Kurd Sellout Watch, Day 236

Maybe the Turks aren’t coming after all.

It’s starting to look as though Turkish troops won’t be deployed in Iraq after all.

The Bush administration’s invitation was never a good idea, because long-standing animosities between Turks and Kurds were certain to cause bloodshed if the two groups came in close proximity. (Others in Iraq harbored an irrational fear that the Ottoman Empire was reconstituting itself and opposed Turkish deployment on those grounds.) The outraged opposition to a Turkish military presence prompted Ankara to reconsider whether sending troops was worthwhile, given that public opinion in Turkey is against it.

Now John Hendren and Esther Schrader of the Los Angeles Times report that civil administrator Paul Bremer—who reportedly put heavy-handed pressure on the Iraqi Governing Council a couple of weeks ago to prevent it from issuing a formal statement opposing Turkish deployment—has thrown in the towel. Citing anonymous sources, Hendren and Schrader report that Bremer made “a strong recommendation” that the plan be abandoned.

Meanwhile, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan says talks between his country and the United States have been suspended. When asked about this today, State Department spokesman Adam Ereli equivocated a bit, saying that talks were still going on, just not in Ankara. Presumably that means that somebody—most likely, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, who just arrived in Iraq—is working the Iraqi Governing Council. But Chatterbox doesn’t see how Wolfowitz can sell the Turkish deployment to them. “We are still working—we are still working to—to bring this idea to pass,” said Ereli. That may be code for, “This plan is going down the drain.” If so, good riddance to it.

Kurd Sellout Watch Archive:
Oct. 20, 2003: Day 232
Oct. 7, 2003: Day 219
July 27, 2003: Day 147
July 23, 2003: Day 143
May 16, 2003: Day 75
May 1, 2003: Day 60
April 25, 2003: Day 54
April 23, 2003: Day 52
April 18, 2003: Day 47
April 10, 2003: Day 39
April 3, 2003: Day 32
March 26, 2003: Day 24
March 25, 2003: Day 23
March 23, 2003: Day 21
March 21, 2003: Day 19
March 20, 2003: Day 18
March 17, 2003: Day 15
March 14, 2003: Day 12
March 11, 2003: Day 9
March 6, 2003: Day 4
March 4, 2003: Day 2
March 3, 2003: “How Screwed Are the Kurds?”