Letter: Turkish threat in the Balkans

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The Independent Online
Sir: The attempt of the British and American governments to bully the United Nations into deploying Turkish troops in Bosnia provides yet further evidence that the Western powers have not the slightest understanding of recent Balkan history ('Turkey presses to join UN troops', 8 March). One should be in no doubt - military intervention on the part of the Turkish army will render a general Balkan war far more likely.

One of the myths that has provided so much impetus to the Serbian war-machine has been the identifications of the Bosnian Muslims with the Ottoman oppressor. Turkish intervention will reinforce the belief that the Serbian nation is engaged in a holy war in defence of orthodoxy.

Second, one must take into consideration the psychological impact a deployment of Turkish troops will have on Greece - in this year of all years, which witnesses the 20th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. What legitimacy can Turkey have as a peace-keeper when it has shown itself so set on a policy of ethnic cleansing? Western double standards can only lead to further bloodshed.

Yours faithfully,

PETER SARRIS

All Souls College

Oxford

10 March

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