By Pepe Escobar: Reporting from Istanbul and posted with permission: As the world turns further over monumental announcements from the Putin-Xi summit in Beijing, Turkey’s Erdogan keeps walking a thinning tightrope between NATO and Eurasia. Crossposted with The Cradle.
The Chinese year of the Black Water Tiger started with a big bang – a live Beijing summit between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping – and a minor bang – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Kiev, Ukraine. And yes, it’s all interlinked.
Kremlin foreign policy adviser Yuri Ushakov had revealed in advance that Putin-Xi would release a very important “joint statement on international relations entering a new era,” with Russia and China in synch “on the most important world problems, including security issues.”
Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Wang Yi, who worked non-stop prior to the summit, met the day before in Beijing to finalize the joint statement. Wang stressed the increasing interconnection of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), and much to the interest of the Global South, referred to extensive discussions on BRICS cooperation, Ukraine, Afghanistan and the Korean Peninsula.
The Russia-China joint statement (here, in Russian) did not cut any corners. The two global powers, among the summit’s key takeaways, are against NATO expansion; favor the UN and “justice in international relations;” will fight “interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries;” oppose “external forces” undermining national security; and are resolutely against color revolutions.
A Putin Op-Ed published by Xinhua detailed the full spectrum of the Sino-Russian discussions at the highest level – from the drive to “strengthen the central coordinating role of the United Nations in global affairs and to prevent the international legal system, with the UN Charter at its center, from being eroded,” to “consistently expanding the practice of settlements in national currencies and creating mechanisms to offset the negative impact of unilateral [US] sanctions.”
Putin resolutely defined China as “our strategic partner in the international arena,” and stressed how he and Xi “hold largely the same views on addressing the world’s problems.”
He said this strategic partnership is “sustainable, intrinsically valuable, not affected by the political climate and not aimed against anyone. It is underpinned by respect, regard for each other’s core interests, adherence to international law and the UN Charter.”
The Global South – and possibly swathes of Europe, now facing a frigid winter with hiked fuel prices because of the stand off over Ukraine – will not fail to compare it with NATO’s worldview.
Meanwhile, in Kiev, Erdogan and Zelensky were reviewing the Turkish-Ukrainian strategic partnership.
Erdogan did perform quite a feat in Kiev. He called for “a “peaceful and diplomatic solution” in Ukraine, not exactly following the relentless War Inc. narrative. He even said the solution should be found “within the framework of the Minsk agreements, on the basis of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and international law.”
That happens to exactly tie in with Moscow’s view. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had previously commented, “if Turkey could encourage Kiev to implement the Minsk deal, Moscow would welcome this development.”
The Sultan swing again
So enter Erdogan as benign messenger/peacemaker – the latest twist in the fascinating, never-ending saga of what could be interpreted as his search for a more refined post-neo-Ottomanism stance in foreign policy.
Well, it’s not that simple. Erdogan, even before landing in Kiev, affirmed that Ankara is ready to host a live Putin-Zelensky meeting or even “talks at the technical level.”
That was his cue to promote a possible Putin jaunt to Ankara after his meeting with Xi in Beijing: “Mr. Putin told us that he will visit Turkey after his visit to China.”
Erdogan did invite Putin in late January. The Kremlin confirms no date has been set yet.
The ostensible purpose of Erdogan’s visit to Kiev, part of a High-Level Strategic Council, was to sign a so-called New Generation Free Trade Agreement, including the very tricky – for Moscow – joint production of Bayraktar drones, manufactured by Baykar Makina, a company owned by none other than Erdogan’s son-in-law Selcuk Bayraktar.
Yes, in Erdoganistan it’s all in the family. And the problem is that the Bayraktar TBT 2 combat drone – like those sold to Ukraine since 2018 – will continue to be used against the civilian population of Donetsk. Lavrov and even Putin himself have been very vocal about it vis-a-vis Ankara.
