Turkish parliament rejects US troops

So, the Turkish parliament listens to its constituents and votes not to allow the US to invade Iraq from Turkey.

I’m sad about that, because I think it means a longer war when it comes, and quite possibly more American dead.

On the other hand I think it would be great if it meant that Turkey cannot be bought. Wouldn’t that be a great day for ideals in triumph over realpolitik? Is that what it means?

Or does this mean that representative democracy is alive and well in Asia Minor? Does it show that a working democracy is possible in predominantly Islamic states?

Or is it an example of Islamic solidarity?

It means someone (presumably the Turkish negotiating team) made a small miscalculation / misjudged in what it would take to bribe the Turkish parliament. They almost got their maths right, just not quite. Nothing more, IMHO.

Apparently it was :
the British government:

Although I think there is a difference between the bribing we are talking about. In your case (I’m only assuming here), you meant individual bribes, whereas it’s well-known the US and British governments are giving debt relief and paying for …I think it was all costs Turkey has during the pending war, but I’m not sure PRECISLY what it is.

I think all this vote means is that the US and British negotiatiors are going to bust ass before the next vote to get the majority they need. They were close in the first vote (less than 75, IIRC, votes out of a 550 person voting body with 19 abstentions), so it shouldn’t be too hard to get the numbers they need. All the US and Britian need to say is that it will improve the state of things in Turkey and that they can treat their Kurds anyway they want and things will toe the US/British war party line.

I personally like the results of the first vote. I think it’s a really good thing that countries you would imagine the US would walk all over in their war on terrorism are standing up for themselves and what their people want. And maybe, as a complete from left-field long-shot, the US will see that without Turkey the costs of moving troops will both hurt strategic movements on the ground and rise the total cost of the war and decide that it’s just not worth it.
I think I’ll get a date with Laura Prepon before that happens, though.


I heard that the USA did not pay Turkey their promised debt relief/‘bribe’ for Gulf War Part I.

Is this true?

If support of the Kurds is sought in Northern Iraq what will be the result of US support of a Kurdish state and Turkish efforts to surpress such a state?

The US won’t support an independent Kurdish state, for Turkish reasons. They will support an Iraqi power sharing plan that gives the Kurds more involvement in the Iraqi government, however.

Will that still be true if Turkey doesn’t pony up with bases for an invasion? Are the present US bases in Turkey worth not having a Northern front in Iraq?

That all depends on how Iraq will prepare for war. They may think that the Northern front, without Turkish support, isn’t as important to protect as the Southern front and put their better equipment and troops there. Granted, without Turkish support a Northern front will be harder, but still possible and it’s pretty good strategy to divide a nation’s army into two defensive fronts.

As for what happens to the Kurds without Turkish support of the US: not much, really. The US isn’t fighting for the liberation of the Kurds so a free Kurdish state isn’t all that important for their needs. I don’t see why they would go out of their way to help people when it could only politically hurt them with their best (probably) Islamic ally.


Having a northern front is more dependent on Turkey than on the Kurds - hence no independent Kurdish state. Besides that, guarantees of an independent state aren’t necessary for Kurdish participation. I don’t think they are going to have much of a choice since Hussein will likely attack them in the event of an invasion whether they support the US or remain sort of neutral.

Honestly, though, it would be best for the Kurds if Turkey didn’t get involved apart from allowing US use of their bases. I can’t see anything good coming from having Turkish forces roaming through Kurdish lands.

But that’s just my opinion, and IAMNAExpert.

I agree that the Kurds would be best off without Turks in Iraq-- mainly because I think many of them couldn’t stand it, regardless of how well-intentioned and well-behaved the Turks were. I think I would lose it, myself. And, I don’t expect the Tirks intentions are so noble nor will their behavior be so fine.

But it’s hard to argue that the US will suddenly support an independent Kurdish state. We’ve never done it before, and have so influenced the powers-that-be there now that they claim they don’t want a state of their own, but just to be part of a federal Iraq. Now that doesn’t seem likely to me.

Wow - for a war that is ostensibly intended to make the region safer, the only neighbor of Iraq that could be convinced at all to join the effort wants to be paid for it. Now, why in the world might the Turkish people and government not think this is a good idea that they should join anyway? Mightn’t they be right?

And how reliable is an “ally” that has to be bought?

According the the Los Angeles Times theirinterviews with Turkish legislators indicate that a perceived arrogant and insensitive US administration cost a lot of support.

This “I’m right and you are either with us or against us” attitude could easily cost us vital support from others in limiting the ability of terror groups to damage all nations.

As an example the recent capture of the Al Qaeda operations bigwig was in Pakistan with the cooperation of Pakistani security. Had GW and Wolfowitz et al alienated them too, the capture probably wouldn’t have happened.

