Erdogan risks falling out with the whole world in the most unfavorable period for the Turkish economy

The Turkish President did not give a damn about the UN Security Council resolution and made it clear that he would not allow the unification of the Greek and Turkish communities of Cyprus into a single state

Erdogan risks falling out with the whole world in the most unfavorable period for the Turkish economy

The United States and Great Britain have already promised to convene an urgent meeting of the Security Council, and Russia has condemned Ankara for opening the ghost town of Varosha. It seems that Ankara is increasing its expansion with impunity, but in reality Erdogan had to moderate his appetites.

The Day of Peace and Freedom is the main holiday of the Turks of Northern Cyprus. This is the day when the Turkish army occupied the north of the island and began the expulsion of the Greeks, on the occasion of which a military parade is held annually with the participation of a dear guest – Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The modern Turkish media will not write this, but we have the opportunity to assess the dissonance of this pathos with the real events of 1974, because the operation of the Turkish General Staff from a military point of view turned out to be an example of mediocrity.

That fleeting war knows amazing cases when one Greek tank knocks out six Turkish ones, and a lone private (also a Greek) successfully defends the village from two companies and one battalion for several days. But the most unpleasant memory for the Turks is the largest case of “friendly fire” after the Second World War, when the Turkish aircraft bombed their own fleet for several hours, as they were led to the primitive distribution of the Greeks on the radio.

The Turks managed to realize their goal and occupy 37% of the island-state for the sole reason that they were lucky with their image. In the sense that the international community, although it condemned Ankara’s actions as contrary to international law, rather sympathized with the Turks than the Greeks. It was the Greeks who were then considered “very bad guys”.

In Athens, the militaristic and obscurantist regime of the “black colonels” sat on bayonets, which was often and reasonably compared with the fascist one. In Nicosia – a military junta of nationalists, which overthrew the legitimate president and terrorized the Muslim population of the island. At the same time, the two parts of the Greek people, contrary to all previous agreements, wanted to unite into a single Greece – and they did not want to allow this on principle. Including because of associations with the possessed German Fuhrer and his policy of “collecting land”.

As a result, the American aviation prevented the transfer of Greek reinforcements to Cyprus, in the event of the arrival of which in sufficient numbers the Turks would hardly have seen anything. But the poorly armed Cypriot Greeks did not get anything at all without reinforcements, so the operation “Attila”, despite the mediocrity of the command, ended on the whole successfully. Formally, the Turks were the aggressors, but a significant part of the world elite was perceived as defenders of the oppressed minority.

This point of view was shared even by many Greeks. The heroic actions of individual units in the defense of the island from the Turks were hushed up, their participants were not presented for awards, their goals were declared false or even criminal. The revision of this policy began only in recent years, and before that, the society imposed shame on both the “black colonels” and their Cypriot “henchmen”.

Now, 47 years later, from an international legal point of view, nothing has changed – the Greeks are right, the Turks are wrong. But during this time, the parties to the conflict have changed their image.
Greek Cyprus is a member of the EU, a militarily neutral power, a respected member of the international community, an offshore destination for moneybags of all nationalities. Turkey is an authoritarian and aggressive state trying to spread its influence over the Turkic world, including by military means.

Therefore, Erdogan’s arrival in the TRNC and what he said there was condemned almost everywhere, where they noticed, including Smolensk Square. In this issue, even Moscow was no exception: yes, Ankara seems to be a strategic partner for us, but Erdogan is showing unacceptably much participation in the Ukrainian “campaign for the return of Crimea” so that we kindly close our eyes to his tricks with Cyprus, especially since Nicosia is one from the most friendly capitals of the EU.

Formally, the greatest outrage in Russia and the West was caused by the fact that Erdogan announced the opening of another part of the legendary resort of Famagusta. Washington and London even promised to urgently convene a meeting of the UN Security Council. This is one of the most striking (albeit almost forgotten) aspects of the local conflict, since ancient Famagusta (more precisely, one of the city’s quarters – Varosha) by the beginning of Operation Atilla was the “golden mile of Europe” – one of the most expensive, respectable, fashionable and famous resorts in the world. Because of its strategic position, the Turks, without thinking twice, evicted everyone from Varosha, cordoning off the quarter with barbed wire.