Erdogan’s geopolitical tightrope walking includes Russian S-400s in and US F-35s out, receiving Russian gas and nuclear technology while selling those Bayraktars to Russia’s enemies, and even the support, expressed by Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar in late January, to the 1936 Montreux Convention, which is very specific on restricting NATO in the Black Sea: “It is out of the question to give up on [Montreux] under today’s conditions.”
NATO’s headquarters in Brussels won’t be amused.
Up to now, Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) had been actively ditching Montreux to the benefit of the still far-fetched Canal Istanbul linking the Mediterranean to the Black Sea, “entirely under Turkey’s sovereignty,” according to Erdogan – obviously a very juicy deal from NATO’s point of view. Yet the fact is Ankara, mired in an economic/financial swamp, has no means to build the Canal.
The geopolitical tightrope walking still leaves in the balance the real objectives of the Organization of Turkic States (OTS), formerly Turkic Council, which crystallizes the pull of pan-Turkism – or pan-Turanism. It has already gone beyond last year’s Susha Declaration, which solidified a Turk-Azeri “one nation, two states;” it now encompasses these two plus Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan, and has been actively courting Hungary, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan and – last but not least – Ukraine.
The OTS met in a tightly secured island in Istanbul last November. They discussed in detail the fact that the extremely complex political environment in Taliban Afghanistan might spill over new instances of terrorism and uncontrolled migration. There were no leaks about future, practical OTS steps.
Way more than a bridge connecting Asia Minor and the Caucasus to Central Asia, or a sort of benign form of “dialogue” between the south Caucasus and Central Asia, the OTS, in theory, carries all the trappings of a bloc from the Black Sea to Xinjiang, under a not-too-disguised Turkish hegemony, which implies a serious Trojan Horse element: a NATO presence.
It remains to be seen how the OTS would interface with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which congregates the “stans” as full members, as well as Iran – but not Turkey, which is just an observer. The SCO top powers are of course Russia and China, which in no way would allow, for instance, the Caspian to be open to western predatory policies, infringement of Russian and Iranian spheres of influence, and most of all a ‘security’ bloc with NATO ‘leading from behind.’
The talk in those palace corridors
It’s quite enlightening to assess how Erdogan media – over 90% fully controlled across Turkey – mirrors what may be the real calculations swirling in the corridors of that 1000-room Sultanesque palace in Ankara.
They see that Russia “invaded Crimea, and annexed eastern Ukraine,” and is trying to “solidify its position in the Black Sea and Eastern Europe.” At the same time, they see the Empire instrumentalizing Turkey as a mere ‘frontline’ in a larger war, with NATO’s strategy to ‘besiege’ Russia and China also being applied against Turkey.
So “the fear of Turkey is now as strong as the fear of Russia and China.”
They seem to understand that if War Inc. gets what it desperately wants, “the Black Sea will be transformed into the Eastern Mediterranean. The US and Europe fully settling into the Black Sea means they will never leave.” That “could lead to Turkey’s destruction in the medium and long term.”
And then there’s the crucial twist: “Ukraine cannot stop Russia. But Turkey can.” That is exactly what Erdogan is playing at. “The US and Europe must be thwarted from settling into the Black Sea. Turkey-Russia relations must be preserved.” The problem is how “Ukraine’s integrity and defense must be supported.”
All of the above perfectly ties in with Erdogan, back from Kiev with all rhetorical guns blazing, blasting that the West wants to “worsen” the Ukrainian crisis. Erdogan media frames it as “a game is being set to drive Turkey against Russia.”
Erdogan so far never really challenged the ‘rules-based international order.’ He always made a point of addressing two different messages to East and West. To Asia, the emphasis was on anti-imperialism, the dire consequences of colonialism, the Israeli apartheid state and western Islamophobia. To the West, he impressed his own version of dialogue of civilizations (and was branded as “an autocrat”).
