Originally appeared at A-specto, translated by Borislav exclusively for SouthFront
The West has turned its back on Turkey. The US and Europe adopted decisions with regard to the Turkish authorities, whose consequences if not immediately, will be crucial in the future for the Middle East. The President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his power structure, lost the trust credit which they were granted by the Euro-Atlantic countries. Washington, London, Berlin and Paris no longer see the question of restoring the previous format of partnership with today’s Turkish government. This issue shifted from solving the strategic task for the West in its relations with Turkey: how to ensure a transition of power from the Middle Eastern flank of NATO, painlessly into the hands of a sane political force.
Erdogan has long received signals of reluctance by Western countries when it comes to adopting him as a serious partner. Most of these signals were saved for the general public. But by late spring real bombs started to explode which show the intention of the Euro Atlantic, not to conceal their attitude toward Erdogan. Between the statement of the British Prime Minister David Cameron on May 22 and the decision of Bundestag for the recognition of the Armenian genocide there were exactly 10 days. It was assumed that nothing can happen during this time that deserves attention. It turned out that it could. The time frame in which world leaders make a certain statement, has a large and sometimes crucial importance. British Prime Minister synchronized the “cold shower” on Ankara as a metaphor that “the admission of Turkey into the EU will be no earlier than the year 3000” with the extraordinary congress of the ruling Justice and Development Party.
On the same day, May 22, with the resignation of Ahmet Davutoglu, the last hope of the West for normal relations with Turkey, died. The decision of the Bundestag on June the 2nd showed Erdogan the door. The Turkish President did not appreciate or does not want to evaluate the signal from London, which over the last decade lobbied hard for Turkey’s accession to the EU. Moreover, the Turkish head of state in Istanbul organized grand celebrations, marking the defeat of Christian Byzantium, the murder of its last emperor Constantine XI, the conquest of Constantinople and the transformation of the Christian church “St. Sofia” into a mosque. This historic event took place 563 years ago. That is to say, there was no occasion for an anniversary or to celebrate some jubilee. Erdogan was just looking for an excuse to show the West his independence, when he organized an Ottoman show for his consolation. He did not miss his chance to warn Europe and stated: “After we conquered Istanbul, nobody will manage to destroy our country.”
A week earlier, on May the 23rd, before the opening of the International Humanitarian Forum in Istanbul, Erdogan bouth himself a PR in the British newspaper “The Guardian”. He introduced himself as a “wise politician” who attempted through the pages of newspapers to convince the international community that it must “share the burden of Turkey to solve the refugee problem.” The Turkish president noted that his country accepts more refugees today than any other country in the world. He boasted that in reality, Turkey is the most generous country in the world. And that compared to other countries, it spends most of its gross domestic product for humanitarian needs. As for the EU, Erdogan described it as one of the key players in the Middle East and he did not forget to give the EU instructions on how to collaborate more effectively with Turkey and other Muslim countries in the region.
After these moralizing messages in “The Guardian” and the solemn ceremony in Istanbul, the Europeans had no choice but to show their opposition to the “big headed Ottoman.” The decision of the German Parliament on the Armenian genocide clearly confirms these intentions. Following the resolution of the Bundestag, Erdogan offered German parliamentarians of Turkish origin to do blood tests to check whether they are indeed Turks. The reaction of the Turkish President shocked the Europeans. His words reminded them of the times of Nazi Germany and once again confirmed their sense that the current “Turkish Führer” has gone too far.
From that moment on, the Euro-Atlantic bloc launched the already prepared operation codenamed “AntiErdogan.” The main objective of the ongoing operation is to keep Turkey in NATO, but without its current president. If Erdogan is removed from power, the process of moving Ankara towards Europe receives a new push. But the question is, who are the Turkish politicians who can be an alternative to Erdogan, who would be advantageous for the West. Untill the resignation of Davutoglu, the Euro-Atlantic capitals hoped that the transition of power could take place within the ruling party. But those hopes were dashed in the embryo by Erdogan. Europe now relies on the main opposition force in the face of Republican People’s Party. This is because the electorate of this party, concentrated in the western and south-western provinces of the country, is finally frustrated by the regime of Erdogan. The Western regions of Turkey are traditionally pro-European. Moreover, they have the greatest contribution to the economic development of the country, mainly in industry, services, primarily in the tourism sector, which is currently in decline. If a suitable external background is created, the rating of the Republican Party could significantly increase.
Meanwhile, discontent to the ruling party in Turkey is also growing in the military circles. Erdogan has “cleansed” the establishment of command of the armed forces of the Middle East flank of NATO for years to come. But in the middle and lower sections of the officer corps, the mood is not conducive to the so-called “Moderate Islamists” of Erdogan. The army was actually forced to fight in two armed conflicts with relatively high intensity. On one hand, the suppression of the Kurdish insurgency in the southeast of the country, on the other, in military operations on Syrian territory. Moreover, the war overtook the Turkish officers in big cities where with enviable regularity terrorist acts are commuted against them. From a pre-front country Turkey is gradually becoming a zone of active combat.
It can be assumed that sooner or later, Erdogan will play the card for direct involvement of the North Atlantic alliance to protect Turkey from external aggression. The Turkish leader may ask NATO to intervene in accordance of Article 5 of Statute of military-political block (on collective defense), defining as aggressor the troops of the Syrian Kurds, which will hardly appeal to Washington and Brussels. So far, the West wants no sharp changes in Turkey. The possibility of a possible military coup as a factor that can effectively stabilize subsequent processes in the country, is excluded. The optimal scenario seems to be the growing influence of the Republican People’s Party and finding points of convergence with the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party. This potential tandem can successfully oppose the ruling party and the party of local nationalists.
The Kurdish factor plays an important role in the cooling of relations between the West and Erdogan. The credibility given to him some time ago, included a commitment for the settlement of the conflict with the Kurds that would give them a place in the political life of Turkey. In the period of 2007-2009, the West gave Ankara unprecedented signs of attention. In early June 2007 there were consecutive annual meeting of the club “Bilderberg” at the hotel “Ritz-Carlton” in Istanbul. It is precisely within this club, symbolizing the peaceful political behind the scenes, that the West identified comfortable Turkish government firmament. Here, besides Davutoglu, there is also the name of Ali Babacan, who is not without the protections of Western sympathizers, and at the end of August 2007 he was moved from the Ministry of Economy, to the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Approximately at the same period, London developed a diplomatic activity by initiating a process of confidential talks in Oslo between representatives of the Turkish Intelligence (MIT) and the Kurdistan Workers Party. The West was planning its plans, but Erdogan caused them some set backs in 2010 and 2011 (during the Arab Spring) and in the spring of this year he finally destroyed the remnants of the previous trust in his relations with the Western block. Ali Babacan has long been assigned to “obsolescence”. We also know what happened to Davutoglu. Erdogan lead the Turkish-Kurdish Oslo process to a diametrically opposite result. Instead of peace, the Kurdish regions were thrown into a war.
Every step of the Turkish president is accompanied by wars. He no longer complies with anything and he is on the road to acquiring total power through a transition from a parliamentary to a presidential system of government. Europe can certainly live next to a dictator. Yet the West will have to quickly incorporate mechanisms for deterring Erdogan on the road to absolute power, and to create conditions for the emergence of a strong political alternative in Turkey. Because otherwise “the big-headed Ottoman” will gradually surrender his heritage to even more reactionary hands. Such a prospect throws the Euro Atlantic into a panic. The countries neighboring Turkey, will have to prepare to minimize the negative consequences for them, after the operation “AntiErdogan” which is already underway.
Author: Vyacheslav Mikhailov / EA Daily