Turkey does not find support from major world players
Turkey is a problematic neighbor for Syria, the EU, Russia, Iran and Iraq. Neo-Ottomanism remains the basis of the national ideology of the Turkish Republic, and its president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, turns his country into an authoritarian state, subject to its whims to a much greater extent than the traditions of the times of Kemal Ataturk.
Consider what happens in the domestic and foreign policy of Turkey, relying on the works prepared by IBI for V. I. Kovalev and Yu. B. Shcheglovina, concentrating on the program of the new government of Turkey, its relations with the EU after the German Bundestag adopted the resolution on the Armenian Genocide in the Ottoman Porte and Kurdish question.
Party Plans - Premiere Plans
24 May, two days after the appointment of the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the country's Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, announced the 65 program in Turkey. He thanked for the work of his predecessor Ahmet Davutoglu and stressed that President Erdogan is the architect of all the country's successes since 2002, without a doubt. Yıldırım reaffirmed the country’s and government’s commitment to an uncompromising fight against terrorism and declared that “the terrorist nightmare will be removed from the Turkish agenda”. The new prime minister noted that the country's political parties in all previous elections had undertaken to adopt a new constitution. “This day is today!” Stated Binali Yıldırım, stressing that this is a presidential form of government.
The economy occupied a prominent place in Yildirim's speech, although in this aspect his theses were fairly traditional. The prime minister confirmed the task of becoming one of the high-income countries with a corresponding human development index. He reaffirmed the commitment to the previously adopted program documents, including the 10-th in a row, five-year state development plan. The new prime minister emphasized the importance of improving the atmosphere for doing business and attracting investments both from within the country and from abroad. A broader implementation of public-private partnership models is planned, including when implementing projects in the infrastructure sector.
The rhetoric of Yıldırım regarding the fight against anti-democratic practices, lawlessness and violation of human rights was the speech of the leader of a democracy advanced state. It is expected that along with the new constitution, new statutes of the Majlis, laws on political parties and on elections will be adopted. After the adoption of amendments to the constitution, providing for direct presidential elections, a systemic problem arose for which an urgent solution is required, which will contribute to the implementation of plans scheduled for 2023 the year when the centenary of the Republic of Turkey will be celebrated. One of the most important threats to national security and democratic system was the “parallel state” of Fethullah Gülen. According to Yıldırım, it was precisely this that attempted a coup d'état in the 17 – 25 December (2013) case, when information of a compromising nature was leaked to the country's leadership.
Turkey's goal is to become a country that does not consume, but produces technology. In this regard, it is planned to pay great attention to stimulating research and development and supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, including starting a business. It is proposed to simplify the legislation on attracting skilled labor from abroad to Turkey. It is planned to create a catalog and database of Turkish researchers working abroad. The defense industry promises to be one of the government’s priority areas of work, including plans to produce a national aircraft, tank, missiles, torpedoes, new types of submarines, ships, helicopters, etc.
Yildyrim spoke about the importance of raising the birth rate and raising the younger generation as the basis for the future welfare of the state. It is planned to actively involve young people in the affairs of the country. Thus, it is planned to reduce the electoral age for parliamentarians from 25 to 18 years. Culture and sport, according to the Prime Minister, are of great importance for the development of the population. He separately touched the Turkish film industry and the country's Olympic movement.
The prime minister stressed the intention to speed up the process of Turkey’s accession to the EU and accession to the trans-Pacific trade and investment partnership. The country will continue to persistently implement regional development plans, including problematic eastern and south-eastern provinces. He elaborated on promising transport and logistics projects that are a traditional showcase of the achievements of the ruling AKP. The most important of them is the Istanbul canal project, parallel to the Bosphorus, which, if implemented, will affect the Montreux Convention. In addition to this mega-building, specific roads, bridges, air and sea ports, etc. were listed.
With regard to foreign policy, Turkey, according to its prime minister, is committed to joining the European Union, but not as the only alternative, but as an option to complement the agenda. At the same time, Europe must take counter steps. So, she did not appreciate the work done by Turkey under the Brussels agreement to switch to a visa-free travel regime. Ankara will continue its efforts to form a transitional government in Syria, whose legitimacy will not cause questions, the adoption of its new constitution and the holding of elections in the framework of the country's political transformations. According to Yildirim, relations with the Gulf states have shown great progress in recent years. Turkey will continue to maintain peace, security and stability in the region. The Balkans, according to the prime minister’s remark, are one of the most important components of the “Turkish historical memory. "
In part of the speech, which was devoted to Russia, Yildirim noted that Ankara had open channels of communication with Moscow and spoke in favor of normalizing and developing relations on the basis of “minimal conditions”. The “Russian part” of the Prime Minister’s speech was limited to three lines, reflecting the degree of its importance for Turkey in the current environment. At the same time, foreign policy deserved quite a few warm words from the new prime minister, who emphasized the growing opportunities and potential of his country at the regional and global level. But this is a theory - and from the Turkish point of view. On its practical implementation, including in Syria, Iraq and in relations with the EU - below.
