As expected, the Turkish parliament has approved - by 507 votes to 19 - a call to OK military action in Iraq in pursuit of Kurdish PKK terrorists. The BBC reports that:
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki had earlier phoned the Turkish prime minister, saying he was "absolutely determined" to remove the PKK from Iraq and pleading for more time, according to Turkey's Anatolia news agency.But what is shameful is that George Bush is trying to blame this crisis entirely on the Dems' - admittedly wrongheaded- resolution on the Armenian Genocide, and so sidestep what should be resounding criticism of his administration, who have sat on their hands for three years, trading PKK safe haven for Kurdish quietitude while events came to this head.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, an ethnic Kurd, urged Turkey not to make an incursion, but also called on the PKK "to end the so-called military activity".
The autonomous Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq warned Turkish MPs that any intervention would be "illegal". It has denied providing the PKK with any help.
The rebels themselves said they would meet force with force.
The chief of the PKK's executive council, Murat Karayilan, told the Kurdish Hawlati newspaper: "Thousands of PKK guerrillas are on standby to fight Turkish army forces."
President Bush, speaking during a press conference, criticised Congress for jeopardising US relations with Turkey with a planned vote to recognise the mass killing of Armenians in Ottoman times as genocide.Reuters reports that NATO leaders tried to intercede with the Turks too.
"One thing Congress should not be doing is sorting out the historical record of the Ottoman Empire," he said.
Just before the vote, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer telephoned President Abdullah Gul to urge patience while diplomacy ran its course.But also revealed the extent of Iraqi determination to stop the PKK by quoting Talibani in more detail.
NATO spokesman James Appathurai said the alliance viewed the PKK as a terrorist group.
But he said Ankara had not made any request for NATO to invoke a clause in its treaty calling on nations to come to the aid of an ally under attack, nor had it requested military help.
"None of this has been requested by the Turkish authorities," he said, noting that NATO allies individually continued to provide Turkey with intelligence.
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who is a Kurd, condemned PKK tactics but urged Turkey to show restraint.And if they don't we'll...ask them again. Maybe we'll write to them using a green pen! Meanwhile, the US - which by UN mandate is still responsible not just for Iraq's security but for protecting other nations from Iraq's insecurity - has done bugger all about the situation for years.
"We consider the activities of the PKK against the interests of the Kurdish people and against the interests of Turkey. We have asked the PKK to stop fighting and end military activity," Talabani said during a visit to Paris.
Dubya put a couple of hundred thousand US and allied troops into Iraq on the basis of spurious WMD claims and a carefully implied tie to 9/11. Now that the Turks, who have provably lost 10 9/11 worths of people to the PKK, want to emulate his invasion, he's saying "we don't think it is in their interests to send troops into Iraq." No matter what you may think about the strength of Turkey's causus belli, you have to say "Hey, George, hypocrisy much?"