The Corner

What Goes Around . . .

Turkey has made sympathy for terrorist groups and legitimization of achieving goals through violence the cornerstone of its foreign-policy doctrine. Prime Minister Erdogan has blessed and embraced both Hamas and Hezbollah. Namik Tan, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States, not only has blessed engagement of Hamas, but has also blacklisted multiple American Jews from official functions, folks both in Turkey and Washington say: In modern Turkey, it’s okay to talk to Hamas, but don’t dare shake hands with a Jew; if you happen across a Catholic priest, well that’s what bullets are for.

Now, it seems, Turkey is going to get a taste of its own medicine. Peace talks with the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) have broken down. Negotiating with the PKK, a terrorist group, was a bad move from the start, and now Turkey will pay the price.

Yesterday, the PKK was threatening to target Turkey’s tourist resorts. Now, word comes that seven more Turkish soldiers have just been killed in a clash in southeastern Turkey. Make no mistake: Turkey may be an adversary, but terrorism against it is never justified, just as terrorism against Iran — be it Mujahideen al-Khalq, Pejak, or Jundullah — is absolutely wrong.

But what the world should be watching now is how Turkey reacts: If it responds militarily, will it be able to avoid collateral damage? If it accidentally kills civilians as it takes on the terrorist bases in Iraqi Kurdistan, will it apologize? Will it pay compensation? Will it simply recognize that by Prime Minister Erdogan’s own doctrine, the fact that the PKK is fighting for land and are Muslim makes all terrorism okay? Or will it recognize that Erdogan and Tan’s concept of justifying terrorism was terribly flawed from the start?

UPDATE: The Turkish press just announced that Foreign Minister Davutoğlu just held talks with the leader of Hamas’s most militant faction in Damascus. There is absolutely no difference between Hamas and the PKK. The question is how many Turks will die before Erdogan, Davutoğlu, and Tan recognize that.

Michael Rubin — Michael Rubin is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute, senior lecturer at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Civil-Military Relations, and a senior editor of the Middle East ...

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