What is behind the actions of Ankara?

What is behind the actions of Ankara? The events that have taken place in recent years in the Near and Middle East, in North Africa, have caused tectonic shifts in the geopolitics of this huge region. In a number of Arab countries - Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria - representatives of radical Islam are striving for power. And many political analysts have no doubt - sooner or later, Islamic radicals will establish, at least in some states, their own rules. Especially great concerns are the situation in Egypt.

In recent years, the situation has changed dramatically in Turkey. Ankara began to turn away from the secular path of development, which was defined by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk in the 20 of the 20th century. The legacy of this Turkish founding leader is gradually forgotten. The rally in support of the Islamist Justice and Development Party, which is headed by the current Prime Minister Recep Erdogan, gathers hundreds of thousands and even millions of Turks. The composition is very broad: Muslim youth and elderly people are coming.


Supporters of the Justice and Development Party are committed to the new Turkish doctrine, which is called "neo-Ottomanism." This idea is based on the conviction that at present Turkey has a real chance to again receive the status of a great power, an empire, to become one of the centers of power on the planet. Ankara sees that the old world order is collapsing and Turkey can and must restore its lost positions after the defeat in the First World War. First of all, the eyes of the “neo-Ottomans” are focused on those regions that used to be part of the Ottoman Empire - this is North Africa, the countries of the Middle East, the Balkan Peninsula, the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Crimea.

Thus, two years ago, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Turkey, Ahmet Davutoglu, made the following statement: “There is a legacy left by the Ottoman Empire. We are called "neoosmans." Yes, we are the "new Ottomans". We are forced to deal with neighboring countries. And even go to Africa. ”

The constituent parts of this doctrine are Neopanturkism - the Turks, considered the core of the coming union of all Turkic peoples and Turkish Eurasianism.

Moreover, the strengthening of Turkey, backed by successes in the field of economic development and military construction, meets with considerable support in the Muslim world. When in the middle of September 2011, the Turkish Prime Minister visited Egypt, Tunisia and Libya “liberated” by revolution, he was greeted by enthusiastic Arabs everywhere with slogans like “The Savior of Islam, beloved by Allah Erdogan!” The Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood called the Turkish leader “The new Salah ad-Din” (this is a Muslim commander of the XII century, the Sultan of Egypt and Syria, who inflicted a series of significant blows on the positions of the Crusaders). It was finished, what some Western analysts were afraid of several years ago, that Ankara is increasingly moving towards radical Islam.

Signs of Islamization of Turkey is the “cleansing” of the army leadership, and the army was the basis for the country's preservation of the secular course and repression against the media. According to a recent report by an international media institute that relies on data from a study by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the Turkish state ranks first in the world in the number of journalists jailed. Total planted 57 people. Most of these journalists were imprisoned during the rule of the Erdogan government. China and Iran share the second place in this “honorable category”. In each of these states in the prisons are sitting on 34 media representative. According to the same report, another thousand or more employees of the Turkish media have recently been indicted by the authorities.

Foreign policy

Syria. According to experts, it is this “dizzy with success” that influenced Ankara’s attitude towards Syria. Interestingly, quite recently Damascus was the closest military and economic partner of the Turks in the Middle East. But this did not prevent Turkey from breaking almost all relations with Syria, even to the detriment of its economy. So, 21 September at a press conference in New York, Erdogan made a statement on the termination of the dialogue with Damascus. And on September 24 there was information about the interception of the Syrian ship by Turkish ships, which was carrying home weapon. The consignor was apparently Iran.

Commenting on the change in Ankara’s attitude towards Syria, the Syrian media are perplexed; it is not clear where such hostility towards their country came from? The recent policy of Turkey, the Syrian journalists called the "severe case of diplomatic schizophrenia." As a result, from friendly relations between the two countries came, almost to a military conflict. Moreover, Turkey is being pushed into conflict with Syria by the countries of the West, Saudi Arabia. And in Turkey, they discussed the possibility of creating a “security zone” in the border areas of Syria.

In Damascus, fear of the invasion of the Turkish army. In this situation, Syria has only two possible ally - Tehran and Moscow. Russia has a Navy logistics base in Tartus. There is evidence that it hastily put in order. Damascus offers to expand the Russian military presence in Syria. For Russia, this is very important - this is the last opportunity to maintain its military presence in the Mediterranean region. For Iran, the Syrian state is also a kind of “gateway” to the Mediterranean Sea. In addition, Damascus and Tehran are military allies - there is a corresponding agreement between them.

Israel and Cyprus. After breaking off relations with Syria, Ankara turned its anger against Jerusalem. This is a very populist move - the Arab world has a negative attitude towards the Jewish state, so Erdogan strengthens the position of Turkey among the Arab countries. The Turkish government resolutely changed the vector of Turkish-Israeli relations. Like the Syrian state, Israel has turned from an ally of Ankara into its possible enemy. The Turks even promulgated a new naval strategy, which is directed against Israel and Cyprus, to strengthen the position of the Turkish Navy in the Eastern Mediterranean.

The Turks called their plan quite symbolically - “Barbarossa”. Very loud name, because its time Adolf Hitler called the operation to invade the Soviet Union. True, they claim in Turkey that they meant something completely different to Barbarossa. In the XVI century, this family was worn by the family of famous pirates, Turkish admirals and rulers of Algeria. But it is clear that in big politics such coincidences are not random. Apparently, the Turkish political leadership was well aware of this and was counting on a shocking effect. Although it is clear that in this case in Turkey, they absolutely started playing in the “Ottoman Empire - 2”. Too negative connotation carries this word, and not only for Jews, but for other countries, including Russia. Nevertheless, such actions help R. Erdogan to increase the authority of Turkey in the eyes of Muslims all over the world and to establish itself as a great regional power.

