Kurdish rebels offered to stop crossing the Iraq border to attack soldiers in Turkey if the Turkish government drops threats to launch an offensive in Iraqi Kurdistan. Ankara began positioning troops along the border for a possible strike after a raid by Kurdish separatists killed a dozen infantrymen inside Turkey.
What the commentators said
Turkey has wisely held back so far, said The Washington Post in an editorial (free registration). The rebels of the Kurdish Workers Party, or PKK, “cannot quickly be eliminated by military means,” and Turkey would suffer much higher losses than it has so far if it tried to wipe out PKK bases in Kurdistan. Ankara should focus on getting the U.S. to step up pressure on Kurdish authorities in Iraq to rein in the guerrillas.
“The news out of Iraq just keeps getting worse,” said The New York Times in an editorial (free registration). The explosive situation on the Turkish border is just one more crisis created by the Bush administration’s failure to “plan for its misguided invasion—and one more problem it urgently needs to deal with as part of a swift and orderly exit from Iraq.” Ankara has a right to be mad, and it’s people want action, but Washington must push for a political solution before the conflict grows “into a regional war.”
Bush is “walking a fine line” here, said John Gizzi at HumanEvents.com. Turkey is furious over the House Foreign Affairs Committee’s recent approval of the “Armenian genocide resolution” by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. But there’s reason to be hopeful. The Turkish leaders who have threatened to crash into Iraq know that Pelosi was making a “calculated” attempt to hamper Bush’s Iraq policy, and that the president was fiercely opposed to damaging the relationship between the U.S. and Turkey by dredging up the past.