Ultimately Erdogan is not west-toxified, much to the contrary. He sees the US-led order as a neocolonial power only interested in pillaging the resources of the lands of Islam. Of course he’s handicapped culturally – adhering, at best, to memorizing Quranic verses, listening to Ottoman military music and having his photo taken with the odd Turkish pop star. He doesn’t read; it’s all about instinct.
A conversation about Erdoganian neo-Ottomanism in Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar beats any think tank analysis. Bazaaris tell us it’s something in constant flux. In foreign policy terms, it migrated from pro-EU to frustration for being excluded, coupled with the certainty that Turkey is fed up with being a US client state. It’s as if Erdogan, instinctively, has grasped the collective west’s current, abysmal strategic debacle – thus his effort, now, to build some strategic cooperation with Russia-China.
Has he undergone a conversion though? Considering his legendary volatility, all bets are off. Erdogan has a long memory, and has not forgotten that Putin was the first world leader to condemn the – botched – 2016 coup attempt by the usual intel suspects, and support him personally.
It’s still a long way for Erdogan’s Turkey to become a strategic partner to Russia. Yet he has a knack of knowing which way the geopolitical winds are blowing – and that points to Eurasia integration, the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership, and the primacy of the Russia-China strategic partnership manifested through BRI, EAEU and the SCO.
There’s even an Eurasianist mini-boom in Turkey. They are secular; anti-NATO – just like Russia-China; consider the Empire as the undisputed troublemaker in West Asia; and want closer ties with Moscow and Tehran.
In Nostalgia for the Empire: The Politics of Neo-Ottomanism, M. Hakan Yavuz argues that “neo-Ottomanism constitutes a web of interrelationships between the dominant discourse of Islamism, the residual memories of Ottoman grandeur, and the prominent desire to reconstitute the Turkish nation as a regional power with historic roots.”
The money quote is “regional power”. Why not a strong “regional power” deeply integrated into a strong Greater Eurasia – instead of a mere (decaying) western vassal? No wonder Erdogan is dying to hang out with Putin in Ankara.
Erdogan’s time is short – he has burnt both ends of the candle – that game works only for a period until those internally in Turkey see the ultimate danger has always been with Washington – in 62′ – the missiles in NE Turkey were the cause of the Cuban missile crisis and JFK knew his own MIC / CIA – were responsible.
He did the right thing as a nationalist and tried to straighten it all out on numerous issues and paid with his life. They narrowly missed De Gaulle who tried to do the same.
Turkey belongs with Russia / Iran to settle long term issues in the region. Someone else will get it done very soon.
Thank you Pepe!
That is an excellent analysis about Erdoghanism and Turkey and black sea.
Turkey as regional power? What’s the region?
Iran has a vast Shiite Crescent. Russia has parked for the next 50 years in the East Med-North Africa-Syria/Lebanon region. Doesn’t leave much room for Turkey. And his number one banker,Qatar is being pulled into the West’s LNG markets, so it will not be bankrolling as once before all of Erdogan’s moves.
This notion of Turkic belt across half the world is never going to coalesce. Language and religion alone get trumped by progress, the end to poverty and security. Turkey is in no position and never will be to bankroll Turkic development. Erdogan squandered his economy resisting Russia’s requests in Syria and playing against both sides everywhere.
@ Larchmonter445 on February 04, 2022 · at 1:00 pm EST/EDT
“…Erdogan squandered his economy resisting Russia’s requests in Syria and playing against both sides everywhere.”
His economy, and his political capital, wasted by his “legendary volatility,” as Pepe well observed.
He’s not trusted anywhere, east and west treat him with a ten foot pole, someone they are forced to deal with to gain advantage from the other side. Erdogan is very aware of this “tightrope” position and plays it for his own gain.
However, I will not ditch him and his neo-Ottoman pipedreams so fast, so early. He showed his usefulness during the Azerbaijan-Armenia recent conflict, a confrontation where his support gave Azerbaijan an advantage over Armenia, and a “victory,” sort of. Bayraktars are his entry ticket into countries in need of uplifting their arsenals, doing it again in Ukraine.
