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Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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Turkey is expected to announce the formation of a united army of the Turkic countries (the Army Of Great Turan), a Turkish military expert – Kaan Saryaydin claimed.

According to him, this is expected to take place on October 29th, at the Summit of The Cooperation Council of Turkic Speaking States, since “the time has come to announce it”.

It is interesting that the expert has set a specific date, since conversations and discussions about this have been going on for more than a year, however, in different political and geopolitical contexts.

At one time, the reputable Turkish publication Uluslarası Politika Akademisi linked the possibility of implementing such a project with the prospect of developing the Association of Law Enforcement Agencies of the Military Status of Eurasia, in the format of which it was supposed to unite law enforcement agencies with the military status of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan and Mongolia.

Such an “army”, as the newspaper claimed, “uniting law enforcement agencies with military status”, will number 2.8 million soldiers.

Turkish and Azerbaijani experts qualified the project as focused on solving legal problems: combating human trafficking, drugs, banditry and other crimes of an international nature.

Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

The President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaks at Chatham House in central London, Britain May 14, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

The Azerbaijani newspaper “Yeni Musavat” added that this opened up the prospect of participation of the formations in “anti-terrorist operations” in the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Which means it directly threatens Armenia.

At the same time, the use of the term “military status” needed clarification, because Kyrgyzstan is a member of the CSTO – and this is a different military organization.

The position of Azerbaijan, which is a member of the Non-Aligned Movement, whose members cannot be included in military blocs, also needed comments.

And Turkey, being a NATO member, had to somehow explain itself with the North Atlantic Alliance.

As such, the initial “draft” of this project is rather crude.

Mongolia and Kyrgyzstan, for their own reasons, acted only as temporary political extras.

Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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Then, the project began being filled with specific content regarding expanding military-technical cooperation between Ankara and Baku with the emergence of a common regional security system.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev understood that the further development of the military-political alliance with Turkey postpones, instead of bringing the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict closer.

Back in the fall of 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that “his dream is the emergence of six states and one nation.”

And Ankara and Baku are making a declaration of a “two states – one nation” concept.

This is predominantly due to the clashes in Nagorno Korabakh between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Azeri President liyev said that Turkey became Azerbaijan’s number one partner in the development of military-technical cooperation, and a discussion was launched in the Turkish and Azerbaijani press about the possibility of two Turkish bases in Absheron and Nakhichevan, even on the creation of a union state of Turkey and Azerbaijan on the model of Russia and Belarus.

With all of the above, Kaan Saryaydin claim of actually turning the Army of Great Turan into reality doesn’t seem that far-fetched, initially between just Azerbaijan and Turkey, but then possibly including more.

It is likely still early for any more concrete steps, although at this stage, a probe operation may be carried out as a response to Russia’s decision to expand the capabilities of its military base in Armenia.

According to the British publication Rai Al Youm, this is happening against the background of still unclear reasons for the active shift of the balance of interests of Azerbaijan towards Turkey, which turns this alliance almost into a “new business card of its domestic and foreign policy”, when it is easy to foresee Baku’s farewell to Nagorno-Karabakh.

This is a big concern for skeptics of the Army of Great Turan in Azerbaijan.

Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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Turkey, which is fighting on many Middle Eastern fronts, participation in “political games” in the Transcaucasus is considered a “fallback” option.

Aliyev demands from Russian President Vladimir Putin to make a choice between Azerbaijan and Armenia, more precisely, to facilitate the return of the lost Nagorno-Karabakh to Baku’s jurisdiction.

On Ankara’s side, Erdogan demands that US President Donald Trump make a choice between Turkey and the Kurds.

According to many experts, and also Turkish politicians, Ankara’s increased attention to the Nagorno-Karabakh problem is projected so far only through the regional Kurdish problem, which is already being played out.

On the other hand, the project of the union state of Azerbaijan and Turkey will cause a negative reaction in Iran, where several million Turks, who consider themselves Azerbaijanis, live.