The situation in the Aleppo area clearly suggests that Ankara is making every conceivable effort to delay the offensive of the “Forces of Democratic Syria” (SDF) on Raqa, the Syrian “capital” of the Islamic State banned in Russia. In addition to the recently organized offensive by the jihadists on the Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo, Turkey is taking a number of risky steps to reduce the influence of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PDS) in northern Syria. Ankara seeks in every way to prevent the emergence there, in places of traditional residence of the Kurds, of an analogue of their autonomy in Iraq in the form of the Rozhava region, as the Kurds call it.
“Turkish anti-German rhetoric Turkish authorities only scare tourists from Germany, who are trying to make an alternative to the Russian”
The Turkish authorities have got rid of the illusion that Washington will take into account their opinion about the erroneousness of the line to support Syrian Kurds and use them as the backbone of the VTS. President Erdogan also has no illusions about the fact that the United States will listen to Ankara about using exclusively “Arab units” to assault Raqqi. The turning point for the Turks in this matter was the advance of the Kurdish troops with the support of the American special forces on the city of Manbij in the north of Aleppo province, control of which would allow if not fully clog the logistics channels of the pro-Turkish armed opposition groups, then to a great extent complicate this logistics.
The attack on the Kurdish neighborhoods in Aleppo, thus, has far-reaching goals. With the support of the Kurdish forces from Moscow and Washington and the full confidence that the United States has embarked on using only the VTS as a means of destroying ISIS in Syria, Ankara decided to try to play the next game. Under the pretext of a jihadist attack on the Kurds in Aleppo, she will try to convince Washington to go to the "castling" of the detachments controlled by the PDS, and the Peshmerga formations from Iraqi Kurdistan. In this case, we are talking about three thousand fighters controlled by the president of the Kurdish autonomy, Massoud Barzani, from among the Iraqi members of the Kurdish National Council (KNS). This is an opposition group for the PDS. The latter, for this reason, categorically objects to the return of the KNS detachments to Syria.
In addition, Ankara plans to include in the composition of this new force Arab squads from the Syrian National Coalition (SNK). If the plan is implemented, the KNS units will begin to confront the IG and succeed, their authority and combat capability in the northern part of Syria will become, according to Ankara, a reliable barrier to the emergence of Kurdish autonomy with the disloyal leadership of Turkey. In this regard, the jihadist offensive is a powerful incentive to create a sustainable view of both the Syrian Kurds themselves and the United States regarding a positive reaction to the reinforcement approach from the Iraqi region of Kurdistan. At least the majority of the Kurdish population, including those who fled from Aleppo under the onslaught of the Islamists in Afrin, support this idea.
Washington, realizing Ankara’s far-reaching plans, sees nothing to worry about. He needs to take Rakka and report to the world community on the global role of the United States in the fight against IS. At the same time, the leadership of the PDS is categorically against such a scenario precisely because of the appearance of a competitor on the internal Kurdish site, American military assistance will be dispersed. He sees the creation of the Syrian Kurdish autonomy as the monopoly right to control this formation from three geographically disparate regions on the Turkish border. The attack on Manbij and is geographically intended to close these areas. Control over the border with Turkey, the site, in addition to meeting political ambitions, is also a lot of money from smuggling flows. The PDS does not want to share them with anyone.
This is not the first attempt of Ankara and Barzani to make castling in the priority of forces among the Syrian Kurds. Two years ago, the Peshmerga forces, under the protection of Turkey, tried to enter Rojava under the pretext of fighting the IG during the siege of the Kurdish enclave of Kobani. But then the detachment of the PDS forced them to leave. This suggests that the power balance is not yet in favor of Erbil and the KNS. But now the Turkish military will support the PDS competitors from the air and on the ground. The first time they did it was not very active, because the situation was not so threatening, and the Russian videoconferencing system in Syria was not there yet. Now, with the beginning of massive military assistance to the detachments of the PDS from Moscow and Washington, with the prospect of taking Raqqa and the formation of the Rozhava in Ankara will be more active.