He is working hard at getting a foothold on the Stans, Azerbaijan is a good launchpad. He was in deep in Kazakhstan, as Pepe proved in a former article. Erdogan will strive to stay relevant for years to come, unfortunately for him, “instinct” only is not a secure way to navigate a complex geopolitical map surging toward a future pointing East and dominated by heavy weight thinkers like Putin and Xi.
He is too stuck in the past to catch up.
PS: Thanks, Pepe, as always, for your insights. And thanks to the Saker for sharing them in his blog.
While, Larchmonter445 is the resident expert on many issues, I think Lone Wolf provides a more balanced perspective. Erdogan has street creds in the Sunni Muslim world and they appreciate what a thorn he has been in the side of Saudi, Israel and the US’s expansionism. Of course he plays both sides, that will always be Turkey’s trump card, Erdogan or not. The chips are down for Erdogan, but I would not count him out until the last corpse has cast his ballot.
Well said. Surely, President Putin acknowledges Erdogan’s intelligence and limitations. We may say what we wish about him; but, we have to recognise that he is leaving his mark at this historic time. As an optimistic (like Pepe), I hope he takes the decisive decision, soon.
Exactly. The Wannabe Sultan’s © actions over the past 6 years have crystalized that he’s not someone that can be counted on. His good face towards Russia will last only until he succeeds in gaining control of the C. Asian stans. Fortunately, Russia won’t allow that to happen. Above all, Russia hasn’t forgotten nor forgiven what the Turks did to Lt. Col. Oleg Peshkov.
Erdogan is using the old tactic of playing both sides and if he continues with it, will end up outplaying himself. It’s questionable if he is capable of grasping reality. Instead of pursuing imperial dreams, he better concentrate on the state of the Turkish economy. He has already seen the Turkish Lira fall in value and street demonstrations against him.
VVP ..will not save of ass of sultan ERDOGAN next time……
“What’s the region?”
Brilliant, Larchmonter, and my thoughts exactly.
If you look at the pan-turanist countries most of them are already part of someone else’s sphere of influence ( eg Hungary -EU, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan- Russia etc)
Erdogan is an opportunist. He appears during a war situation, usually backing the side with US-Israeli-Qatari support, and hoping for leftover spoils-of-war.
He’s not in it for the long haul. Prime example: the Balkans. He was omni-present there during 90s war and now he ignores the region.
I don’t feel good about this installment of Pepe Escobar. I’m following the Syrian file verly closely. What Turkey is doing in Syria is abysmal. Erdogan is the sponsor of al-Nusra, al-Qaeda, ISIS, and every Salafi-Jihadi scum you can think about. That will never change. The truce between Russia and Turkey in Syria is more than hollow.
Pepe himself talks about the Turkish Turan project. Kasachstan is on the brink, so are all the other Turk states of Central Asia. The Afghanistan of the Taliban can fall to him sooner or later. We have to hope that Russian intel is very close to the Turkish inner circle to be not suprised. And Peskov is pro-Turkey, perhaps too much.
Peskov? He’s a doorman in the structure of power and influence. He’s in charge of galoshes and umbrellas.
He’s skilled at saying nothing when nothing is what the Kremlin wants to say.
I don’t think Bajoran knows what Peskov he’s talking about.
“He’s skilled at saying nothing when nothing is what the Kremlin wants to say.”
I believe that is in the official job description of any ‘spokesperson’.
There is only so much he can say while reporting inside of Turkey and if he intends on working the Turkish beat in the future.
To the best of my knowledge (someone here may know better ) it was Iran who picked up on the 2016 US coup and contacted Russian Intelligence, who in turn . . . . .
Bringing Ukraine into the fold, away from under the US kamikaze sphere of misery would be a good thing for all parties.
