Turkish Rulers’ Challenge to U.S. Leading to Wider War

The New York Times and its chief foreign correspondent Thomas Friedman are worried that the Democrats are helping the Bushites squeeze Iraq out of the 2008 Presidential election debate. Says Friedman (NYT, 10/24), “All the leading Democratic contenders have signaled that they will not precipitously withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq, but the air has gone out of the Iraq debate.” A Times editorial (10/20) complained that, “It was bad enough having a one-party government when the Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. But the Democrats took over, and still the one-party system continues.” These liberal rulers are very concerned about the Bushites’ mishandling of this war.

But Iraq isn’t going away. Witness the escalating crisis between the Turkish army and the PKK guerrillas (Workers’ Party of Kurdistan). A hypocritical U.S. Congressional resolution about Turkish genocide against Armenians during World War I helped worsen the crisis. Turkey’s rulers are threatening a military assault on PKK bases inside Iraq (authorized by Turkey’s Parliament). The Turkish army has massed 100,000 troops at its border with Iraq to attack PKK bases in Iraq’s northern mountains.

The Bush administration is trying to forestall a Turkish invasion. After all, northern Iraq is controlled by Kurdish forces which have sided with U.S. imperialism in the Iraq war. Relatively it’s the most stable area in Iraq. It also contains some of the largest oil deposits near the city of Kirkuk, which the Kurdish nationalists have given Bush’s pal Hunt Oil rights to develop (see CHALLENGE, 10/31, on Hunt’s competition with the Eastern Establishment’s big oil outfits like Exxon-Mobil). Turkish rulers want to control that oil, opposing its control by Kurdish nationalists.

The Iraq war has sharpened all the contradictions in Eurasia. Since World War II, Turkish bosses have been loyal allies of U.S. imperialism, particularly during the Cold War against the old Soviet Union. But times have changed. Turkish rulers now want a bigger piece of the pie. An article by George Friedman, head of Stratfor Intelligence Report, entitled “Turkey as a Regional Power” (10/23) says:

“Cautious in World War II and strictly aligned with the United States during the Cold War, Turkey played a passive role: It either sat things out or allowed its strategic territory to be used….The situation has changed dramatically.

“In 2006, Turkey had the 18th largest economy in the world — larger than that of any other Muslim country, including Saudi Arabia — and the economy has been growing…between 5 percent and 7 percent a year for five years.…It has a substantial and competent military…. It also is surrounded by chaos.

“Apart from Iraq to the south, there is profound instability in the Caucasus to the north and the Balkans to the northwest.…Turkey has a vested interest in stabilizing the region. It no longer regards the United States as a stabilizing force…. It views the Russians as a long-term threat to its interests and sees Russia’s potential return to Turkey’s frontier as a long-term challenge.” Several of the old Soviet republics now sit as a buffer between Russia and Turkey but the Turks see the Russians flexing their oil-powered muscles to possibly threaten Turkey over the long run. Historically Russian and Turkish rulers have always fought over control of the oil in the Caucuses and Caspian Sea region.

Meanwhile, the U.S., while saying it opposes terrorism, actually supports a Kurdish guerrilla group in Iran which is aligned with the PKK and shares its same mountain bases in northern Iraq. So the U.S. is playing a dangerous game, simultaneously trying to placate the Turkish ruling class and the U.S.’s Kurdish allies ruling northern Iraq. Some in the Bush administration haven’t forgiven Turkish bosses for barring a U.S. invasion of Iraq from Turkey in 2003. But huge amounts of supplies used by the U.S. invaders in Iraq now come through Turkey, including a U.S. air base in southern Turkey. And Turkish troops are helping NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Kurdish nationalists are preparing for another sellout of their aspirations for a separate state composed of Kurds in Turkey, Iraq, Iran and Syria. In the past, the Kurdish nationalists have become pawns of Iran’s Shah, Saddam Hussein and other regional despots. The PKK, which claims to be “Marxist,” is no different. It’s basically a nationalist group aligning itself with U.S. imperialism and the pro-U.S. Kurdish rulers of northern Iraq. Its sister guerrilla group in Iran is becoming a U.S.-Israeli bosses’ weapon for a war against the mullahs there.

However, many Kurdish workers and youth have often supported what they view as Marxist groups looking for a revolutionary answer to the national oppression Kurds have suffered at the hands of the Turkish, Iraqi, Iranian, Syrian and imperialist bosses. These workers and youth must unite with their brothers and sisters region-wide to build a red-led movement fighting for the only solution to this imperialist hell: communism.

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