Turkey is continuing to fall into an abyss, even though only a few years ago foreign media headlines were running headlines proclaiming a “Rising Turkey,” and US and EU officials and experts described Turkish leaders as “modern, democratic, reform-oriented, pro-European Muslims,” believes Hurriyet Daily analyst Burak Bekdil.
The West used to believe that Turkey could become an example to emulate for the less democratic Muslim countries in the Middle East. But now it turned out otherwise. The Turks will have to pay a high price for the revisionist ambitions and erroneous strategic thinking of their leaders, Burak Bekdil writes in his article for the Gatestone Institute analytical center.
Turkish internal politics are in chaos. In only seven months, more than 170 people fell victim to terrorist attacks in various cities in Turkey, not including the hundreds more who fell victim to the clashes between Turkish security forces and the Kurds. “Turkey is also submerging into chaos outside its borders. The country is conducting an ever more dangerous proxy war against the Shia and governments in Damascus, Baghdad, and Tehran, as well as against Russia which supports them.
Moreover, Turkey, with its neo-imperial ambitions, also views Lebanon, Libya, Israel, and Egypt as hostile countries. In Syria, the various actors, including Turkey are all “trying to grab the biggest piece of a small pie.” Ankara’s Islamist ambitions are no longer a secret, and neither are Iran’s, Bekdil writes. In his view, the fact that Russia, whose relations with Turkey deteriorated, could surround the country using Syria, Crimea, and Armenia. Considering Russia’s deployment of forces to Syria after the Su-24 shoot-down, Turkey “looks helpless.” And its NATO allies demonstrated complete indifference on the matter of assisting it in the event of a conflict with Russia.
In order for peace to reign in the Middle East, several issues will have to be addressed. Including: will the Turkish Islamists realize that their neo-imperial ambitions are not matched by the country’s power and influence in the region? Will the Sunnis ever manage to contain their religious expansionism? Will the Sunnis ever be able to stop radicalization on their own, without intervention by non-Muslim countries? Bekdil believes that the answer to all of these questions is “no.”