Several Thousand Turkish Troops Enter Iraq
June 6, 2007 9:18 AM   Subscribe

Newsfilter: Turkish Troops Enter Iraq
posted by huskerdont (66 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Yes, but...Bush says Russia won't attack Europe...so it's all good.
posted by taosbat at 9:22 AM on June 6, 2007


So how does this affect my weekend plans?
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:24 AM on June 6, 2007


Well, gee, this ought to give a rousing boost for Turkey's entry into the EU.
posted by rolypolyman at 9:26 AM on June 6, 2007


I've been wondering how long the US could keep up this The-Kurds-Are-Our-Bestest-Buddies shtick while arming and funding the Turks who were shooting at them. I mean, from the day Bush made them the poster child for US-Iraqi collaboration, I knew the shit had to hit the fan. I'm just astounded that it's taken this long. And judging by that bit in the second 'graph, this is just the beginning. Though I do expect Washington will bitch slap Ankara to keep it in line; whether Ankara will do as it's told and resume selling its ass on the street remains to be seen.
posted by Clay201 at 9:30 AM on June 6, 2007


Right on schedule.

I know this because David Brooks said it would never ever happen while Us Troops were present in Iraq.

It's a good bet to double down on the opposite of what ever Brooks and the rest of these incompetent Neocon dipshits ever say.

Like that episode of Seinfeld where George indulges in the opposite of every one of his natural instincts. This is what we as a nation should do every time a member of the Bush Administration or one of their apologists open their pie hole.
posted by tkchrist at 9:32 AM on June 6, 2007 [14 favorites]


I've been wondering how long the US could keep up this The-Kurds-Are-Our-Bestest-Buddies shtick while arming and funding the Turks who were shooting at them.

The Kurdish seperatist group the turks are fighting, attack the PKK, or Kurdistan Workers' Party is also identified by the US as a terrorist organization. They are not attacking all kurds, and certainly not the Kurds that are working closely with the US.

I do agree that this has all the makings of a fine clusterfuck, just not for this particular reason.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:39 AM on June 6, 2007


Though I do expect Washington will bitch slap Ankara to keep it in line; whether Ankara will do as it's told and resume selling its ass on the street remains to be seen.

They are doing this because Bush no longer has any teeth. They won't give a shit what he says or does. We will have to bribe the shit out of the Turks. And they will send troops into Iraq anyway.

The "surge", or as it should be called — whack-a-mole with reinforcements, is not working. Everybody knows it's not working. AND it's obvious because of the rate which were trickling troops in that we are now stretched so thin our infantry is essentially broken until we get out of Iraq.

Domestic polls out in April put Bush with a disapproval rating with REPUBLICANS at like 80%. His national approval rating is now less than 29%.

Nobody gives a shit anymore what Bush will do.
posted by tkchrist at 9:40 AM on June 6, 2007


This has happened before ... the Turks would love to get rid of the almost independent kurdish province in Iraq.
posted by homodigitalis at 9:44 AM on June 6, 2007


Turkey See, Turkey Do.
posted by srboisvert at 9:47 AM on June 6, 2007


Only good can come of this.
posted by uri at 9:51 AM on June 6, 2007


we are now stretched so thin our infantry is essentially broken until we get out of Iraq

And so our plan is completed. The UK led invasion of America starts in a fortnight's time. I think we still have a handful of TAs and a Bedford truck left...
posted by twine42 at 9:53 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


They are not attacking all kurds, and certainly not the Kurds that are working closely with the US.

