Opportunity For Turks And Kurds?
Washington Post Post
Whatever happens in Iraq, we must try to limit the terrible fallout from the war. The place to start should be with our indispensable NATO ally Turkey,...
This symmetry of fears has led to semi-secret discussions and even some cooperation between our NATO ally and that charter member of the "axis of evil" on dealing with the PKK, a terrorist group that has conducted raids against both Turkey and Iran from bases just inside northern Iraq for many years. I would not rule out limited Turkish military action against some of those bases -- especially since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is under enormous political pressure to show strong nationalist credentials against hawkish rivals in an election year.After years of mishandling relations with Turkey, last year the administration appointed retired Gen. Joe Ralston, the universally respected former NATO commander, as special envoy for the PKK problem. Ralston's intervention helped avoid a Turkish attack in Iraq last summer, and he is accelerating his efforts to get Irbil to rein in the PKK
... The new Iraqi constitution calls for a referendum this year on whether Kirkuk is to be incorporated into the Kurdistan region. The Turks -- who refer repeatedly to the dangers to the Turkmen, their ethnic cousins who live in Kirkuk -- have said that they will not accept such an event. Avoiding a full-blown crisis will require intense mediation by the United States; unfortunately, Ralston's current mandate does not include Kirkuk.