Tuesday, October 9, 2012

World needs Turkey-Syria peace

Webster Griffin Tarpley
October 7, 2012
Thirty-nine years after the 1973 October War between Arabs and Israelis, the Middle East may once again be close to a general conflagration. For the last four days, Turkish military forces have been firing howitzers at targets inside Syria, in what Ankara says is retaliation for a few stray Syrian mortar shells which have landed on Turkish territory.
World needs Turkey-Syria peace
On Thursday, the Turkish parliament authorized the government of Prime Minister Erdogan and Foreign Minister Davutoglu to undertake other military actions against Syria. In a bellicose speech to a crowd in Istanbul, Erdogan said that “those who attempt to test Turkey’s deterrence, its decisiveness, its capacity, I say here they are making a fatal mistake… we are not interested in war, but we’re not far from war either. This nation has come to where it is today having gone through intercontinental wars.”

This tragic situation raises the perspective of a fratricidal war between Turks and Syrian Arabs, something from which only the United States, the British, NATO, and Israel could benefit. Such a war would validate warnings issued over the last 18 months that the destabilization of Syria could well repeat the role of the Spanish Civil War of 1936-39 as a kind of dress rehearsal and detonator for a much larger and more ruinous conflict.

Russia and other partners of both Turkey and Syria have repeatedly called for restraint on both sides, and it is the duty of all persons of good will across the world to join in these appeals. As a friend of Turkey, the present writer certainly does so. In the course of separate visits to Ankara and Istanbul in 1987 organized with the help of the late Minister of State Adnan Kahveci, I interviewed Prime Minister Turgut Ozal, Foreign Minister Vahit Melih Halefoglu, Defense Minister Zeki Yavuzturk, and Housing and Construction Minister Safa Giray, who at that time was directing the construction of the great Ataturk Dam. A second trip allowed me to interview Bedrettin Darlan, the Mayor of Istanbul, who was carrying out important public works for his city. In those days, no foreign visitor could fail to be impressed by the rapid economic progress being realized by Turkey.

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