What you're saying is probably true, but still it seems unlikely that the US can back a full scale war against the PKK inside Iraq without the whole mess blowing up in Bush's face. I was under the impression that the PKK had considerable support within the general Kurdish population, much as Hamas does in other parts of the middle east. Are you sure the Kurds will cut them loose?

because Bush no longer has any teeth

If we were talking about a threat of military action against Turkey, I'd agree. But what we're talking about here is, much more likely, cutting back on the military aid we're giving them. This may very well still be in Bush's power. There's a strong case to be made here that Bush will come down on the side of Turkey (a major ally, a country that provides a home for some of our nukes) in this dispute. But that doesn't mean he won't administer a little in-house discipline in the mean time.
posted by Clay201 at 9:56 AM on June 6, 2007


Remember, the Turkish government denied the US's request to have coalition(i.e. US) troops enter Iraq through Turkey at the beginning of the Iraq War.

It seems they might already understand that saying no to the US isn't the end of the world.
posted by dglynn at 9:56 AM on June 6, 2007


i saw tonnes of Turkish troops and tanks in Almadiya, Northern Iraq when i was touring around at the end of 2003. locals told me they'd been there for years keeping the kurds in-line.
posted by gman at 9:59 AM on June 6, 2007


We cannot tolerate the Turks or the Iranians using military force to interfere in the internal affairs of Iraq.

(Only the U.S. is allowed to do that.)
posted by Artifice_Eternity at 10:03 AM on June 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


Turkey has been repressing all Kurds, not just the PKK, in Turkey for years. For Example.
posted by Eekacat at 10:05 AM on June 6, 2007


/Ob

So, if Bush enters Turkey from the rear, would Greece help?
posted by RavinDave at 10:06 AM on June 6, 2007 [6 favorites]


The UK led invasion of America starts in a fortnight's time.

Excellent. Please ensure that you pass and enforce a military law regarding the availability of Strongbow cider in every bar or pub.

I, for one, look forward to the British occupation of America, as it's obvious that their "revolution" hasn't turned out so well.
posted by jokeefe at 10:07 AM on June 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


I wouldn't rule out the Americans falling out with the Kurds and bombing them sometime over the next century, after all everyone else has.
posted by Artw at 10:08 AM on June 6, 2007


Isn't this the next domino tumble in the inevitable chain of World War III?
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:10 AM on June 6, 2007


Kurdistan has really been seen as one of the few stable areas of Iraq, and Turkey moving in has one of two likely outcomes.

1. If the Kurds effectively cut off the PKK then it's likely the PKK will go underground and radicalize. This is unlikely though. What will probably happen...

2. ...is that the Kurds will keep up their support of the PKK and Turkey will become an occupying force. This would radicalize the entire Kurdish population and plunge one of the few stable areas of Iraq into chaos.
posted by bshort at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2007


Doubtless, someone will quickly note that Debka is not to be beieved, and so forth, but early this morning, before anyone picked up the story, they had this to say:
"Another Middle East war erupts Wednesday as 50,000 Turkish troops invade N. Iraq to strike rebel Kurdish PKK bases

June 6, 2007, 3:41 PM (GMT+02:00)

The official Turkish news agency Cihan reports the force, backed by armored vehicles and combat aircraft, is targeting rebel strongholds in 11 provinces in southeastern Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan Wednesday, June 6.

DEBKAfile’s military sources report that this is only the first wave of Turkish invaders, with more to come. A Turkish force of 90,000 troops has been massed at the sourthern town of Sirank opposite the meeting point of the Turkish, Iraqi and Syrian borders, drawing a warning to Ankara from US defense secretary Robert Gates to stay out of Iraq.

June 2, DEBKAfile reported that the US had removed troops from northern Iraq and passed responsibility for the region’s security to the Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga.

Two days ago, Kurdish PKK rebels killed at least 8 soldiers, wounding 6, in a suicide attack on an E. Turkish checkpoint at Tunceli.

After the attack, Turkish foreign minister Abdullah Gulf defended his country’s right to drive into neighboring Iraq to destroy rebel bases.

Up to 3,500 separatists are believed based in northern Iraq poised for hit-and-run terrorist attacks in Turkey. The Turkish news agency reports three F-16 Falcon fighter bombers have carried out bombing raids on positions of the PKK Kurdistan Workers Party in northern Iraq. Artillery deployed at the border with Iraq has fired at pinpointed targets.”

