USS Clueless - Discussions with Turkey

Stardate 20011227.0703

(On Screen): The prime minister of Turkey announced that the US has promised to discuss with Turkey any steps it might consider taking against Iraq.

There seem to be intensely mixed feelings in the Turkish government about the prospect for a major war there, and especially for the prospect of overturning Hussein. Their biggest fear is a resurgance of Kurdish nationalism, since one possibility is that the northern part of Iraq might end up as a sovereign Kurd nation which would then want the predominately Kurdish parts of Turkey along the border.

So there have been mixed signals coming from Turkey. A Turkish general came out and condemned the entire concept in public. But there have been other offers saying they'd agree to let us use Incirlik airbase.

This announcement by the prime minister seems to be a face-saving measure. The word "discuss" can be interpreted many ways. It might mean that the US would keep Turkey at the center of all planning and grant Turkey veto power. Or it might mean "Hey; the bombing starts in 5 minutes; you got anything to say 'bout that?" The reality is that it will probably be somewhere in between, but tending much more toward the latter. Turkey probably will be given some sort of warning ahead of time if we start moving seriously against Iraq. And if our plans involve Incirlik, then there will definitely be discussions about that. But Turkey will no more be given veto power than have any of our other allies who really wish they had it.

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