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Q&A with Sun reporter in Turkey

WMAR: Is there a chance the U.S. could still use Turkey when the war starts?

DOUGLAS BIRCH: I think there's almost no chance that you're going to see heavy artillery, tanks and massive U.S. troops crossing the border from Turkey. Over the weekend, the Turkish Parliament said that there's no decision that could be made on that issue for at least another week. And I don't know what it looks like from there, but from here it looks like things are going to happen a lot faster than that.

WMAR: What are the people saying about the impending war?

DB: There's a tremendous amount of anxiety here. There's a lot of fear. This is a Kurdish area and the Kurds are an ethnic group that has spent most of the last 20 years fighting for independence from Turkey. There are many, many Turkish troops here, there are lots of security people, lots of secret police. It's a state that some Kurds consider is under occupation.

Northern Iraq has many Kurds as well. There's a fear that if there is a U.S. invasion of Iraq that fighting will break out on both sides of the border. It will be Kurd against Kurd, Kurd against Turk, perhaps Kurd against Iranians. So there's a tremendous uncertainty about what is going to happen -- a fear that this will become another Yugoslavia.

WMAR: Is there a lot of anti-war sentiment there?

DB: Absolutely. I'm surprised because the Kurds have been very ill-treated by Saddam Hussein. Yesterday was the 15th anniversary of a gas attack against a village in northern Iraq in which 5,000 Kurds were killed by poison gas by Saddam. There's still such fear of war here that people are against going into Baghdad.

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