But it seems that in all these aspects, Turkey is missing the most. No matter how the Kurds compete with each other, for all their parties and groups there remains a sacred cow - the creation of the “Great Kurdistan”. They will not fight among themselves for the needs of the Turks by definition. Sharing power with each other, yes, but without prejudice to one’s combat readiness. On the other hand, Ankara can figure it out, it just has no choice. Either an analogue of the Kurdistan Region with its own negotiable leader, Barzani type, is established on the Turkish border, or an enclave monopolized by a branch of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
At the same time, the PDS already possesses MANPADS and, according to the MIT, it actively transfers parties weapons across the border to the PKK detachments that are fighting in Turkey. In other words, as a result of its “far-sighted policy”, Ankara received an analogue of Afghanistan with the Kurds instead of the Mujahideen and a rear base in Rojava instead of Pakistan. Russia and the United States will supply PDS troops with weapons. Washington - until Raqqah falls and the infrastructure of the Islamic State is not basically destroyed. Moscow - until Erdogan remains in power in Turkey. Not too bright prospect, even if we forget about a sharp turn in Ankara’s relations with Brussels and Berlin ...
Thresholds and gateways
With all the words of the Prime Minister about Turkey’s commitment to EU integration, the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Mevlüt луavuşo Тlu on the TV channel TRT said his country would be forced to suspend an agreement with the EU on the readmission of refugees if the visa liberalization agreements with the Schengen zone are not implemented. This agreement is one of the main conditions for the abolition of visas and can significantly affect the implementation of the agreements reached by Turkey and the EU on combating illegal migration reached in Brussels in March by Brussels. At the same time, Chavushoglu demanded that the German government dissociate itself from the position of the country's parliament, which adopted a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide. He noted that his country would take action in response to the Bundestag resolution. The German government must declare that its position does not coincide with the opinion expressed in the resolution of the country's parliament.
From the very beginning of the rash step of the EU, initiated and inspired by the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, it was clear that Ankara would accept this as a concession and would continue to blackmail Brussels by refusing to carry it out at the slightest problem. In this regard, Merkel's step to initiate a resolution of the Bundestag on the Armenian genocide must be regarded as forced, made under the unofficial pressure of external partners in the EU and members of the government coalition. Once Ankara led to the EU’s doorstep, it had to make sure that Turkey never overstepped it.
In the Turkish elite there is a loss of orientation in this regard. The Minister of Foreign Affairs allows himself statements that indicate a panic. The German government cannot distance itself from the resolution adopted by the Bundestag, if only because the party coalitions voted in favor are part of the cabinet of ministers. The Federal Chancellor also supported the resolution. Chavushoglu, trying to rectify the situation, offers Berlin “worthy options” to normalize relations, not realizing that they are not concerned about finding a way out of the “crisis”, because in the event of a sharp deterioration in economic relations, Germany will not notice this, and Turkey will have a bad time.
If the frantic anti-German rhetoric Turkish authorities scare tourists from Germany, which they are trying to make an alternative to the Russian, Erdogan will not add this advantage. Ankara has nothing to oppose to Brussels, which does not wish to grant the Turks a visa-free regime. For Europeans, the madness is to open the borders to the front-line country, which is the “rear base” for jihadists, although the realization of this came to the European leaders late. Merkel is forced to play back, risking losing the electoral support of the Turkish diaspora in Germany.
How far can Erdogan go in an effort to “save face”? On one side of the scale visa-free regime. On the other - the loss of funding from the EU migration program, the deterioration of the economic and investment climate. Plus, parting with hopes to convince Europe to support the creation of a no-fly zone in Syria. Of the two evils, Erdogan is likely to choose the loss of a visa-free regime. The Turks will make harsh statements, withdraw from Germany and send the ambassador there again, but the only tool in their arsenal to influence Brussels - opening the gateways for the migration wave - they will not use. At least in the amount in which they did before. This will mean an open declaration of war on the EU, which will toughen the position of Brussels. The resolution in the Bundestag - a signal that the time for the European concessions to the Turkish leadership has passed.
In addition to talking Ankara can not do anything. Suppose she withdraws the permit for the expansion of the Indzhirlik Air Force Base by German engineering units and the deployment of the German Air Force Tornado aircraft there. Germans are a little worried. In the same way, it is not serious to discuss the chances of a mutiny of three and a half million Turks in the FRG or an attempt on the deputies of the German Bundestag.
By the way, the military coup widely discussed in the press in connection with the German-Turkish scandal as a result of growing general discontent with Erdogan is also unrealistic. Experts remind of the army neutralized by them, which has lost, even at the legislative level, even the very possibility of being the main guarantor of the constitution. As well as the absence of a powerful political opposition. That is, there is no real power to carry out a coup in Turkey. But at the same time, everybody forgets about the most influential antagonist of Erdogan in the person of the preacher Gulen, who enjoys the support of the special services of the USA and, in spite of the purges of the security and state bodies, has kept the reserve of his supporters. He may well use the situation in case of further rash steps by the Turkish president to change the constitution (which he considers to be the main business of life for which he is ready to quarrel with everyone) and the deterioration of the economic situation. The West will clearly support such a scenario ...
Parallel to the Bosphorus
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