Putin sitting down with Zelensky in private would be a good move. Biden’s call with the latter gets him Brownie points for resisting US whims. If after the meeting Putin states that common sense fell on deaf ears, then he tried, good enough for us sane minds. I think we will be surprised.
Glass Half Full Guy
Is China still persuing its legal case against Ukraine for a reneged contract Antonov????….also The Duran sometimes refers to a legal case being held in UK Russia v Ukraine????
Anything else legally that could affect Ukr??? Apart from MH27.. Crimean gold…..
Do you mean the false flag shootdown of MH 17 by Ukraine over the Donbass? The CIA attempt to pin that massacre on Russia?
“t’s still a long way for Erdogan’s Turkey to become a strategic partner to Russia. Yet he has a knack of knowing which way the geopolitical winds are blowing – and that points to Eurasia integration, the Russian-conceptualized Greater Eurasia Partnership, and the primacy of the Russia-China strategic partnership manifested through BRI, EAEU and the SCO.”
How does Syria fit into that picture? Will he give up in Syria? Kurds may take it as a weakness.
Good question (I wish I had a more informed answer; as it stands, it is just feelings).
The whole idea of ‘nationalities’ without a nation-State is a modern western fabrication to divide and conquer. The Kurds, instead of a burden, may become an asset in a changing world.
C’mon, Turkey. Get out of NATO.
Erdogan is a throw-back to the old Third World leaders of Cold War 1.0. They used to always try to play the two blocs against each other, constantly scheming for a latest payoff from one side or the other.
The problem Erdogan has at this time is that such a leader is completely unreliable and untrustworthy. I can’t imagine Putin actually trusting Erdogan at this point in time. Putin might use Erdogan to his advantage, but Putin will never be a partner and friend to Erdogan. Erdogan may have had that opportunity after the CIA tried to kill him. But by now, Erdogan has refused the opportunity to be a trustworthy friend, and that’s an offer that Putin and Russia will not make twice.
I’m not sure that being the leader that nobody trusts is a good position to be in at the eve of World War III.
good perspective. Erdogan is foolish, petulant, arrogant, uncultured, disloyal, extremely narcissistic, disgusting, extremely ambitious, thirsty and an opportunistic wolf. This is a dangerous and explosive mixture. An egoist who only thinks about himself. I like Pepe, and he is an expert and has special tact for this matter. It intrigues me that Pepe knows that Erdogan is likely to lose the election, to leave the game. He’s not healthy enough to go on. He is like the sick Merkel, discredited by her people and her bloc, and therefore Erdogan cannot continue to lead Turkey. He’s worn out, but he doesn’t want to drop the bone! Erdogan is one of the causes of the tensions that threaten a third world war. Erdogan is a psychopath!!!
Beyond this article, it’s interesting for me that I think Russia views Turkey in a fundamentally similar way to how America views Russia. As a country trying and very annoyingly succeeding in punching above its weight, despite best efforts to keep it in its rightful place.
As the saying goes – Prepare for the worst hope for the best.
Putin’s the only adult in the room when it comes to Heads of major States; Zelensky we know , a mere novice being manipulated internally and externally by vested interests. If he sat down with Saker Andrei, Andrei Martyanov and Pepe Escobar for just one whole day/evening with several bottles, then I reckon he’d break down in tears, confess the US have him by the gonads and extract a detailed account of military assets on the ground (with Plans).
I say this in the knowledge that Ukrainians, like the Portuguese, are happiest when drunk and emotional listening to sad traditional songs in a bar/pub/group environment.
“Putin’s the only adult in the room when it comes to Heads of major States”
I think this is why Putin and Xi have gotten along.
The American policies of “poke the Bear with a stick” and then “poke the Dragon with a stick” made both appreciate that they had at least one neighbor who was not constantly poking them. Then they met, and realized it was the first time they were having a summit involving another adult. They’ve worked well together since.