DEBKAfile’s Iraq sources reported last week that Iraqi Kurdistan’s president, Massoud Barzani, had sent a personal emissary, Safin Dizai, to Ankara with an urgent warning. Turkish tanks would not be allowed to cross into northern Iraq, he said. The Kurdish peshmerga would repel them. “The people of Kurdistan,“ said the messenger, “would not stand by as spectators if Turkish tanks and panzers entered Kirkuk.” "
posted by Postroad at 10:23 AM on June 6, 2007



I wouldn't rule out the Americans falling out with the Kurds and bombing them sometime over the next century, after all everyone else has
.

Century? Nah... five, ten years tops. Unless they can acquire some nukes quickly. I'd say within the next century we are going to see a non US detonation of a nuclear weapon in warfare. Most likely NOT on American soil, perhaps directed against Americans though.
posted by edgeways at 10:33 AM on June 6, 2007


There's a strong case to be made here that Bush will come down on the side of Turkey (a major ally, a country that provides a home for some of our nukes) in this dispute. But that doesn't mean he won't administer a little in-house discipline in the mean time.

Bush has given them all they need. The only thing he can offer them IS incentives. But it wouldn't be enough. Dealing with the Kurds is too big a strategic priority for Turkey. What? Bush gonna promise he will talk the EU into excepting Turkey? Like I said a good word from Bush isn't worth shit with anybody anymore. So. That leaves "discipline." And. There is no putative action the US could take against Turkey that matters to them. We won't sell them arms? Or give them aid? Well there are other countries who will. Like China.

Bush openly supporting Turkey also puts the US in a terrible position with the ONLY demonstrable success in Iraq. A stable Kurdistan. Of course that has more to do with Clinton's policies than Bush. But any action in support of Turkey will piss off the US Army Special Forces (and thus the cream of the US military) who worked long and hard to create a functioning relationship with the Kurds. That enmity will trickle down to the Pentagon staff. I don't think he is going to risk pissing them off more than he already has.

Bush will be forced to openly chastise Turkey. Thus. Support the Kurds. And then alienate the Turks even more.

This is a "no win" for Bush. And what he deserves for never picking up an atlas or a history book before launching this disastrous war.

2. ...is that the Kurds will keep up their support of the PKK and Turkey will become an occupying force. This would radicalize the entire Kurdish population and plunge one of the few stable areas of Iraq into chaos.

This looks likely. Though a ways off yet.
posted by tkchrist at 10:48 AM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Quick history lesson please:

Why are the Turks so against an indepedent Kurdish state?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:57 AM on June 6, 2007


Re: twine42 ^ a little bit of background.
posted by adamvasco at 11:05 AM on June 6, 2007


Why are the Turks so against an indepedent Kurdish state?

Geography for one thing. And the Kurds have not been sitting there minding their own business historically speaking. Saladin was Kurdish. Also the Kurds are linguistically (and somewhat culturally) related to Iran.
posted by tkchrist at 11:07 AM on June 6, 2007


Brief primer on the recent nastiness between the Turks and the Kurds.
posted by silas216 at 11:07 AM on June 6, 2007


Brandon Blatcher writes "Why are the Turks so against an indepedent Kurdish state?"

Briefly, because there are many Kurds in Turkey who would want to be part of such a state, and the Turkish government/military is jealous of its nation's territorial integrity (as are most governments). A more complete lesson would involve the cultural history of Turkish nationalism, the fall of the Ottoman Empire, and the ascension of the modern Turkish state, which was predicated largely on nationalistic ideas of a single Turkish people and culture occupying the territory that comprises modern Turkey.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:09 AM on June 6, 2007


I smell a conspiracy to unite the Iraqi people against the external enemy (Turkey) invading their sovereign territory.

