2003 March 28 Friday
Why Turkey Rejected US Troop Deployment Request

The Washington Post has an article by Glenn Kessler and Philip P. Pan tracing the twists and turns and negotiating mistakes made on the part of both Turkish and US officials on the issue of US troop deployments to Turkey to open a northern front on the attack on Iraq. The Turkish military was happy to see the negotiations fail.

At the same time, Turkey's military and political elite is not as powerful as it once was. In November's elections, voters threw out all of the previous governing parties and allowed the fledgling, anti-establishment Justice and Development Party to form a government on its own. The military, which has long viewed itself as the guardian of a secular Turkish state, viewed the result with alarm because the party has roots in political Islam. The military therefore had its own reasons for wanting the country's new leaders to fail in their first major test with Washington.

The Turkish rejection may provide the US with a net benefit in the long run. The US will not have to give Turkey billions of dollars in aid. More importantly, the US will have a freer hand in trying to determine how much autonomy the Kurdish region will have in Iraq. The big US mistake was to hang on so long with the 4th Infantry Division waiting to see if the Turks would change their minds. The article attributes that decision to Tommy Franks. It would also have been prudent to have a substitute for the 4th I.D. well on its way to Kuwait in case the deal with Turkey didn't pan out.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 March 28 01:11 AM  Politics Grand Strategy


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