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Will The Us Change The Middle East This Way?

by Murat Yetkin - 17 November 2004

Just after a two-year-old child lost his leg during the US operation in Fallujah, US television network CBS began reporting on how an injured unarmed Iraqi was shot in a mosque by a US soldier. The Pentagon stated that it would start an investigation. However, some analysts said that that soldier who shot the Iraqi might not be punished on the grounds that Iraqi insurgents booby trap themselves with explosives attached to their bodies. In 1992, the body of a PKK militant who died during the conflict in the southeastern Anatolian region was tied to a tank and dragged. Turkey faced weapon, economic and political embargoes due to photos of this incident. Do you think such a thing will happen due to the mosque incident in Fallujah? Does anybody remember the torture scandal in Iraq's Abu Gharib prison just eight months ago? I also thought this incident would hurt US President George W. Bush's reputation before the presidential elections. However, most Americans ignored it. Following the elections, Bush stepped up the violence of the Iraq military operation. What's more, he announced this in Brussels, when Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi was invited to an EU interim summit. Allawi sent envoys to Iraq's neighbors, including Turkey, saying, 'Don't be in a rush to protest. You also favor stability in Iraq. We all need it.' Following Secretary of State Colin Powell's resignation, Bush now feels he has free rein to do whatever he wants.

However, when incidents like that in Fallujah began to be heard, these violations of human rights started to fall over Europe and the Middle East like a black shroud. Not even Palestinian President Yasser Arafat's death could overshadow it. The Turkish public is anxious about incidents in Iraq for other reasons as well. Beyond the Kurdish fait accompli and the presence of the PKK, every day another Turkish truck driver or worker dies there. One-fourth of those kidnapped in Iraq are Turkish. What's more, yesterday the war drew nearer to our border. US forces began an operation in Mosul. Last week, a retired ambassador from an American think-tank visited Ankara. His aim was to find the sources of anti-American feelings in Turkey and ways to address this. Now we should say to him, 'Just open your eyes to what is happening'.

- Turkish Press  (17 November 2004)

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revised 18 November 2005