Turkish Exit Route from Iraq?

Turkey, whose refusal to allow American forces to invade Iraq from its territory tested our relations back in 2003, is ironically in discussions with American military planners to allow us to withdraw from Iraq using Turkish territory. (That follows on the news that French President Nicolas Sarkozy was in Baghdad earlier this week.) That’s as it should be, of course, since we have every reason to leave Iraq more carefully, and with broader support, than we entered it. That means, too, listening to our friends a bit more than we did six years ago:

The same official said Turkey advised the U.S.to withdraw gradually because stability has not yet been fullymaintained in Iraq, warning that an opposite situation may furtherescalate chaos in the war-stricken country.

My hunch is that President Obama’s 16-month timeline will wind up being closer to 30. And the ability to leave through Turkey — with stopovers in the Kurdish north — will allow a more secure withdrawal route for any smaller residual force that stays on in the more fragile security zones after the bulk of the troops have left.