Erdogan bombs Kurds in Turkey
Another twist in our war against Islamic State. The government of Turkey bombed the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) in southern Turkey on Sunday in retaliation for attacks on Turkish forces. It's the first time in two years Ankara has bombed the Kurds.
There was no immediate comment from the military on the report that it bombed Kurdish positions, once a regular occurrence in southeast Turkey but something that had not taken place for two years.
Hurriyet said the air strikes on Sunday caused "major damage" to the PKK. They were launched after three days of PKK attacks on a military outpost in Hakkari province near the Iraqi border, it added.
"F-16 and F-4 warplanes which took off from (bases in the southeastern provinces of) Diyarbakir and Malatya rained down bombs on PKK targets after they attacked a military outpost in the Daglica region," Hurriyet said.
It said the PKK had attacked the outpost for three days with heavy machine guns and rocket launchers. The general staff said in a statement it had "opened fired immediately in retaliation in the strongest terms" after PKK attacks in the area, but did not mention air strikes.
Jailed PKK co-founder Abdullah Ocalan has said peace talks between his group and the Turkish state could come to an end by Wednesday. After visiting him in jail last week, Ocalan's brother Mehmet told reporters the PKK leader had said: "We will wait until Oct. 15. We will convey to the visiting delegations our thoughts. After that there will be nothing we can do."
The peace process with the Kurds is one of the main initiatives of President Tayyip Erdogan's decade in power, and its potential collapse shows the difficulty Turkey has had in designing a Syria policy. Turkey has already taken in some 1.2 million refugees from Syria's three-year civil war, including 200,000 Kurds who fled the area around Kobani in recent weeks.
Our NATO ally is bombing our ally in Iraq and Syria. American planes are carrying out dozens of strikes on behalf of the Kurds while Turkey stands idle. It seems pretty clear by now that Turkey will not lift a finger to help the Kurdish defenders of Kobane and will hit the PKK inside Turkey even if it means the end of the peace process.
To say that our Syrian policy is an embarrassing failure would be an understatement. Turkey wants to fight Bashar Assad and the Kurds, not ISIS. The Kurds seem willing to help but are being kept at arms length because we don't want to upset Turkey. It's a mess with no solution presenting itself.
This is what happens when an ill-thought out policy is put into action. One week, the president admitted we didn't have a policy. The next, he says we did. It is painfully obvious no one thought through all the ramifications and permutations of the policy before going ahead with it.
Our foreign policy is being run by dunderheads.