Turkey is beginning to feel like its notional American “ally” is “containing” it despite the incipient rapprochement that the two Great Powers are presently involved in, and it thinks that blustering against what it suspects are the US-backed plans of its Greek and Cypriot neighbors will scare them off and succeed in calling the US’ bluff.
The New Yorker report by Dexter Filkins, a Pulitzer Prize winner and acclaimed author with long experience in reporting from the frontlines of Middle Eastern hotspots, concludes: “Even if—especially if—M.B.S. hangs on to his position, it seems likely that the Saudi royal family, and Saudi Arabia more generally, are entering a dangerous period.”
The bottom line is that it is the post-war Syrian order that is under discussion now. However, it must be understood as well that the proxy war is not ending but is rather morphing into the diplomatic war that lies ahead, which of course will be keenly fought, given the divergent interests of the foreign protagonists.
The US-backed alliance between Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Israel and Egypt to contain Iran does not make a new regional order. Erdogan will now assert Turkey’s leadership role in the Muslim Middle East. Importantly, he is known to champion the Muslim Brotherhood as the charioteer of a New Middle East.
If Turkey wants to join the EU, surely, it has to provide maximum of required standards of protection of all kind of minorities including and religious-cultural ones. That can be a chance for the Alevi people in Turkey to improve their status within the society.
It should be expected that the US will only continue intensifying the pressure that it puts on Turkey concurrent with the exacerbation of its existing sanctions measures on neighboring Iran, essentially pairing the two Great Powers together to form a single Mideast battlefield on which the US’ economic warfare is fought.
Representatives from Iran, Russia, and Turkey met in Sochi to discuss the fate of the province of Idlib. Specifically – to debate the price of a Turkish pullout from the region. But the most significant long-term issues center on Iran.
The point is, US patience with Turkey seems to be wearing thin. Turkey is no longer a ‘swing’ state in the US’ Middle East strategies, given the poor state of Turkish-Israeli relations, Erdogan’s ‘pivot to Russia’ and the overall trust deficit in Turkish-American relationship.
Irrespective of its eventual effectiveness, the quadrilateral coordination between the Southern Bloc’s Arab members and Israel speaks to Turkey’s multipolar credibility and success in positioning itself as a serious player in Mideast affairs.
Hostility against Erdogan has increased since he won a landslide electoral victory this month to become Turkey’s new, powerful president. He had emerged as the most important Turkish leader and modernizer since Ataturk. If Turkey only had oil, as it did pre-WWI, it would be an important world power.
Erdogan will continue to pursue the ‘pivot to the East’ both for balancing his troubled relationship with the West as well as in intrinsic terms. To be sure, what began as an entente with Russia over the situation in northern Syria has already broadened into a full-bodied partnership between the two countries, especially in the economic sphere.
In pursuit of maintaining the so-called “middle ground”, President Erdogan has rhetorically oscillated between the West and Russia in order to provoke the unipolar and multipolar “blocs” to compete with one another for Turkey’s loyalty.