That's definitely what is happening. Without a doubt. Haha!
posted by knapah at 11:14 AM on June 6, 2007


Bush will be forced to openly chastise Turkey. Thus. Support the Kurds. And then alienate the Turks even more.

At this point that's just fine. The US kissed Turkey's ass in the past because they controlled sea access to the Crimea, and to Russia's only warm water port. At this point, what role does Turkey really play?

They don't have any real strategic importance anymore, other than acting as a regional troublemaker. I'm sure Bush wants to keep them from fucking with Iraq, and therefore the Kurds, but I think Turkey's drive to enter the EU will take care of that.

So Bush tells Turkey to fuck off. They don't care what he thinks, and no one cares what Turkey thinks. Seems like it wouldn't be such a bad outcome.
posted by bshort at 11:15 AM on June 6, 2007


Godwin: "Who still talks nowadays about the Armenians?"

Turkey's relations with their ethnic and cultural minorities are somewhat complicated. Wait, no, not complicated. Straightforward.
posted by absalom at 11:15 AM on June 6, 2007


the Turks are against a Kurdish state in the same way that the North was against a southern nation in 1860 that was no longer a part of the nation..
posted by Postroad at 11:29 AM on June 6, 2007


I think we still have a handful of TAs and a Bedford truck left...

Bah. They'll never get any further than Rehoboth Beach.
posted by pax digita at 11:31 AM on June 6, 2007


Slate used to do a Kurd Sellout Watch.
posted by kirkaracha at 11:42 AM on June 6, 2007


the Turks are against a Kurdish state in the same way that the North was against a southern nation in 1860 that was no longer a part of the nation..
posted by Postroad


This is one of the stupidest things I've ever read. Thanks Postroad!
posted by Eekacat at 11:57 AM on June 6, 2007



Why are the Turks so against an indepedent Kurdish state


In addition to the explanation above, I have to say that when I visited Turkey in the late 1980s, the Turks were wonderful people--friendly, helpful, courteous, fans of the US, etc. Except for one thing. Not a single one could resist saying the most awful, racist kinds of things about the Kurds. It was stunning, and what I imagine some whites in the South were like 40 or 50 years ago--no compunctions whatsoever about slurring people perceived to be of lesser status.
posted by etaoin at 12:01 PM on June 6, 2007


Thanks for the Turk/Kurd animosity primer, I didn't understand it much, either, and that HRW piece cleared up a lot.
posted by The Straightener at 12:13 PM on June 6, 2007


It looks like the reports of a Turkish incursion are now being broadly denied.

False alarm, for now.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:14 PM on June 6, 2007


You're just not a cool country until you've sent your troops into Iraq for some greater good.
posted by JWright at 12:55 PM on June 6, 2007


And so our plan is completed. The UK led invasion of America starts in a fortnight's time. I think we still have a handful of TAs and a Bedford truck left...
posted by twine42 at 12:53 PM on June 6


You lot got beaten by New England farmers the last time around.

And as much as I like the BBC, I'm not betting on the Brits in the Battle of South Central.
posted by Pastabagel at 12:57 PM on June 6, 2007


Turkey: They don't have any real strategic importance anymore...

Oh. My. Yes they do. And yes they will. Especially given the wonderful course of action "democratizing" Iraq has taken. We will need allies with a stable regime in the region... a stable secular regime. And you know that won't be Iraq.

This is the rock and hard place Bush has placed us. He bet it ALL on Iraq becoming a happy little client state. Instead he has spanked a hornets nest.

No matter which of traditional allies in the region we turn to to help us in Iraq we risk either destabilizing them (because either the populations of those countries or neighboring populations fucking hate our guts) or making them LESS democratic and more oppressive.

Turkey is the one exception not having as much of the Arab tribal problems and already having a stable somewhat secular democratic and popular regime. They will outlast Saudi Arabia... I guarantee it. Maybe even outlast Israel.

