Erdogan's acrobatics and the art of bartering
The political aims of the Turkish president’s Vatican visit. The alliance with Putin and purchase of weapons from Russia while remaining in NATO. The Sultan wants to take full advantage of Turkey's geopolitical position in the migrant flow to Europe; as a basis for a possible attack on Iran. But everything according to his personal ambition.
Istanbul (AsiaNews) - With a visit to Pope Francis in the Vatican yesterday, Recep Tayyip Erdogan wanted to present himself to the fragmented Muslim world as the only reference point on the question of Jerusalem.
He was aligning himself with his new ally Vladimir Putin, who in turn presents himself as protector of Christians in the Middle East.
Both share the desire to dictate the Middle Eastern geopolitical issues, speculating on the obvious exploitation of the religious factor for political and ideological purposes, but in a modern version.
For Russia, its involvement in the Middle East is still topical, seen more as a strategic outlet for its imperial and geopolitical ambitions; for Erdogan's Turkey it is the return to his neo-Ottoman vision, that is to Turkey as a new regional power, speculating on its important geopolitical position.
Turkey has also speculated on its position during the Cold War period. In this regard it should be remembered that during the Second World War, although it had guaranteed the Allies its involvement in the war against Germany, it only declared war against the latter the day before the German armistice.
This is in its nature of oriental origin, which is expressed magnificently in the Turkish word alisveris, to barter.
Today, in an increasingly globalized and multipolar world from an economic and political point of view, Erdogan's new Turkey claims and demands to have its say on regional issues, speculating on the clashes and weaknesses of the so-called great powers: USA, Russia and China.
Europe, in its view, is relative because it is easily blackmailed by the migratory factor with Turkey controlling the flows. At the same time, Ankara offers it a large and young market, a land of profitable investments, due to the application by Muslims of neoliberal policies, characterized by Turkish entrepreneurial skills, labor skills and the absence of constraints in the workplace.
It should be noted that in the military clashes that take place there, Germany provides the Turks with the famous Leopard tanks. The same is done by France and Italy with various other weaponry.
Erdogan, a true political animal, comes from a Turkey despised by the Kemalist system. As a 2004 US report says, he is characterized by the despotic pride and unbridled ambition that derives from the faith that God has predestined him to command Turkey. For this reason he has established an authoritarian political power, as the new Sultan.
A long-term project
This power was established using the AKP party as a trampoline, starting with the unhinging of the Kemalist system, proceeding with reforms, unimaginable before then. Once in power, around 2009, he started a campaign first against his partners in his climb to power and - after the failed coup in July 2016 - against civil society.
His absolute power enjoys the support of 51% of the population, especially that of Anatolian and Islamic faith.
Anyone who speaks with this population hears them boast of their pride in being Turkish, in spite of the dissidents who fill the prisons.
It should also be emphasized that the 51% rate tends to increase, among non-Kurdish opposition parties, when Erdogan fights the Kurdish issue as Turkey's No. 1 danger, thus extolling the Turkish nationalist sentiment that has been well rooted and imbedded in the kemalista system since 1923.
This explains the heavy words against President Trump, guilty of supporting the Syrian Kurdish movement YPK, close to the Turkish PKK. This led to the invasion of Turkish military forces in the Afrin resort in Syria, with the clearance of the Russians, and threatened to proceed against the city of Manbij, where Kurdish and American forces are allocated.
It is the first time that the president of a member state of NATO has lashed out against a US president, also resorting to the purchase of weapons from the Russian enemy (400S missiles).
Diplomatic sources in Ankara say that environments close to the Turkish president remind the Americans that they allowed the passage of Isis mercenaries from Turkey to Syria precisely on their incitement.
In truth, even in 2003, Turkey refused to use the Bush bases, but it did not go any further.
At the diplomatic level, there are those who advocate that, if the US wants to attack Iran, it can only do so with the operational capabilities of Ankara and in spite of the current alliances.
In the unstable middle-eastern context of geopolitical equilibrium, Erdogan is flexing his muscle to preserve his power, using the politics of barter, the fine art of the Ottoman tradition, also characterized by the all-Turkish capacity to change and overturn one's own alliances.