Thursday, June 03, 2010

"Turkey is no longer the sick man of Europe, it is the strong man of the Middle East"

Very interesting. Turkey is covering its bases with the Kurds in Iraq. al Barazani is in Turkey to reiterate the "brotherliness" of the Iraqi (Kurdish) and Turkish people. The timing for this means only one thing. The Israelis have often used the Kurds to put pressure, either on Saddam's Iraq or on Iran. That's nothing new, the Syrians used to do the same until they kicked out Abdullah Ocalan. What can the Turk's offer the Kurds of Northern Iraq? "In" on the new Turkish-Iranian-Syrian trade and co-operation network that is informally being established. If the Kurd's are given the opportunity to make money and prosper (they can't survive as a nation if any or all the neighbouring countries won't allow it) then they'll stop firing rockets at Turkish bases, as happened a few days ago. This means a backdoor for the Americans and the Israelis may be temporarily shut.

The shifting of Turkey eastwards has been happening for sometime but the real test will be to see whether it survives Erdogan's government, or the President of Mr Abdullah Gul. If it does, this will be a worrying setback for America and Israel. But that is doubtful, Erdogan needs more time to cement this promising development and strengthen his ties with Iran and Syria, if he is removed too soon then this could jeopardise the Turkish project. In fact I wouldn't be surprised if somebody tries to assassinate him in the near future, perhaps on a trumped up motive that he is "infringing" Kemalist secularism in the Republic (which he is, but extremely cautiously and slowly). Maybe when this whole flotilla business dies down, two years or three perhaps. But in the meantime Iran and Hezbullah are getting stronger and Syria's position is also becoming cemented as the country you can talk with in the region. This in particular was a project that had been succesfully started by the elder president Assad and patiently nurtured.

In fact it is Hafez al Assad's excellent decision to side with Iran in the Iran-Iraq war, and subsequently to incubate a young Hezbullah in Lebanon, which gave Syria the strategic vision it enjoys today. The post-Hariri fiasco, the 2006 Lebanon war and the successful pressure maintained on the Americans in Iraq following their occupation have all shown that the current president of Syria has made excellent use of this strategic advantage and built on it.

I think the strengthening of ties with an increasingly Muslim Turkey puts another foundation stone in a new strategic vision for the region. This will include Iraq (and the Kurds) when the time is right - I suspect. But all now depends on giving Turkey time to rejoin its Muslim and Eastern neighbours and to regain its historically important position in the region. Today it is Europe which is sick and Turkey is no longer the sick man of Europe, it is the strong man of the Middle East.

3 comments:

openid said...

Interesting!

Last night I was asking myself "What's in it for Turkey?" because I can't comprehend why it's returning to the East again..

The only 2 answers I found logical were:
1. because it lost hope in joining EU - and searching for new allies
or 2. for the gulfies' investments?

However, I can't buy both scenarios because -for me- Arabs in general are a lost case. But Turkey doesn't have other options, does it?

On the other hand, the only explanation I speculated.. is may be - may be - Turkey is currently searching for any leadership position in the coming world's map.. even if its on a bunch of losers.. I don't know..

Lirun said...

prefers to be head of the foxe rather than the tail of lion.. institutionalise mediocracy and be the hegemon of countries that are imploding.. what an honour..

TLOS said...

Turkey is not sick?

Show me an Islamic society, and I will show you a sick society.