It looks to me like GW not only isn’t interested in the views of foreign leaders or populations, but he seems almost comptemptous of them. Instead of working with others to find and answer he appears to conceive his job as being to bribe or bully others into doing along. And there seem to be many in the US who agree.

From their viewpoint, the Turks have played it smart.

They’ve pandered to their Moslems fundies, Euro-wannabe peacnicks, and isolationists all in one vote.

Now the US and UK will mass their troops for invasion from the south of Iraq. Iraq can only spare minimal defenses on their Turkish border.

So when the shooting starts, the Turkish army (the true power in Turkey since the 1920’s) will decree that they must invade Iraq to stabilize the Kurdish situation, and reap a real estate gain greater than the dollar amount than the US was prepared to fork over.

Here is an excellent article about Kurds in Turkey. Turkey has for years been trying to have the Kurds declared as terrorists by the United Nations. It’s a shame that Stalin, Churchill, and Truman didn’t include them when they drew lines in the sand. The only response from the West to the plight of the Kurds has been a run on Kurdish handmade rugs.

Actually, Turkey is a secular state. If it were to become an Islamic state, something that causes the rest of the world apprehension, or an fundamentalist Islamic state, something that strikes fear into the rest of the world, Turkey would most probably withdraw from NATO. The ramifications to that are immense, especially to US presence and influence in the Middle East.

In fact, the difference was much less than 75 votes – it was three votes. A majority of those voting actually voted IN FAVOR of the presence of American military (264-250), which is one of the reasons initial reports indicated that the measure had passed. The measure didn’t pass because, under Turkey’s Constitution, it needed a majority vote of the members of Parliament present, and not just a majority of the voting members. There were 19 abstentions (as well as 17 members of Parliament who didn’t attend the vote).

Where do you think Kuwait is located?

This is ridiculous on so many levels I don’t know where to begin. First, as noted above, a majority of the Turkish Parliament voted in favor of allowing the US to use its territory to launch attacks. Mightn’t they be right?

Second, why in the world would the American people and government support war? Mightn’t they be right?

And even if Turkey is legitimately opposed to the US launching attacks against Iraq from their soil, that certainly doesn’t mean it’s wrong for the US.

[insert Clinton/Marc Rich and/or Bush/Big Oil joke here]

I think your characterization of Turkey as being “bought” is pretty disengenuous. The grants are undoubtedly a big part of their consideration for supporting war, but it’s not like the money is going to be funnelled into the politicians’ pockets. The money will support defensive armaments to guard against the likelihood of an Iraqi attack against Turkey proper; it will help with the Kurdish refugees sure to come spilling across the border once Hussein launches his promised missile attacks against the Kurds; it will shore up the economy which will take a hit due to the war in a neighboring country; and it’s going to help build infrastructure and shore up an economy affected by the current global economic funk.

Wow. I was way off. And I mean WAY off.

God I love constitutional quirks. We get the election of 2000 that is decided by the Supreme Court (final tally from the Florida election: 5 to 4. HAHAHAHA. I love that joke), Le Pen the neo-nazi in the French presidential election, and a majority vote in the Turkish parliament isn’t enough to pass a decision. I have to learn how to write constitutions; it’s so much more amusing than television.


I think this was a screw-up by the Department of State. In an attempt to pressure Turkey, State kept ‘leaking’ details of the negotiations, claiming that Turkey was holding out for more money even after the amount was agreed on. The Turks felt that this made them look too much like they could be bought, and there was a backlash.

I wonder what Turkey’s chances are of “being protected” by NATO if Iraq attacks them - now that they have turned their back on their principal ally within NATO?

Turkey hardly needs “protection” in a military sense - the Turkish army is nothing to sneeze at vis-a-vis its neighbors.

The NATO angle was a political angle - the symbolism of the Patriots (which performed so shittily in the Gulf War after the real data was out).

You should recall Belgium, France and Germany, all NATO members, have been against early NATO deployment, and excluding the US none have made NATO protection conditional to playing ball with the US, not even GB. Now, if the US wants to continue its bullying ways, it can, but the political calculus is complicated, as Turkey , whose major trading partners are EU, wants into the EU. The EU states are overwhelmingly opposed to this war, even those whose governments are on board face popular majorities growing more and more opposed, etc.

Item last, per what I have heard, twas the Administration and not US State Department that was doing the heavy-handed leaking. It would at least be in keeping with their handling of diplomatic relations to date, and very much not like State at all. They seem to be afflicted with a strange belief publicly berating their allies will win them over.

According to polls the Turkish people are utterly and overwhelminlgy opposed to participation in a war with Iraq. America, is a headlong rush to bring democracy and representative government to the Middle East, does its level best to subvert the will of the people. You can’t make up ironic shit like this. Nobody would believe you.

My two bits says there will be another vote, and the resolution will pass. There’s just no percentage in pissing off the Big Dog.