From my notes, about a 1.5 weeks ago. Relevant to Erdogan and pan-Turkic moves. He is being steadily corralled by Eurasian powers and his own overreach. Soon, his option will not be between Zone A or Zone B, but between being on the side of the rule of law or open banditry..
I love Pepe’s optimism, and wish Turkey success as member of a sovereign Zone B, but Erdogan is a tired and possibly ill 70 year-old.. He and their entire elite spectrum, in or out of power, are on autopilot and will not change course at this point. At least not enough in time, to make a difference. The issue transcends Erdogan and is an emotional one for Turkey.
More lessons from Kazakhstan.
(1) On Voltairenetwork, they provide proof Russia pre-empted or steered the hybrid coup into a dead-end and meat-grinder by using Empire tactics derived from Iraq – i.e. triggering sleeper cells to out themselves prematurely, a counter-Psyop.
(2) Turbulence in Turkic tributaries.. on “the urgent meeting President Erdogan held with the heads of Organization of Turkic States member countries, after the entry of CSTO peacekeepers into Kazakhstan.” Read shocking public statements from across spectrum of Turkey – even retired generals and the opposition.. This loss was an emotional one for them. One unfortunate sequela is that this fiasco in KZ may empower Erdogan to militarize Greater Turan.
(3) Engdahl reviews Erdogan and connections to Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and British MI-6 head Richard Moore..
He is of opinion that Erdogan was behind KZ, and not rogue/MI6/Zionist elements such as Gulen. However many Russians voiced the opposite opinion, that official Turkey was not involved, so this aspect is murky for now. Are they cutting the Sultan some slack and providing an exit route?
Regardless, one of key passages, reinforcing other sources on Perfide Albion:
“The fact that a Turkish expert has been named head of MI-6 is highly significant and suggests the British-American intelligence agencies use of Erdoğan’s Turkey to destabilize the entire Muslim former Soviet Union is highly probable. The opportunist Erdoğan is clearly happy to be of help to his Anglo-American friends in this.”
I still think Russia / Putin should be wary of that unpredictable SOB. He’s deceitful and opportunistic.
Erdogan is not very smart politician. He just had to chill-out and exploit clash between East and West making Turkey rich country in the process. Only if he abandoned his expansionistic delusions. His constant poking eyes left and right made Turkey wannabe power, no-ones friend, everyone’s liability.
A very interesting and illuminating article. I also find the linked turkish article very interesting. The term “siege” is very fitting IMHO, and it is interesting to see the turkish point of view.
Can neo-Ottomanism fit into Greater Eurasia?
Thank you Pepe for this very nice and interesting write-up.
That’s a good question you ask in the article’s title.
It’s pretty obvious, at least to me, that Erdogan is, and has been, trying for quite some time now to find a place in the sun for Turkiye, in its own right. He is trying to find an independent path for Turkey in world affairs. Turkey is literally and figuratively caught between East and West and in trying to carve its own path, it has managed to occasionally antagonise both the East (RF) and the West (US/Nato).
I don’t know how much ‘buy-in’ there is in the AKP (and amongst Turks) for Erdogan’s vision of the — Turkey-led — Turkic world; perhaps there’s sufficient traction for the vision to survive him, perhaps not.
At any rate, Erdogan has signalled that Turkey is well aware of its assigned role as a tool for serving US/Euro interests, and that it is tired of it, and nobody, in particular US/Nato, can take Turkey for granted. Turkey and Russia are mindful of their long history together: often punctuated by wars of course — par for the course for great powers — but also by long periods of peace and cooperation, with both contributing to the shaping of Eastern European and Central Asian history. I think RF understands Turkey better than the whole combined West. This is the part that I find fascinating and to my mind, it is not inconceivable that at some point in the near future, Turkey may just ditch Nato and go it alone.
I completely agree. Turkey is moderately rich (oil) country. It has skilled workers with an impressive artistic talent. And it has a rich historical past. As the Russian, Chinese, Indian and Iranian civilizations, the Turkish civilization is also impressive. These great civilizations of Eastern world have everything to cooperate with each other.