Everybody wants Iraq now. The water. The oil reserves. Every state there is going to carve out a piece when Iraq splits up. And all we will get is to fight the wars. We will need Turkey.
posted by tkchrist at 1:00 PM on June 6, 2007


It looks like the reports of a Turkish incursion are now being broadly denied.

False alarm, for now.


Oh. Jeez.

What did I say right out of the gate. Believe (and act on) exactly the opposite of the initial Bush administration "Constanza" instinct.

If this incursion is being broadly denied by the White House? You can bet it is NOT a false alarm.
posted by tkchrist at 1:05 PM on June 6, 2007


I infer a psywar aspect to these invasion alarums. They will cause major stand-to-attention activity throughout the region, irrespecive of whether they are true. The invasion threat may be aimed at the PKK--or may be the Talabani government. Or it may be that the G-8 meeting is the target. Turkey is seething with anger at the Kurds, perhaps as a distraction from its own struggle over secularism. Is Turkey ready to go to war to prevent an independent Kurdistan? I hope not, but I have been worried about the prospect ever since "shock and awe."

The authors of the Schlieffen Plan had no clue that their bright ideas would end the power of all the crowned heads of Europe. The authors of Operation Iraqi Fuq'p were heedless of the changes in the MIddle East that their "cakewalk" was sure to ignite.
posted by rdone at 1:23 PM on June 6, 2007


This is the reason why we invaded in the first place...er, now.

Back on topic: No question they’d have their hand in.
Not to get into Ataturk and their whole thing, but their philosophy of active neutrality bleeds into their foreign policy.
( “I’m not sayin’ anything, I’m just sayin’”)
And the Ottoman empire wasn’t so long ago. With better communication and perhaps a bit less acrimony among it’s diverse population (if they didn’t simply kick asses in response) they’d probably still be here. And they’re not all that respectful of what is in essence an arbitrary boarder based on their losses in WWI.
Given the foundations of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, I’d suspect their official response to be along the lines of: “Wha?” *shrug* “What’s the problem? I don’t have a problem. *frown* You got a problem?”
Which seems to be what Bilman’s saying.
Could force more cohesion into the Iraqi forces.
...Or, it could screw the whole thing even more.

Pretty tense situation.
*thump thump* *thump thump* *thump thump*
(Think Bush in the midst of this thing is going to get a visit from Laura who bares her breast against the glass and cries while he jerks off?)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:31 PM on June 6, 2007


Pasta: Actually, last time around they burnt the White House.

Derail over.
posted by absalom at 1:49 PM on June 6, 2007


If I catch someone vandalizing my house, I'm sure as heck gonna chase him - and if I catch up to him, I'm gonna tackle him wherever I do so.
posted by castironskillet at 1:58 PM on June 6, 2007


It looks like the reports of a Turkish incursion are now being broadly denied.

FPP article said the same thing:

"It is a hot pursuit, not an incursion."
posted by mrgrimm at 2:01 PM on June 6, 2007


Turkey's relations with the Europe, and the U.S. are of more importance in the last few years from a natural resource angle. With the gamesmanship over oil and natural gas in Russia, the Caucasus oil reserves are even more critical. And since, because of geography (Iran and Russia), oil pipelines that go through Western-friendly, stable, territory are becoming even more important.
posted by Helix80 at 2:17 PM on June 6, 2007


Saladin was Kurdish.

This is one of the most annoying bits of useless historical trivia I know of. Yeah, ethnically Saladin was Kurdish. So what? He didn't think of himself as a Kurd, he thought of himself as a Muslim (an orthodox Sunni Muslim, as opposed to the Ismaili Fatimids who had been running Egypt). Nobody at the time thought of him as a Kurd. You might as well make a big point of Eisenhower being ethnically German.
posted by languagehat at 2:46 PM on June 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


Turkey's relations with the Europe, and the U.S. are of more importance in the last few years from a natural resource angle. With the gamesmanship over oil and natural gas in Russia, the Caucasus oil reserves are even more critical. And since, because of geography (Iran and Russia), oil pipelines that go through Western-friendly, stable, territory are becoming even more important.

