to The Decider Guy - would he rather be the guy who blew his big foreign adventure or the guy who lost the NATO alliance? Trying to stand in the middle won't work.