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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

EDITORIAL: Clinton's Hypocrisy On Turkey




The PKK -- like the PLO, the KLA and the world's other autonomy-through-terror acronyms f is no box of chocolates. In the name of establishing a Kurdish state and resisting Ankara's anti-Kurdish repressions, Kurdish rebels have waged a 14-year war in Turkey that has killed thousands, many of them civilians.


Now PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is on trial. He is no Nelson Mandela. But Ocalan has borrowed a page from Yasser Arafat's life and offered to negotiate an end to this bloodshed. He is talking of no less than a PKK surrender and peace negotiations, with no preconditions of Kurdish independence.


Turkey won't have it, and Ocalan on Tuesday is expected to get a death sentence. It seems that, rather than address its own appalling human rights record, Ankara prefers a vengeful court ruling f one that seems sure to create a martyr of Ocalan and perhaps revive the flagging PKK cause.


There are fascinating parallels here with the situation in Kosovo. Both the Kosovo Albanians and Turkish Kurds are suffering under a repressive regime. Each has fostered an armed guerrilla movement f the Kosovo Liberation Army and the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK f that has fought back with terrorism. The guerrilla activity, in turn, has provoked massive brutality in response by the national governments.


In Kosovo, U.S. officials organized an arms embargo against Yugoslavia and stood up firmly (if ham-handedly) to Belgrade. In Turkey, by contrast, the U.S. has done nothing f except to lend Ankara IMF money, NATO prestige and even the very weapons that have been used against the PKK. The U.S. State Department went on record several years ago as seeing "nothing objectionable" in NATO ally Turkey "using American weapons to secure internal order," and it holds that same position today.


This same U.S. government was griping in the early days of the Kosovo crisis that Russia had not done enough to prevent Serb-led atrocities. That was a fair criticism.


But it is also fair to note that at least the Russians weren't arming those committing the atrocities.


Someone with a wry sense of humor might ask when Washington will stand up for morality and begin bombing Ankara. Happily, that's not required. The administration of President Bill Clinton could "intervene" in Turkey simply by hinting it was displeased, or by slowing down disbursement of IMF money.


But then, pragmatically maneuvering to give peace a chance f particularly when it involves arguing clemency for a terrorist f looks less commander-in-chief presidential than does bombing someone else's power plants and bridges.