The Tigris and Euphrates also originate in Turkey.

The US kissed Turkey's ass in the past because they controlled sea access to the Crimea, and to Russia's only warm water port.

I don't think any western country has ever kissed Turkey's ass for anything, although I will agree that Turkey has in the past been perceived as a threat. The most obvious example being that of Churchill forcing the Turks into World War I, in an attempt to establish second front against the Germans, and unintentionally leading to the rise of Ataturk, the formation of a modern, secular Turkey, and in turn, the extermination of many non-Turks that occupied the fringes of what we now call Turkey. The Kurds to the east. The Armenians the the north. And the Greeks to the west, and notably into the sea, with allied forces watching. When the dust settled, some would argue that Turkey was allowed to retain control of "sea access" due to instability in the region, and despite the efforts of other western-supported powers, such as Greece, to expand in the region.

Whether the US has supplied arms to Turkey is a different story. And it should be pointed out that some of Turkey's historical enemies have turned out to be advocates of them joining the EU. The Ocalan thing, however, has proved a sticking point. Of course, if Turkey's economy were stronger, the EU probably would have overlooked this, much like the US/WTO overlooked Tiananmen Square.

As a side note, I think many examples of this region's modern tensions play out as "news stories" here in the US; that is to say, where acts of transgression - such as Turkey's de facto invasion of iraq, or Milosevic's involvement in the genocide at Srebrenica - are digested and responded to within a very historically narrow context. And to this extent, the fact that there are real problems popping up should come as no surprise. Real solutions, however, seem far away on the horizon.
posted by phaedon at 3:32 PM on June 6, 2007


The most obvious example being that of Churchill forcing the Turks into World War I, in an attempt to establish second front against the Germans

What the hell are you talking about? Turkey entered WWI on its own hook, and on the side of the Germans.
posted by languagehat at 3:34 PM on June 6, 2007


I didn't mean to derail the thread by getting all controversial and shit. clearly, the exact explanation of how and why turkey entered world war one is complex. i wanted to focus on churchill's decision to attack on the dardanelles, which cannot be defined as a retaliation for the fact that turkey attacked russia first, with the help of (and some would argue were seduced to do so by) the germans. i was wrong to use that wording, languagehat. but the issue remains an entertaining one to talk about.

up to that point, germany and turkey had a very bad political relationship. turkey's army was decimated after two balkan wars. and they also had longstanding tensions with russia, following the beat down they received in the Crimean War about fifty years prior, which is what most likely prompted them to side with the germans. churchill's decision to invade turkey was one of many of the table, laid out as options on how to deal with the germans, who were killing british soldiers at a rate of 2 to 1 on the western front, and not the turks, who for the most part were on the sidelines, but, as you correctly alluded to, dipped their toe with a naval attack on russian ports. of course these are the same ports that russia gained after the treaty of paris fell apart. but so goes the nature of the alliance system. my point was that turkey did not declare war on the united kingdom, per se. turkey was inevitably dragged into the war in this qualified sense because of its important strategic location on the map.

as a side note, if anyone is interested in understanding how the Allies and Turkey negotiated the break up of the Ottoman Empire following World War I, see Treaty of Sevres.
posted by phaedon at 4:23 PM on June 6, 2007


(Think Bush in the midst of this thing is going to get a visit from Laura who bares her breast against the glass and cries while he jerks off?)
MY EYES AUGH IT BURNS

smed, you referencing a movie? which one?
posted by scrump at 4:53 PM on June 6, 2007


My understanding is in agreement with phaedon, but he might have been better served by using the phrase "forcing the hand of the Turks to enter WWI". I don't think anyone is in doubt that they were on the side of the Germans, and nothing in phaedon's comments seems to suggest otherwise.
posted by Eekacat at 5:16 PM on June 6, 2007


phaedon: I'm still not really understanding you.

i wanted to focus on churchill's decision to attack on the dardanelles, which cannot be defined as a retaliation for the fact that turkey attacked russia first, with the help of (and some would argue were seduced to do so by) the germans.

