June 29, 2007

TURKEY : A New York attorney's letter to Mr Erdoğan

EQUILIBRIUM BY BURAK BEKDIL


Friday, June 29, 2007
http://www.turkishdailynews.com.tr/
OPINIONS



Mark E. Langfan, author of “Iran: The Fourth Reichastan,” writes to Prime Minister Erdogan and predicts that Turkish and Kurdish soldiers would very soon be dying side-by-side against the Iranian Mahdish menace

BURAK BEKDIL
“For the security of Turkey, I beg you not to attack or invade Northern Kurdish Iraq,” a New York attorney wrote to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on June 4. “Ask yourself one question: Would Turkey rather have the Peshmerga as a suicidal enemy against a Turkish invasion to the south, or have the Peshmerga as a suicidal ally against a future Iranian invasion from the South.”

Attorney Mark E. Langfan is the author of the article “Iran: The Fourth Reichastan” published last December by the Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, an article which he enclosed in his letter to Mr Erdogan. Mr Langfan advises Mr Erdoğan (a) not to allow the Iranians to “bait you into a foolish losing tactical game of checkers against the Kurds when you have a wise winning strategic game of chess against the Iranians,” (b) not to look at the Kurds as Turkey's enemy of the past, but as Turkey's ally of the future, and (c) to treat “your Kurds and the Iraqi Kurds with the love of a brother in battle.” Very soon, Mr Langfan predicts, Turkish and Kurdish soldiers will be dying side-by-side against the waxing Iranian Mahdish menace.



Turkish and Kurdish soldiers are dying side-by-side

Well, Turkish and Kurdish soldiers have been dying side-by-side for more than two decades against the waxing Kurdish separatism, not against the waxing Iranian Mahdish menace.

We can safely guess that about a quarter of the 8,000 soldiers and officers killed by the PKK should be of Kurdish origin, just like the young man whom his crying mother laid to his final rest with the tunes of a Kurdish requiem this week: He was a conscript in the Turkish Army. Apart from the conscripts, in Turkey's southeast there have traditionally been 15-20 times more Kurdish paramilitary troops fighting Kurdish separatists than Kurdish separatists fighting Turkish security forces.

We have no means to know how much Mr Erdogan should agree with Mr Langfan's views, his ‘concerns for Turkey' and his advice for a future Turkish-Kurdish comradeship against the ‘Fourth Reichastan.' We have no means to know why exactly Mr Langfan felt the need to take an individual initiative for the best interests of a country that has not been terribly popular in the American public since March 1, 2003.

We can only guess that Mr Langfan, like many influential Washington figures -- and perhaps justly – is worried about the Fourth Reichastan. Naturally Mr Langfan believes, like many influential Washington figures, that it would be best if “those crazy Turks” and the “suicidal Peshmerga” allied against the “Mahdish menace.” It makes sense – theoretically.



Fair advice, unrealistic justification

Mr Langfan's opening sentence in his letter to Mr Erdogan (“For the security of Turkey, I beg you not to attack or invade Northern Kurdish Iraq”) is agreeable for many reasons of realpolitik nature. But he probably does not need to beg Mr Erdoğan for the prime minister –fortunately, but for wrong reasons—has no intention to order an invasion. The New York attorney's advice is fairly consistent with reality, but his justifications for that advice and suggestions for an anti-Persian crusade in this part of the world are not.

In practical terms, Mr Langfan is suggesting that the Turks should not weep but cheer over their dead soldiers and hail Kurdish separatism that causes it only to cleverly fight a future and semi-virtual enemy. We have no means to know if Mr Langfan wrote to the Iraqi Kurdish and/or PKK leadership advising them to unconditionally stop violence and threaten Turkey's territorial integrity.

But he should be able to understand that the idea of playing the tolerant big brother vis-à-vis a terribly naughty younger brother for the possibility of fighting the other naughty boys in the neighborhood would not work. Every name added to Turkey's huge list of victims of Kurdish terror makes Mr Langfan's dream scenario even more remote from reality.

If Mr Langfan is so terribly worried about the Mahdi menace, perhaps he should advise President George W. Bush (a) not to look at the Sunni insurgents in Iraq as America's enemy of the past, but as its ally of the future, and (b) to treat radical Sunni Arabs with the love of a brother in battle. For very soon, American and al-Qaeda soldiers may be dying side-by-side against the waxing Iranian Mahdish menace.

No comments: