President Bush urged Turkey not to send troops into Iraq to fight Kurdish separatists after the Turkish parliament on Wednesday overwhelmingly approved cross-border military attacks. The news increased pressure on congressional Democrats to abandon an effort to condemn the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks 90 years ago as genocide. Ankara has warned that the resolution would severely damage relations between the U.S. and Turkey.
What the commentators said
The last thing Iraq needs is a cross-border by Turkey against Kurdish rebels, said Newsday in an editorial. That would “destabilize the most peaceful part” of the country. Democrats should drop their attempt to stamp the genocide label on the killing of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I. But it’s “far more important” for Washington and Baghdad to pressure Kurdish leaders to rein in the separatist rebels themselves.
Democrats look like they’re ready to do their part, said Patrick O’Connor in The Politico’s The Crypt blog. So many House members have withdrawn their support for the genocide resolution that Speaker Nancy Pelosi now acknowledges that there’s little chance the measure will pass. It looks like Turkey’s “explosive protests” and the White House’s “extensive lobbying” paid off.
This is the worst possible moment to drive away an ally as important as Turkey, said syndicated columnist Cal Thomas in the Sacramento Bee. The U.S. has “turned an important corner in Iraq with the reported disabling of al Qaida” there. Attacks across the border by Kurdish separatists have already frayed Ankara’s patience. Surely even staunch war opponents can see there’s no way to justify stirring “an already boiling pot” when it could negate recent progress in “quelling terrorists.”