Thus, Erdogan and Aliyev are at serious risk of losing support from the West in both the Kurdish and Karabakh directions.

As for Russia, as the party most interested in maintaining the balance of power and stability in the region and maintaining its independence in a geopolitical sense, it will be forced to pursue a Caucasian policy based on the recognition of new realities.

What is the Army of Great Turan?

As mentioned above, it is expected hat at the end of October at the summit of the Cooperation Council of Turkic-speaking states, the creation of a united army of Turkic countries will be announced. Already today, the most probable is the unification of the Turkish and Azerbaijani armies in this union.

The Turkish Armed Forces are a formidable force. They have a number of 500,000 people; in the event of a military conflict it can be increased to 900,000.

The ground forces alone consist of approximately 390,000.

Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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The main task facing the ground forces of Turkey today is to conduct hostilities in several directions at once, as well as to participate in maintaining public order within the state.

In recent years, significant resources have been devoted to modernizing the Turkish army, most of which went to the development of the ground forces.

Thanks to this, today the Turkish army has more than 3,500 tanks, 6,000 artillery pieces, mortars and MLRS, almost 4,000 different anti-tank weapons (2,400 anti-tank missiles and 1,400 ATGMs).

Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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The number of armored combat vehicles sits at approximately 5,000 units, aircraft and helicopters of the army aviation – 400 units.

he plans of the Turkish military leadership include updating the tank fleet, adopting its own tank “Altai”, replacing outdated infantry fighting vehicles and armored personnel carriers with new models, equipping the army with new types of artillery and MLRS.

Also, the T-129 ATAK attack reconnaissance helicopter should be adopted.

Turkey is almost completely self-sufficient in terms of small arms and artillery weapons and ammunition.

The production of mortars, automatic cannons for armored vehicles, multiple launch rocket systems has been established.

The Turkish Air Force is armed with over 500 aircraft, including a large number of modern fourth-generation fighters F-16C and F-16D (more than 200 units) and more than two hundred units of obsolete F-4 and F-5 aircraft, transport and training aircraft.

Turkey also has an efficient navy. It includes 19 frigates and 7 corvettes, 15 submarines.

Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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The Azerbaijani army has the following forces:

  • personnel – 82,000 people (and a reserve of approximately 500,000);
  • tanks – 339 (mostly Soviet and Russian production);
  • Armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles – 662;
  • artillery and self-propelled guns – 238;
  • artillery installations – 61;
  • warplanes – 41.
Army Of Great Turan: Erdogan's Neo-Ottoman Ambitions Move Forward

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The Navy includes 2 frigates, 3 patrol ships, 4 patrol boats, 4 minesweepers and 6 landing ships.

After the unification, the armed forces will be formally under the Turkish command.

A discussion was launched in the Turkish and Azerbaijani press about the possibility of the appearance of two Turkish bases in Absheron and Nakhichevan as mentioned.

Essentially, a Turkish-Azerbaijani joint army would be significantly stronger, it will still not be directly comparable to those of Russia, the US and China. Egypt could potentially be an equal adversary, but still, if the Army of Great Turan begins including more militaries through various political and diplomatic movements and circumvention of various military agreements and so on, then it could potentially become a very significant military superpower.

This is likely also the final goal of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan since he sees himself as the unilateral leader of the Turkic world.

If created, the new alliance will objectively have an anti-Russian character, even if it is not formally stated in its plans. E

Erdogan will not stop at Azerbaijan. He has repeatedly stated that “his dream is the emergence of six states and one nation.”

In the near future, he will start implementing the rest of the program.

A belt of pro-Turkish states will be created around the Russian borders.

If Joe Biden wins the US elections, the likelihood of close Turkish-American cooperation is high: Russia is the main obstacle to the creation of the Army of Great Turan.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is taking steps to reconcile Ankara and Damascus. The policy of flirting with Turkey has never been good for Russia.

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