There are many comments here attributing Turkey’s unpredictable and sometimes malign behavior to Erdogan’s personal characteristics.
To what extent do these behaviors emit from Turkey’s ‘deep state’ permanent civilian and military bureaucracy? Can we really expect Turkish foreign policy to change drastically if someone else takes power (assuming the current financial turmoil does not change things drastically for them).
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and Britains attempt to carve out a share of it, and Kemal Atatuks victory, the Turkish Military became enthusiastic Kemalists. ie with a Nationalist agenda. The tradition of the Turkish military ‘interfering’ in politics with the aim of removing those who were felt to destabilise the Nationalist direction…came to an abrupt halt when Hilary Clinton was SofS. This was also the moment when Erdogan consolidated power.
So basically since most are now serving prison sentences, the Military has been neutralised from having any political influence. The younger generation of Turks do not remember the stabilising role that the military played in the past…so the current support for Erdogan comes mainly from the large but illiterate Eastern Anatolian population. So today there is not much left of the former very middle class and educated “Turkish Deep State” structure.
I guess one could say that the US saved Erdogans neck first…and then when the US tired of him, Putin saved his neck again. Will this beast have 3 lives? Erdogan has almost eliminated any real opposition… The main opposition is from the mercantile, educated middle class in greater Istanbul and they cannot sustain any durable street riots… theres just not enough support.
So yours is an excellent question…Turkey enjoyed very much its role in playing the USSR against the USA in order to gain benefits from both. I recall my own Turkish father stating that in his youth, he was ready to die for Ataturk and hated all the nations around the perimeter of Turkey, so he grew up in a tense atmosphere of the post-ottoman 1920s and was happy that Turkey steered a totally neutral course.
I have to digress here a bit but this is a juicy bit of history: Von Papen was sent to Turkey to try to coax Turkey into siding with Germany but my mother who was working in Ankara during the war as a Swiss embassy staffer with a role as liaison between Axis and Allied powers, recalled the very day after this meeting in Ankara, when Von Papen entered a favourite restaurant of the Diplomat community…even the Band members were informed of events and immediately played the tune “I cant give you anything but love Baby” at which point everyone was cheering and laughing and Von Papen sat down with his Nazi chums, looking embarrassed and glum
The neutrality of Turkey made that the country was stable, rich in resources, with a thriving agricultural economy, so when my parents moved to the UK in the 1950s, they stated that the UK felt like a Third World country in comparison, with rationing and everything still destroyed. My father was a resolute Kemalist and always supported every military coup that took place in Turkey. But he refused to return after Menderes was killed. He felt that was a step too far. Today the military is emasculated. Erdogan is responsible for most of this and i cannot see any real opposition on the horizon…so todays politics are driven mostly by Erdogans whims…
Others mention the role of Turkey in Syria. Ataturk drew the final boundary of the new Turkish Republic and insisted it had henceforth to stay that way – but there was an incursion into northern Syria to grab a piece of land there, which was a popular move in Turkey – and Turkey still covets more of this territory. It is a black earth region, so it has fantastic potential. Turkey wants the land for the agricultural potential. The USA sees it as extra territory gained for NATO… Syria just needs a bit more support to force Turkey and the USA out of there… Russia basically holds the key to Turkeys economy: If Erdogan ‘behaves,’ the reward he can expect is more income from Russian tourism and demand for agricultural products…if he doesnt ‘behave,’ the most he can ‘gain’ is he has to spend funds on Russian military equipment to help protect his ‘regime.’
Any new political direction for Turkey post-Erdogan has to be formulated by the more educated middle class if it is to lead to a more stable relationship with neighbours, but the middle class is demographically outnumbered long term and currently emasculated due to the economic problems.