Well, of course it wasn't a retaliation for the bombardment of Odessa and Sebastopol, which Churchill couldn't have cared less about; it was 1) a diversionary attack to relieve the pressure on other fronts and 2) more importantly for Churchill, a way to get him into the thick of things and have his military genius recognized (didn't work out so well). But I'm not seeing what that has to do with anything else under discussion here, specifically the relations of Western countries with Turkey. Turkey was an enemy power; why would it not be attacked?

up to that point, germany and turkey had a very bad political relationship.

This is pretty much the exact opposite of the truth. Germany had been helping reform, train, and equip the Ottoman army since the 1880s, in 1888 the Deutsche Bank arranged a loan for the sultan, in 1889 and 1898 Kaiser Wilhelm visited the empire (on the second occasion he visited Jerusalem and Damascus, where "he ostentatiously proclaimed the friendship of the German people for Islam"), in 1913 (after the Ottomans got their asses kicked in the Balkan Wars) the Germans sent another military mission under Liman von Sanders. When Enver raised the possibility of an alliance, the Germans initially reacted with a lack of enthusiasm because they thought the Ottoman army "would prove incapable of fighting a modern war, and... would therefore merely place an added burden on the resources of the Reich." They changed their mind in July 1914, and swiftly concluded a treaty agreement (signed August 2). (Quotes from A.L. Macfie's The End of the Ottoman Empire.)

Turkey was not in any sense "inevitably dragged into the war"; after much dissension among the leadership, it decided to get involved because it thought Germany would win and it wanted to be on the winning side.
posted by languagehat at 5:20 PM on June 6, 2007


after much dissension among the leadership, it decided to get involved because it thought Germany would win

Well unfortunately I can't carry much of a conversation when it comes to internal Turkish politics. Which is unfortunate, because that period seems particularly vibrant. I would venture to say that the Turks entered the war in an effort to salvage the Ottoman Empire, and not much else. However, your point about Germany actively seeking an alliance with Pasha through Sanders is well taken; especially the notion that Germany had serious economic interests in the region.

Much can be said about the Greeks sympathizing with the Germans as well, in large part due to the King's family connections with German royalty. Which explains to some degree that while Venizelos was enthusiastic about supporting the Allies in the region with Greek troops, he repeatedly fell short in his ability to meet that commitment due to local political interference. On top of that, the land that Greece was to gain under Venizelos was lost almost immediately afterwards due the Greco-Turkish war, and more importantly due to limited ally interest in supporting Greece's expanded territorial acquisitions; which more or less brings us to how Turkey ended up retaining access to the Sea of Marmara, and of course the eventual relocation of millions of non-Turks.

If my "dragged into the war" line is still driving you batty, I guess you'll have to accept that I look at it from the "that was the dumbest thing they could've done" perspective. By which I am obviously referring to the spectacular naval offensive raised against the inept army that fought to defend its home turf. Were it not for that one, fateful decision to (again) "bring turkey into the war", i would say their role in the war would have been almost non-existent. i mean, would turkey have committed troops to fight the allies in mainland europe? I just can't imagine it playing out that way.

and so I'm wary of diving into the hypothetical deep end with you here, so i've just fallen into a descriptive mode, furthermore shying away from any predictions as to how the US will come down on this act of aggression. plus you called me out, and rightly so, so i think i'll just shrink away into the corner for now.
posted by phaedon at 6:46 PM on June 6, 2007


Aw, come on, we were just having fun! I'm sorry I sounded so harsh; it's just the Internet Fuckwad factor. There's nothing I love better than arguing about history, and you were making some good points. I just didn't understand the bit about Turkey being forced to enter the war. And I don't think the Ottoman army was inept at all; they did, after all, fight off the Brits and the Russians simultaneously. Now, the Austrians, there's an inept army!
posted by languagehat at 7:09 PM on June 6, 2007


