Monday, October 29, 2007

A conflict waiting to happen, October 28, 2007

By Eric Margolis

No one should be surprised by the dangerous crisis between Turkey and Iraq-based Kurdish separatists.

Critics long warned the U.S. invasion of Iraq would inevitably release the genii of Kurdish nationalism. Creation of a virtually independent, U.S.-backed Kurdish state in northern Iraq was certain to provoke Turkish fury.

A decade ago, I covered the low intensity war in Eastern Anatolia between Kurdish PKK guerillas and the Turkish army. At the time, the world ignored this ugly conflict in which 35,000 people had died. I came away torn by sympathy for both sides.

In recent weeks, Turkish-Kurdish tensions erupted. Marxist-nationalist PKK guerillas (Turks brand them terrorists) fighting for an independent nation for Turkey's 20 million or so Kurds killed 12 Turkish soldiers and captured eight.

Hundreds of Turkish soldiers have been killed in Turkish Anatolia by Kurdish fighters known as "pesh-merga."

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