Gerger: ground operation is a failing military adventure


Turkey’s machines wouldn’t have run but for the support of the United States since the Second World War, says analyst Gerger
Professor Haluk Gerger is one of the most lucid and sharp analyst of the political situation in Turkey, the developments and changes in the Kurdish question, the changes in the Middle East in regard to America.
Asked for a comment on the latest words by Interior minister ?dris Naim ?ahin who said that a ground operation into North Iraq (i.e. the Federal Kurdish Region) could be launched at any time, Gerger said: “The operation would be a military adventure as there are no untried methods left as far as the military is concerned. So, there is no sense in repeating something which has been tried before and proved a failure. Turkey knows this well and therefore it needs to receive an active strategic-military support from both the United States and the Kurdish government in South Kurdistan. If it get this support, it may launch a ‘new operation under new circumstances’. Otherwise, an operation will only be the repetition of a failure and defeat which Turkey probably will not risk”.
Gerger elaborated further adding that “There are two significant factors as to a cross-border land invasion; the U.S. on one hand and the need to involve the southern Kurdish government and Iran. While the second factor has a low probability to come up with any result, an attempt may also be made as to the invasion as everyone is making its own move in the region and fishes in troubled waters”.?According to Gerger the states are trying to remove the internal problems by shifting attention to outside problems. What they do want to avoid is a repetition in their own country of the so called “Arab Spring” which has brought some achievements in Egypt or Tunisia. This is quite ironic considering the prise by Prime Minister Erdogan to the revolts.

For a ground operation to have some success, Gerger pointed out that “the military balances may change only if the Barzani’s regime is included in the action. But – he added – this is unlikely. However, – as realism is always the best option Gerger ended saying that – despite all these, these countries may enter into yet a new military adventure. But it would be an adventure bringing blood and things would get tensed up while the countries leading the operation will not achieve their aims.”

Coming to discuss about Israel and Turkey relations, Gerger said to Bianet that “There is a competition between Turkey and Israel which is destructive as both countries deal with multilateral crises and the economies of both are based on the financial support from the outside. Israel loses its fight against Palestinians and Turkey its fight against Kurds from economic, military and historical aspects. The United States and the West are the fundamental support and resource for both countries”.

Gerger added that “Turkey’s machines wouldn’t have run but for the support of the United States since the Second World War. However, the U.S. is also in a military, political, strategic and economic difficulty not only because of the global crisis but also because it has got into a dilemma in Afghanistan and the Middle East and fallen into disrepute.”

And he continued: “Thus, American support is not as unlimited as in the past. While the effect and amount of supply is decreasing, the demands of these two countries are increasing. And the competition is arising here as both countries want to become the “head subcontractor and triggerman” of the U.S. Israel relies on its lobby, capital connections and its cultural, historical and ideological ties with the West. Israel is an organic extension of the West but on the other hand it is under a isolation in the region and constitutes a heavy burden for the United States. Besides, Israel doesn’t bring much profit in terms of gendarmerie and triggerman.”

Turkey, on the other hand, plays on Israel’s weaknesses according to Gerger “and gives the message that ‘it would be more profitable than Israel for succeeding in establishing good relations in the region’. While taking these steps, Turkey is playing to be the “Trojan horse” of the region. It takes part in the missile shield project, so it in fact shows that it can serve for the benefits of the U.S. in the region. And Turkey is supposed to object to Israel, defend Palestinians in Gaza, support Syria on the subject of Golan Heights and create problem with Israel to exhibit its cards in the region.

The main competition is for getting on the U.S.’s good side but it should be remembered that these two countries are twin brothers and at the same side not only in conflicts of interest but also against the peoples in the region”.

As for the announcement that Turkey is severing military cooperation with Israel, Gerger said that “The military cooperation is important for Israel. Turkey buys technological instruments from Israel but the main source is the U.S. suspension of economic relations is a move which we do not know how much will deepen. I do not think it will reach very large dimensions as this is a triple play between the United States, Israel and Turkey”.

Asked about the importance of the new early-warning radar system to be placed in Malatya, Gerger pointed out that “The missile shield’s goal is to protect Israel against Iran for the short term and it has been planned as a protection against Russia for the long-term. Turkey has technically a special position in terms of monitoring the missiles rising from both Russian and Iran.

Turkey’s role in this system is to ensure “aiding and abetting” to the striking power. No matter where the missiles are deployed, Turkey will never be given an authority to pull the trigger. The United States can place its patriot missiles in Turkey it it itself deems it suitable. This is a system of aggression, not defense. In case of a conflict, Russia will firstly hit the radars in Turkey which will in other words be the front target and put itself at great risk. Turkey was the lead triggerman of the U.S. in the 50s and it doesn’t have a clean record in the Middle East”.

As to the new role of NATO, Gerger had this to say: “NATO’s objectives were changed after the demolition of the Soviet Union, it targets the Middle East now and includes Turkey in this relation as it serves as an outpost of the U.S. which with Europe regards Turkey as “a buffer zone of the Middle East”.

Finally commenting on the Kurdish issue and the role of the U.S., Gerger said: “Turkey can not overcome the Kurdish issue on its own and the U.S. support is vital in this sense. While making all concessions, Turkey mainly demands assistance as the intelligence and weapon supports aren’t enough. Turkey demands a direct military intervention which the U.S. can not perform as it can’t explain this to its public. Besides, we all know what happened when U.S. ground forces encountered with guerrillas in Vietnam. They experienced this once and they won’t want to repeat that. The statements of the U.S. are for securing stability in Turkey’s public opinion”.


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