In other words, people were deprived of very expensive real estate, standing on very expensive land, giving them a day to collect. The UN Security Council adopted a special resolution that all property must be returned to the owners and cannot be used by anyone else. The Turks did not argue with this especially strongly, but they did not intend to leave the island and are not going to.

Since then, the resort has turned into a ghost town under the control of the Turkish military, who were supposed to defend it from marauders, but they did not succeed in everything. And now Erdogan made a decision that there is no need for all this good to stand idle – and opened a part of Varosha. Property owners can return if they want, but on Turkish terms, and if they don’t want to, then the holy place is never empty.

In general, the Turkish sultan suggested both the Greeks and the entire international community to accept the inevitability – the division of Cyprus into two states.

“We will not wait, believe and lose another 50 years … The groundless dreams of the Greek Cypriot side, which still considers the Turkish Cypriots a minority, have reached a dead end,” he snapped and promised to invest in the construction of parliamentary and presidential palaces for the local Turkish republics.

But Erdogan is disingenuous. The Cyprus Greek-Turkish ethnic conflict is extremely far from the bitterness, for example, the Armenian-Azerbaijani, Georgian-Abkhaz or Israeli-Palestinian. For decades, there have been no incidents in the contact zone of the parties, the borders in many places have become transparent, and the parties have a real chance to agree on unification into a single Republic of Cyprus.

The local Turkish community is, by and large, for. This will ensure investment in the economy of the TRNC and make its inhabitants EU citizens. The only thing that essentially hinders the process of unification is the greed of the Turks, who want to get too much for returning to the common nest, including the complete abandonment of the Greeks’ claims and 90% subsidies for the maintenance of their state apparatus (according to the principle “you have more money – you pay.” ).

But Erdogan is against it. In Northern Cyprus, he needs a separate Turkish state, independent of anyone other than Ankara and its military bases. This is part of his strategy to create a new version of the Ottoman Empire, an important piece of which he does not intend to cede to the European Union.

Considering that this is not the most attractive option for the welfare of the Cypriot Turks, the attitude towards Erdogan on the island is ambiguous. He tries to behave like a benefactor and almost like the father of the nation, but some factions of the TRNC parliament boycotted his speech altogether. There, the Turkish president is considered a dictator, an adventurer and an imperialist who wants to impose his will on the Europeanized Cypriot Turks. That is, they evaluate it quite rationally.

Erdogan’s stubbornness and insolence in the construction of the Radiant Port 2.0 (which is only the war in Karabakh, due to which the sultan wanted to gain a foothold in the Transcaucasus) is usually commented in the way that he behaves this way because he can afford it. Turkey, they say, has become too influential a player to find justice for the sultan.

But practice shows that this is not entirely true. Russia managed to save most of Nagorno-Karabakh and put its peacekeepers on the path of further Turkish expansion. Erdogan’s plans in Syria also went to pieces in many directions: he gained control of much less territory than he expected, thanks to the actions of the Kurds and the SAR.

Finally, even his speech in Northern Cyprus turned out to be far from sensational as it was supposed – and as he himself promised when he announced “several important statements”. For example, he was expected to announce the appearance in Cyprus of two new military bases for the Navy and drones, gas production on the island’s shelf, and the imminent recognition of the TRNC by Azerbaijan (there were indeed representatives of Baku in the Turkish delegation).

However, none of this happened, and all the imperial pathos was reduced to the financing of palaces opening a slice of Famagusta. In the words of the Russian classic, “they expected villainy from him, but he ate the siskin.” And the fact that now eating this siskin is passionately condemned by the international community only looks like powerlessness. Even Erdogan stifles his appetites if he realizes that he risks falling out with the whole world in the most unfavorable period for the Turkish economy.

Stanislav Borzyakov, VZGLYAD


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