Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Turkey vs. PKK

I started following this story a couple of weeks ago and it appears it is starting to have some very serious implications:
Concern that Turkey may attack Kurdish militants in Iraq and disrupt petroleum shipments pushed crude oil to a record price Tuesday, nudging $88 a barrel and extending a rally that has added $8 in a week.

But wait, it gets better:
The Turkish military has stepped up attacks against what it says are Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, bases in northern Iraq. The shelling comes just ahead of a vote in the Turkish Parliament on a bill authorizing a ground incursion against Kurdish fighters in Iraq. The military has reportedly amassed 60,000 troops along its border with Iraq. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged Turkey to refrain from any major military operation. But Washington's influence over Turkey appears to be waning.

Turkey's top general warned this weekend that US-Turkey relations would "never be the same again" if the United States House votes to declare the World War I-era mass killings of 1.5 million Armenians a genocide. Despite President Bush's plea, the House Foreign Affairs committee voted 27-21 Wednesday to call the killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks "systematic," "deliberate," and amounting to "genocide." Turkey recalled its ambassador to Washington last week.

And there's this too:
For the Bush administration the stakes of alienating Turkey are high. Turkey is a major cargo hub for U.S. and allied military forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. About 70 percent of U.S. air cargo and one-third of the fuel headed for Iraq goes through Turkey.

It has been suggested that they will remove our access to the critical Incirlik Air Base located in southern Turkey near the Syrian border.

Why has the Democratic congress decided to press the Armenian issue now, when tensions with Turkey are the highest in decades and the stakes even higher?

It is hard to escape the impression that they are trying to set back the good news from Iraq and counter the great successes of the last several months. Certainly, Bush will only benefit from lower gas prices and a successful Iraq. Can't have that in an election year.

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