There is also an economic premise of the Turkish-Israeli conflict. Turks, in order to become an "empire", it is vital to gain independence in providing the state with hydrocarbons. Here they act in two directions - they strengthen ties with Azerbaijan (which, as a country inhabited by Turks, in their zone of influence), together with the European Union push the Nabucco project. And at the same time they plan to use hydrocarbon deposits in the Mediterranean Sea. A large gas and oil field was discovered in the sea between Israel and Cyprus (one of its names, Leviathan, is a mythical sea serpent). For the exploration and development of this hydrocarbon field, the Israelis and the Greek Cypriots concluded an agreement and were going to drill the first wells, but the Turkish were strongly opposed to this. In relation to Cyprus, several threatening statements were made. The Turks promised to use their navy.


Ankara wants to show that it is the real owner of the Eastern Mediterranean and this region must develop according to its rules.

According to some Israeli media, if earlier the Ottoman Empire was called “a sick man of Europe”, then today's Turkey can be called a “mentally unbalanced man of the Middle East.”

Iran. In the fall of 2011, Turkey’s relations with Iran sharply cooled. Ankara agreed to the proposal of the United States to deploy on its territory a US missile defense system locator. The facility will be located in the southeast of the state. According to the Turkish press, they are going to manage the locator from the operational center of the North Atlantic Alliance in Germany. If at the official level the use of the US missile defense system against Russia is at least concealed, then its orientation against the Iranian state is strongly emphasized. Therefore, Iran has already given Ankara several warnings that the installation of the American radar station will lead to an increase in tension in the region.

October 9 reported on the statement by Iranian President Assistant Yahi Rahim Safavi that by providing the United States with a territory for deploying missile defense systems, Turkey is making a "strategic mistake." The Iranian stressed that by adopting this decision, the Turkish government caused damage not only to Iran, but also to Russia. The presidential aide said that Ankara’s actions are a “clear signal” that is directed, first of all, to Iran. Tehran will find a way to “respond” to Turkey’s decision, Safai said.

The current situation greatly worries the Ahmadinejad regime. It turns out that the Turkish armed forces will certainly support the countries of the United States and NATO in the attack on Iran. And the war in Libya, the situation around Syria, confirms the fear of the Iranian leadership.

In addition, Shiite Iran is the old enemy of the Sunni monarchies of the Persian Gulf. Therefore, Riyadh is also pushing Turkey towards a war against the Persians, as well as against the Alawites of Syria. Iran is a Sunni rival for leadership in the Islamic world.

But the operation against Iran can be started only after the defeat of Syria. There is a situation when Tehran needs to defend the Syrian Assad regime as itself.

Iraq. Kurdish question. Turkey, using the current weakness of a virtually dismembered Iraq, is conducting a military operation against Iraqi Kurds. In August-September, 2011 was committed to a total of up to 58 combat missions of the Turkish Air Force, a number of command posts, warehouses with weapons and ammunition of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) were destroyed. Artillery is located along the Turkish-Iraqi border, which also strikes the territory of Iraq. The Kurds are responding with terrorist acts, ambush against Turkish troops, so in August Kurdish militants attacked an army convoy in southern Turkey, several Turkish soldiers were killed.

In late September, the head of the Turkish government, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, reaffirmed the determination of the leadership of the state to conduct a military operation in Iraq aimed at destroying the PKK infrastructure.

At the same time, the Turkish military are conducting an operation against the Kurdish insurgency in the south-east of the country. Kurds continue to resist, only 24 of September Kurdish militants attacked various military targets three times. This battle involving helicopters took place near the town of Pervari, the Turks lost 5 people killed and more than a dozen wounded. According to Turkish official data, the Kurdish militants were killed before 300 last month.

It is doubtful that Ankara will be able to suppress the movement of the Kurds by force, for this would have to arrange a genocide, and at the present time the world community will not turn a blind eye to such actions. Kurds are numerous people having ancient history, and large communities not only in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria, but in a number of western states. Therefore, hostilities will continue, without a radical change in anyone's favor.

Will the Turks decide first to start a war?

This is a very unlikely scenario, especially in the near future. For such an event, the region should be even more destabilized. The armies of Israel, Syria, Iran, are too strong opponents to fight with them without serious support. In addition, Iran and Syria are allies, the war with Damascus will cause a response from Tehran, up to a military strike.

Ankara, can participate in the war with Syria and Iran, only if the composition of the participants will be coalition, as is the case with Libya.

There is no common border with Israel, so in the current situation only conflict at sea is possible, with the participation of the Air Force. Ankara is quite capable of blocking the Israeli coast, given the superiority of the Turkish Navy. This will worsen the supply of the country, especially in terms of energy. But it makes sense to undertake such an operation only at the beginning of a new large-scale Arab-Israeli war, when the Egyptians block the gas pipeline and the Israeli army will have to smash the enemy in a month or two. Then the Turkish fleet can play a decisive role - the IDF will not last long without fuel. Israel will have to decide on negotiations.

But such a scenario is still far away. The current actions of Ankara are more information campaign for the collection of points among Muslims. Although it is clear that such words are not spoken just like that in the East. Having pulled out his “dagger” by half, Ankara sooner or later will have to pull it out completely.

Interests of the United States

The confrontation of Turkey with Syria and Iran, actually the official enemies of the West, is beneficial to the United States and other Western countries. Such Turkey’s actions fit into Washington’s overall strategy to destabilize Eurasia.

With Israel, the situation is not so cloudless, but apparently the part of the American elite is ready to sacrifice a Jewish state. Israel cannot be considered a figure that cannot be conceded in the Great Game.

In addition, the imperial ambitions of the Turkish leadership will sooner or later face the interests of Russia in the Caucasus and the Crimea, this also meets the foundations of Washington’s policy.
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