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Turkey playing power games
by Thanos Kalamidas
2011-09-07 07:21:54
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Turkey was never the country used to sudden moves especially when it’s coming to long term foreign policy and that there is a definite and well planed geopolitical agenda the last century at least has been more than obvious to all the players and interest part in the east Mediterranean Sea, the Balkans and the Middle East. So the hardening attitude towards Israel with the latest hit the announcement that Turkey suspends any trade defence ties with Israel is not just the pro-Palestinian feelings of the Turkish republic or the Muslim friendly leadership of the Turkish state but something else.

The truth is that Turkey is balancing – occasionally dangerously – between west and east for centuries but always shown a preference to the west especially after Kemal Ataturk’s regime and the foundations of the new Turkish state. And then came the combination of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Abdullah Gül to move Turkey into the more contemporary times creating a new reality in the Turkish establishment. Inspired from the western democracies and motivated with the EU dream the two of them and especially Erdoğan first fought – successfully at least till now – the “deep state”, the Turkish army that for a century ruled – often strangle - the country, occasionally with an iron fist and puppet dictators like most lately Turgut Özal.

Despite all those ups and downs the Turkish foreign policy remained the same into focusing establishing Turkey as a regional superpower the somehow dominates the area playing often critical role into decisions and events and in the background profiting in many senses including financially in short or long term. Don’t forget that the whole thing about the Turkmen in Iraq has mainly to do with the oil fields in an area controlled by the Iraqi Kurds. A combination of too many issues of interest for Turkey politically and financially. But there were and are too many grooms for the power bride in the area. Syria wanted – at least before the trouble started – a share, Iran definitely wants a big part and even Egypt is a player still enjoying past glories among the Arab world.

And the thorn the last six decades in the middle east has been the Palestinian issue that all of them have cleverly use reaching first of all the sentimental side of the regional populations. From the “shining path” in Peru to the Afghani Taliban all of them often refer to the Palestinian issue excusing often violence acts in the name of people that unfairly suffer but they are not going to find justice through those acts. And in the middle of all that it is Israel, the real player in Middle East with a little help from western friends in a hostile by definition region surrounded by all level enemies.

Turkey and especially Tayyip Erdoğan invested highly in the European Union card expecting that the geopolitical position of the country will be the wild card that will lead them into the European partnership establishing them from a regional power to a global player. Unfortunately after a decade of trying the future doesn’t look bright not only because turkey is not ready and perhaps suitable for Europe but also because Europe is under a serious crisis with partly its roots in the early expansion and definitely not ready to risk another expansion based mainly into political and not realistic decisions. So turkey is turning to the alternative solution – knowing that nobody is going to survive alone as the contemporary crisis unveils. Trying to become a superpower in the troubled and shaken from all kinds of revolutions and unrests Middle East.

Doing that Turkey plays in two stages. From one side Turkey establishes herself as the mediator – the player in between – for any act between west and Middle East; the same time playing the protector of the Palestinian people establishes a new situation in the conscience of the Middle East and Arab people for a national that hasn’t been very popular for centuries in the region for many reasons; then Turkey ones more blackmails the western allies and especially the European possible partners emphasizing her importance for any geopolitical plans in the region. Finally and that’s the bonus of the whole act, a Middle East Union cloning the idea of the European Union might not be such a bad idea especially since the timing is good with all the instability in the Middle East and the need of the people of a vision to the future that covers religion commonality and cultural harmony.

Conclusion? For one more time the Palestinian people serving geopolitical plans of others. Conclusion? The Israelis most likely are fully aware of the game, that’s why the mild reactions that in the end of the day the result whatever it is might serve them as well. Conclusion? The Americans keep quiet despite the fact that their closer allies in the region seem troubled waiting to see what will happen also expecting any conclusion to serve their geopolitical plans and not been negative in the idea of the Turks controlling the region instead of the Iranians for example. Conclusion? For one more time the last decade, Europe looks numb, dubious and used in this power game lacking any sense of foreign policy and been manipulated becoming a pawn and having to deal with the sequences when it is – as usual – too late hoping that no “inspired” political decision will through us any deeper to where we are!

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