An interesting insight into the news, thanks to a local carpetseller.
He says 240,000 Turkish troops are waiting on Turkey’s border with Iraq, eager to swarm in and suppress the Kurds. He says Kurdish incursions from Iraq have killed 60 Turkish soldiers. He says they almost went 8in last week, and could go in within days.
I can’t believe this; but he certainly believed it. I gather this is the story Turks are reading in their newspapers. He even pulled out the newspaper to show me. But I still had to take his word for it, as nothing was clear to me from looking at the Turkish.
But the I remembered watching Turkish TV at the hotel in Istanbul. Again, I could not understand what they were saying, but the visuals helped. Especially a map of Iraq showing a swath across the north-central portion coloured blue, but with the crescent moon and star of the Turkish flag. It looks as though Turkish TV is promoting the idea that there is a definite and fair-sized area, between the Kurds and the Sunni Arabs, which is ethnically Turkish.
This would make a delightful reason for an incursion, and an even better reason to stay put: in assimilating this loose bit of Turkish homeland, the Turkish army would also get to march through and occupy Iraqi Kurdistan.
Once an empire, always an Empire. Turkmenistan, in Central Asia, is also ethnically Turkish, and so it is understandable if Turkey is interested in reintegration with these cousins now that they are free from Russian domination. But I have also heard Turks insist that Uzbekis are Turks, and so are the inhabitants of "East Turkestan," which China insists is their province of Sinjiang.
My guess is that this is all patriotic breast-thumping, and not taken all that seriously. But who knows? Maybe the Turkish Empire will some day rise on the ashes of the Ottomans.
The carpetseller also showed me a piece in the paper reporting an infestation of genetically modified tics, sent here by Mossad to kill the Turks. This I could confirm with my own eyes: I cold make out "Israel" and "Mossad" on my own.
Perhaps other nations should be warned.