Vicken Tossounian, Beirut, 11 November 2021
Many politicians and political analysts state that Turkey’s role is one of spreading instability and it is a police state established by the West to control other states. This role was emphasized during the Syrian, Libyan, Iraqi and Nagorno Karabagh conflicts.
Since 2003 Turkey has been ruled by the AKP or the Justice and Development party (elected into majority in 2002). This party has Islamist roots and the Muslim Brotherhood philosophy of governing the country through Islamic law is considered the guideline.
The American administration tried to change regimes in the Middle East and north Africa (the Creative Chaos philosophy) by letting the Muslim Brotherhood come to power through popular revolts. Tunisia, Libya, Egypt and Syria were the main targets. The uprisings started in late 2010 and engulfed these states. Initially the uprisings were successful. When in Syria it did not work as planned, thousands of Islamist mercenaries were entered into the country through Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan, causing the eruption of a bloody conflict. It cost thousands of Syrian lives and millions became refugees in neighboring states. Turkey played a very important role in conducting these rebellions. Iraq was also targeted by Islamist mercenaries. Both countries were relieved through Russian and Iranian military interference. The Western plan of regime change was foiled and Turkey’s role as the policeman was a fiasco.
The West’s plan to replace nationalist regimes by Islamic rule was not successful in Egypt as well. The Army took power through General Abd El Fattah El-Sisi and the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood, who had become president, died in prison. In Tunisia, the people who had elected a Muslim Brotherhood party to power, soon realized that all was a lie and it was as corrupt as other parties.
After its failure in Arab countries, Turkey was given a new role to destabilize the South Caucasus through starting a war between Azerbaijan and the Armenian enclave of Nagorno Karabakh (Artsakh). The 44 day conflict resulted in the re-occupation of many parts of the enclave by Azeri, Turkish forces, Pakistani and Syrian mercenaries. For the first time since 1828, Turkey started to have a say in the matters of Southern Caucasus. The West and Israel played a negative role in this conflict through planning and helping the aggressors.
Russia played a passive role in the first days of the conflict, due to a policy of disengaging Turkey from the west. Later on when it realized the size of the geopolitical loss it was going to have, it interfered through its army and stopped the conflict.
The West’s plan was to let Turkey play as its aide in Ukraine, South Caucasus and Central Asia. In Ukraine, Turkey is helping the anti-Russian government by supplying it with the ‘Bayrakdar’ military drones and other weapons, which were used against pro-Russian forces in the Donbass conflict. In Central Asia, Turkey is trying to establish a pan-Turkic league of states the people of which are of Turkish origin. It is using also Islam as a tool to reunite all Islamic states under the Turkish caliphate or khilafa, replacing the Ottoman caliphate. It is obvious that the West has given Turkey a role to destabilize Russia, the nationalist Arab countries and the South Caucasus.
President Putin is implementing a policy of patience with Turkey. It is trying to gain its confidence through business and security partnerships in Syria and the South Caucasus. Turkey is abusing the Russian positive stance and it is implementing its own policy. How long will the Russians endure this Turkish policy of two faces depends on many circumstances. One of them may be the crossing of red lines in Ukraine, which is an important factor in the Russian national security agenda. The other is the Turkish negative role in Central Asia, where it is trying to manipulate Turkish language and Islam to create anti-Russian sentiments. Islam is being used once more by the West and Turkey to divide Russia from within. One of these or all of them may be the trigger to tell the Russians that it is enough. A conflict triggered between the unipolar world led by the West and multipolar China, Russia and Iran may also be the cause to confront Turkey.
The future is full of surprises and we should be ready for them. Sacrificing president Erdogan may also be on the agenda, especially after his failure to implement the policies of the West.