The Turkish Lira has been drastically devalued. Turkey imports most products & needs foreign currency and has taken drastic measures to secure more foreign currency, especially in the banking sector. It has severe problems with energy, and had to temporarily restrict / cut off energy to about 60,000 businesses. It has dangerously low reserves after spending billions trying to prop up the Lira.
There is a real possibility that Turkey will struggle to meet it’s financial commitments & will need the ‘help’ of the IMF. If that happens, the money ( as always ) will come with ‘strings attached.’ Erdogan will be forced to dance to whatever tune the US dictates.
Erdogan do what he can with what he owns.
He know that as Turk and as Muslim, west and especially anglos will never let him sit at the masters’s table. Just kind of subaltern supplementary.
Then he need to play with Russian the same scène that Loukascenko plaid with west.
But he knows too that Russia never let him become to much influencial in the “stans”
It’s a smart game.
But if he join the Eurasiatics, he have only few to win and it will be under the fire of the whole west and the Saoudis. Forced to foreback in the Stans, in Syria. Bad outlook.
In fact, he only use Russia to raise the stakes with USA but he will stay below the west line. All his sources of progress are against Russia.
I think that it’s the Russian point of vew toi. They’ll never trust that eel. Even they prefer an eel than a solid NATO pittbull at the Gate.
For Fiedrich II ” the Great”, from Prussia this kind of game ended very well with his country became a major european actor under his reign.
But for Charles le Mauvais from Navarre it end in desaster.
He also currently is the master of Muslim Brotherhood. And he challenge Saoudis or Algérians in Europe, France and Germany .
Anyway, I don’t see no such an agenda that could survive him.
Short answer: (definitely) nope.
You may find a bit longer explanation below:
Even discounting the following practical facts such as:
1) Present government being highly instable
2) State having lost almost every reason to exist/continue in its present form
3) Foreign (and also to a certain extent, domestic) policy being very much ambivalent and inconsistent (to say the least) and running counter to very basic interests of the nation and country (to the point of jeopardizing their future); let alone that of the neighboring countries, Russia and/or Eurasia as a whole;
One must point out to some other essential theoretical facts:
A – Sheer nostalgia had never been, is and will very likely never become a good approach at all in international politics; it is always the new or the recent adapted to the realities of the time for very least which triumphs
B- Whether ethnic and/or conviction based; no ideological current with pan- prefix had ever been proved to be viable and has no chance at all to achieve success in the future, for all intents and purposes.
C- considering organizational wise; to contemplate an old style empire of 17th century creed (let alone caliphate) is an awfully backward paradigm, left at least three generations behind the real course of events; and thus is nothing but moribund and factitious theory nowadays; has no place in 21st century where imperialism in its hyper version is in its death throes.
D- Any large scale political project must rely, based and repose on
a) Universal rules
c) Circumstances of current international relations
Those are fundamental elements of which surely, current Turkish government and seemingly, the bureaucracy is totally unaware
Fascinating article! Yes, Erdogan’s days as a troublemaker may be close to an end. He is an intelligent man, despite his handcaps (well described by Pepe), and has slowly moving to the right direction. He will have to make a major decision, soon. It will be the right one.
Well he acquired a “mild” case of covid as part of his little Ukrainian jaunt.
So karma is a bitch as is said.
Three cheers for Omicron!
Turkey is already in China’s grip. Turkey’s economy is a “finishing” economy. It buys machinery and semi-finished goods from China, finishes it, puts made in Turkey and ships it to EU because of lower tariffs and quota than China does.
To finance this finishing process he gets loans from UAE and whenever things get bad he devalues the currency, lowers interest rate and keeps the balls in the air, so to speak.
When the music stops, not sure what he will do or where he will be. It can stop for various reasons…
Erdogan in Kiev? Not only. Baerbock in Kiev! And visiting the Donbass contact line. A perfect occasion for a false flag, and a perfect victim: young, mother, decently looking, green progressive.
Today’s affairs regulated by a 1936 document? Please explain.