Turkey-PKK conflict highlights American arrogance

Emily Percival

Emily PercivalFor those of us who perceive a growing arrogance in American culture, itself exposed by the very term “American”: aren’t Canadians from America, too? And Mexicans and, oh yeah, there’s a whole continent down there somewhere bearing the same name: for those of us who spend more time wincing at the image of the “American” than rejoicing in it, the conflict between Turkey and the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) highlights exactly the type self-righteous behavior that has served as the marker of the current administration.

The PKK has been launching attacks into Turkey from a part of northern Iraq largely under U.S. military control. Turkey, upset that the U.S. has not done more to stem the PKK, has proposed and approved plans for an invasion into Iraq. In a press conference, President Bush said, “We are making it very clear to Turkey that we don’t think it is in their interest to send troops into Iraq.”

Obviously Turkey disagrees. They have their own national security at stake, and somehow President Bush thinks he has the authority to halt their efforts to protect themselves? After the boondoggle of a war that President Bush started in the name of national security? The U.S. faces the embarrassment of having a NATO ally invade territory we control, expressly against our wishes.

All I can say is, too bad. We have exercised our moral and political authority to great consequence, and the amount of arrogance required to tell other nations how to protect themselves after our own failures is astounding.

That said, perhaps it isn’t such a great idea for Turkey to invade Iraq. The U.S. government has legitimate concerns that such an invasion might destabilize the area: though that raises the question, how stable is the area, really, if the PKK is hiding out there and launching deadly attacks? It is clear that all parties have valid concerns, and that something must be done to eliminate the PKK attacks.

Iraqi Prime Minister al-Maliki originally said he would not turn over a single Kurd (not “even a Kurdish cat” were his exact words), though he has now come to a less forgiving stance, promising to stop the PKK attacks on Turkey. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice will travel to Turkey this week to negotiate with Turkey and prevent the invasion.