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IRAQ: War and peace

A number of messages have been received favoring or opposing war on Iraq. What should be stressed is the attitude of other countries with a direct interest in the conflict. This is taken from a Reuters report: "Turkey is trying to dissuade the US from launching a military attack on Iraq, Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit said (7/31/02) . The US has made no secret of its determination to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. Any military action to do so would almost certainly require cooperation from Turkey, a NATO ally to the north of Iraq. "We are carrying out both military and political preparation. On the other hand, if there is a military operation that affects Turkey, like it or not it will affect us. So we are trying to deter the US administration from a military operation," Ecevit told the Sabah newspaper. His comments came after a busy day of talks in Ankara on US plans for the breakaway Kurdish region of northern Iraq. Columnist Murat Yetkin wrote in Radikal that the discussions came in response to US plans to host a meeting of Iraqi opposition leaders. Among them would be leaders of the Kurdish enclave in northern Iraq, which has been outside Baghdad's control since the 1991 Gulf War and protected by US and British warplanes based in Turkey. Turkey's military establishment is concerned that the Kurdish administration on its southern border fosters separatism among Turkey's own Kurdish citizens. "(The US) is saying that they will never allow the foundation of a Kurdish state in northern Iraq," Ecevit said in Sabah. "But it has essentially been set up. It was set up in essence after the Kuwait operation. This has damaged Turkey greatly. If the US tries to take it further, Turkey will be damaged much more." Yetkin said. "Turkey's concerns about a probable US Iraq operation have deepened. Ankara expects a detailed statement from Washington on its plans for the Kurds in Iraq."

Ronald Hilton - 8/2/02