Of course, the Turks' treatment of the Kurds is appalling, and the stench of the Turkish government's hypocrisy stings the nostrils. But just because Nato failed the Kurds does not mean it should fail the Kosovar Albanians.
It is important, too, to recognise the moral complexities of different conflicts and to avoid making simplistic analogies. The comparison - mostly made by supporters of the war - between the Serbian regime and the Nazis, is mistaken. What Milosevic's forces have done to the Kosovar Albanians is indeed terrible, but it is not quite genocide. And what the Turkish government has done to the Kurdish people is bad, but it is not quite as bad as what Milosevic has done in Kosovo.
Nevertheless, our obsession with the war in Yugoslavia should not diminish our sense of outrage at what is happening in Turkey, which is not simply a military ally but a candidate for membership of the European Union. This is a prime example of the case for a single, strong voice for the EU in international affairs, the yet-to-be-filled post for which the names of Chris Patten and Paddy Ashdown have both been mooted. If such a figure were to issue an ultimatum to Turkey it would have more force than murmurs of disapproval from Robin Cook and his fellow EU foreign ministers, not just because it would be the united voice of the Union but because it could be explicitly related to Turkey's application to join it.
Until Mr or Ms Europe is appointed, however, Mr Cook and his colleagues should be as clear and united as they can. They should repeat their insistence that Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the Kurdish guerrilla movement the PKK, be given a fair trial. They should repeat their condemnation of human rights abuses inflicted on the Kurdish people. And they should make clear that, while they want Turkey to join the EU, not least to secure a large, democratic and modern bridgehead in the Moslem world, its membership is conditional upon these demands being met.Reuse content