Q&A Friday #76: Does Turkey Have A Right To Cross The Iraqi Border And Attack The PKK?

Question: “Do you think Turkey has a right to cross the border into Iraq to take out the PKK?” — BIG

Answer: The PKK has been crossing the border, murdering Turks and then running back into Kurdistan for more than a decade. Since we invaded, the Turks have given the US and the Kurds every chance in the world to do something about the PKK, and nothing of significance has been done.

So, do the Turks have a right to cross the border and try to take out these terrorists who are attacking them? Yes, they do have a right to defend themselves.

That doesn’t change the fact that it’s not something we want to see happen because it’s politically complicated and problematic for us. Kurdistan is the most stable part of Iraq and having the Turks stomping around may cause a lot of problems. Moreover, we really don’t want our Iraqi allies fighting with our Turkish allies in a country we’re trying to help stabilize.

On the upside, we don’t have a lot of troops in Kurdistan and I expect we won’t be sending any up there, so it’s unlikely that our troops will be put in a situation where we have to start slaughtering the Turks wholesale.

PS: The fact that George Bush hasn’t taken any real steps to deal with the PKK means that he deserves a healthy share of the blame for letting things get to this point between Kurdistan and Turkey.

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