Much can be said about the Greeks sympathizing with the Germans as well, in large part due to the King's family connections with German royalty.

phaedon,

Greece entered the war very early, after the invasion from Italy, and there was never any, even tiny, part of the population --but also the extended political spectrum-- that supported Germany. Venizelos' unfortunate maneuvering was the result of interference from several powers, Russia and Brittain are only two. The king may have sympathized with Germany and he and his German lineage were (and are today) considered a vile, outside imposition and very few Greeks would follow his wishes. Greeks naively at the time disregarded the power and the wishes of the Great Powers, thought that they could recreate the Byzantine empire, and of course lost. 1922 was the result of outside not inside the then country political pressure. I don't know where you get your facts from, they are just wrong.
posted by carmina at 7:53 PM on June 6, 2007


to clarify, in the fist part of my answer I refer to WWII, obviously. </small?
posted by carmina at 8:00 PM on June 6, 2007


carmina, i didn't mean to suggest that the "local political interference" i was referring to (as working against venizelos) materialized as anything even remotely like "the will of the people". i was referring to the king as local political interference, plain and simple.

"Constantine had reluctantly consented to the [Venizelos] plan at first when it was presented to the Crown Council. He changed his mind when his Chief of Staff, Metaxas, carried his opposition to the use of Greek troops against the Dardanelles to the point of submitting and publishing his resignation. Venizelos tried to regain his consent by reducing the commitment from an army corps to a single division. The king absolutely refused. Venizelos resigned, and the king called on Dimitrios Gounaris, an old opponent of Venizelos who had the reputation of being pro-German, to form a government... Venizelos hastened to assure the allies again that Greece would carry out her obligations to Serbia in the event of a Bulgarian attack. He also persuaded the Serbs to offer concessions to Bulgaria to avert such an attack. But Constantine was known to be talking in a quite different sense."

p. 197-8, C.M. Woodward, "Modern Greece"

we are sort of talking about greece in world war one; greece's pro-ally stance in world war two is not being questioned here by me. moreover, the point i was trying to get across to languagehat by raising the constantine/venizelos dichotomy is that this history is better understood as a history of men, not of countries. since he and i are arguing in part over the nature and extent of turkey's commitment to germany, i was just pointing out that i don't know all the local turkish players at the time, but i imagine there was quite a colorful variety of dissent inside the cabinet, as there was in neighboring greece.
posted by phaedon at 8:21 PM on June 6, 2007


So how does this all play out when viewed through the Armageddonist mindset?
posted by five fresh fish at 9:40 PM on June 6, 2007


scrump: Midnight Express
(and to a lesser degree, The Cable Guy and Airplane!)
posted by Smedleyman at 12:05 PM on June 7, 2007


etaoin: I have to say that when I visited Turkey in the late 1980s, the Turks were wonderful people--friendly, helpful, courteous, fans of the US, etc. Except for one thing. Not a single one could resist saying the most awful, racist kinds of things about the Kurds.

Tragically, I've experienced the same thing. I was at an international conference with some Turkish delegates, and was (coincidentally) reading one of Nick Danziger's books, where he described going into Kurdish refugee camps.

One of the Turks sees me and pipes up "You don't want to believe any of that."
I demur and ask if the camps exist.
"Sure, but they were probably up to something. You can't trust those Kurds."
And the Kurds with bullet wounds or scars from torture?
"They probably did it to themselves just to cause trouble."
posted by outlier at 7:45 AM on June 8, 2007


Turkey 'determined' to defeat PKK
posted by taosbat at 10:47 AM on June 8, 2007


Iraq protests Turkey's shelling of Kurdish rebels
posted by taosbat at 9:20 AM on June 9, 2007


« Older Anything you do as many times as a successful acto...  |  “All patriots, men and women, ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments