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Turkey Signals Sweeping Regional Ambitions

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Turkey Signals Sweeping Regional Ambitions

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Submitted by James M. Dorsey

A nationalist Turkish television station with close ties to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dug up a 12-year-old map that projects Turkey’s sphere of influence in 2050 as stretching from South-eastern Europe on the northern coast of the Mediterranean and Libya on its southern shore across North Africa, the Gulf and the Levant into the Caucasus and Central Asia.

Buoyed by last year’s Azerbaijani defeat of Armenia, TGRT, a subsidiary of Ihlas Holding, a media and construction conglomerate that has won major government tenders, used the map to advance a policy that has long constituted the agenda of some of Mr. Erdogan’s closest advisors.

The broadcasting of the map, first published in a book authored by George Freidman, the founder of Stratfor, an influential American corporate intelligence group, followed calls by pan-Turkic daily Turkiye, Ihlas’ daily newspaper that has the fourth-largest circulation in Turkey, to leverage the Azerbaijani victory to create a military alliance of Turkic states.

In a country that ranks only second to China as the world’s foremost jailer of journalists, Ihlas Holding media would not be pushing a pan-Turkic, Islam-laced Turkish regional policy without tacit government approval at the very least.

The media group’s push reflects Turkish efforts to capitalize on the fact that Turkey’s latest geopolitical triumph with Azerbaijan’s Turkish-backed victory is already producing tangible results. The military victory has positioned Azerbaijan, and by extension Turkey, as an alternative transportation route westwards that would allow Central Asian nations to bypass corridors dominated by either Russia or Iran.

Turkmenistan, recognizing the changing geopolitical map, rushed in January to end a long-standing dispute with Azerbaijan and agree on the joint exploitation of Caspian Sea oil deposits. The agreement came on the heels of a deal in December for the purchase from ENI Turkmenistan of up to 40,000 tonnes of petroleum a month by the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR).

The agreement could boost the completion of a Trans-Caspian natural gas pipeline (TPC) that would feed into the recently operational Southern Gas Corridor (SGC), bypass Russia and Iran, and supply Greece and Bulgaria via the former Soviet republic.

Last month, Azerbaijan agreed with Turkmenistan and Afghanistan to develop the Lapis Lazuli transport corridor that would link the war-ravaged country to Turkey. At about the same time, Kazakhstan began exporting copper cathodes to Turkey via Azerbaijan in a first step intended to capitalize on the Caucasian nation’s position as a transit hub.

Azerbaijan and Turkey’s newly found advantage has rung alarm bells among Russian and Iranian analysts with close ties to their respective governments even though the TGRT broadcast may have been primarily intended to whip up nationalist fervour at home and test regional responses.

Russian and Iranian politicians and analysts appeared to take the broadcast in that vein. Nonetheless, they were quick to note that Friedman’s projection includes Russia’s soft underbelly in the northern Caucasus as well as Crimea while Iranians took stock of the fact that the Turkish sphere of influence would border on Iran to the north, south and west.

Turkey and Ukraine have in recent months agreed to cooperate in the development of technologies with military applications related to engines, avionics, drones, anti-ship and cruise missiles, radar and surveillance systems, robotics, space, and satellites. Turkey has refused to recognize Russia’s annexation of Crimea, home to Crimean Tartars, and criticized Russian support for Ukrainian rebels.

Most Russian commentators sought to downplay the significance of the map, leaving Andrei Krasov, deputy chairman of the defence committee of the Russian parliament’s lower house to warn that “if they (the Turks) want to test the strength of the Russian spirit and our weapons, let them try.”

With Iran excluded from TGRT and Stratfor’s projection of Turkey’s emerging sphere of influence, Iranian officials and analysts have largely not responded to the revival of the map.

Yet, Iran’s actions on the ground suggest that the Islamic republic has long anticipated Turkish moves even though it was caught off guard by last year’s Azerbaijani-Armenian war.

For one, Iran has in the past year sought to bolster its military presence in the Caspian Sea and forge close naval ties with the basin’s other littoral states – Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Kazakhstan.

Viewed from Tehran, TGRT’s broadcasting of the Stratfor map was the latest in a series of provocative Turkish moves.

They include Mr. Erdogan’s recital of a nationalist poem while attending a military parade in Azerbaijan that calls for reuniting two Iranian ethnic Azeri provinces with the former Soviet republic and publication by state-run Turkish Radio and Television’s Arabic service of a map on Instagram, depicting Iran’s oil-rich province of Khuzestan with its large population of ethnic Arabs as separate from Iran.

The Instagram posting came days after the disclosure that Habib Chaab, a leader of the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahvaz, or ASMLA, had been kidnapped in Istanbul by an Iraqi Kurdish drug baron in cooperation with Iranian intelligence and transported to Iran.

While senior Iranian officials talked down the Turkish provocations, Iran’s semi-official Fars News Agency left little doubt about what Iran’s true sentiments were.

“Those who have greedy eyes on the territories this side of the Aras River had better study history and see that Azerbaijan, specifically the people of Tabriz, have always pioneered in defending Iran. If Iran had not helped you on the night of the coup, you would have had a fate like that of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi,’ protesters chanted in front of the Turkish consulate in Tabriz, the capital of Iran’s East Azerbaijan province.

The protesters were responding to Mr. Erdogan’s poem recital and referring to the failed military coup against him in 2016 as well as the toppling of Mr. Morsi in 2013 in a takeover by the Egyptian armed forces.

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Frank

Frankly, no big surprise, Turkey and Iran will dominate the fractured Arab world and Eurasia and both have no designs on each other’s territory and work more closely than the western dolts understand. Stephan Kinzer outlined this a decade ago and now it is coming true. Russia faces the most vulnerable challenge. President Rouhani and Erdogan had an hour long phone conversation just today on mutual polices on a range of issues.

Proud Hindu

Pipedream of a shia dreamer.Both countries will collapse soon.

Hasbara Hunter

Rouhani seems to be an intelligent Man…Unity & Empathy among countries should be of Global instead of regional concern in my personal opinion…

Ashok Varma

If this map is an omen of things to come, half of Russia will be taken over by Turkey and say goodbye to Greece and Israel as well. The Arabs deserve their fate as they are disunited and backstabbers.

Fog of War

No, Israhell conveniently remains in the ” white “. Look at the map again closely. Theres a logic to the ” Turkish ” madness.

Ahson

Shouldn’t Iran just kill all these Al-Qaeda sunni turkish mongol guppu people? It’s a great idea no? Just quickly put them to death? They are almost wahabbi no? just slightly different ideology to the wahabbi lizard eaters? I’m thinking extermination before this becomes an issue like Daesh, Al-Qaeda, ISIS or talibunny type bastards on US payroll.

Dawn

:))) Fools have a short memory.. Apparently history not teaches Turks anything.. But at least that fool Erdogan should remember, how he went to Moscow begging – only after few months of not even armed stand off with Russia..

Turkey wont even survive till 2050 as state..

Bobby Twoshoes

What does “two Iranian ethnic Azeri provinces” mean? The whole of Azerbaijan was an Iranian province and Azeri isn’t an ethnicity, they’ve only been a country since 1991 ffs.

HiaNd

and part of Russia and USSR also..
Nobody will put even finger on Azerbaijan without Russian acceptance

Hadi Heidary

expanding russian empire only took them in the begining of 19th century from iran, while if you look at history northen iran(around caspian sea) has always been part of iran.
what you say about nobody putting finger on azerbaijan without russian approval is a different story and as the matter of fact turkey right now not only putting finger its also planing to build military base there if i heard correctly .

HiaNd

“nobody putting finger on azerbaijan without russian approval” because on Russian border !
I didn’t say: it should go back to Russia or nobody should have influence!
Military base doesn’t trump sovereignty !
They exist now as nation and no expansion ( Iranian or Turk ) should be tolerated on Russian border !
Try to read before posting !

Hadi Heidary

what turkey is doing in southern russia states is more than influence and it could be a topic of discussion but i rather not speculate.

HiaNd

” i rather not speculate.”
Than don’t !
Turkey vill learn her lesson hard vay if they start to interfere in Russian internal affairs.

Iran and Turkey have the same symptoms…You already see yourselves equal to Russia, China , US…but you’re not !!

HiaNd

Most of my opinions align with official Russian foreign policy (which is plenty)

“Most of his opinions don’t even sum up most Russian people’s opinions on here”
what ignorant comment…
You can talk to many Russian communists (strongest opposition party) whose opinion will not reflect at all official foreign policy !
While I was always very supportive of everything Putin did (so why is my opinion not representative for official Russian position?!?)
I do not consider myself Russian even though I have Russian ancestry and I don’t need permission of some Iranian to be pro Russian !

HiaNd

They are NOT Persians (also, planet is full of changed maps !!)
Azerbaijani’s have now their own country and they do NOT want to be part of Iran
Russia has lost half of the Russian Empire territory on the socialist SSSR collapse.
40 million Russians live outside of Russia because of that, yet they don’t complain!

You Iranians pretend to have special rights only for you?!?… NO, you don’t have those rights!!

Hadi Heidary

dude you’re the most retard russian on this website , you posted some BS as reply to my comment so i decided not to prolong the discussion and didn’t reply back
now you went made some other BS on your sick brain about it and after “2 DAYS” you came posting another reply!!! you’re so sick man go see a doctor seriously!!!
“Azerbaijani’s have now their own country and they do NOT want to be part of Iran”
who the hell are you to decide for others? mf russians took northern iran from us in 19th century now our azeris are split , half of them are with us and second half was formed into a country after USSR collapse ! if we see a chance to reunite them we will definetly take it .
“They are NOT Persians (also, planet is full of changed maps !!)”
azeris are part of iran, always have been , a sick man like you dislking it doesn’t change a thing.

HiaNd

Azerbaijani’s have now their own country and they do NOT want to be part of Iran !!!!!!!!!!!
Prove me wrong !
They even want Turks to build the military base there!
Azerbaijan is INDEPENDENT country FRIENDLY with the TURKS !!!
what other “proof” do you need RETARD ?!!

Hadi Heidary

why should i waste my time proving something to you? youre the one trying to decide for others then ask me to prove you wrong what kinda BS is that …. besides things not always suppose to be happy or to people willing, back when russia occupied those regions azeris were so upset that they made songs about it!
the topic we are talking about have different aspects from security concerns to national interest and other aspects … and i rather end the discussion here
i hope you don’t start sending more replys to me, seriously dude drop it.

HiaNd

“why should i waste my time proving something to you?”

BECaUSE you try to deny OBVIOUS !!

Facts:
1.) Azerbaijan is INDEPENDENT country and of Turkic (not Persian ) origin !
2.) They are in good relations with the TURKEY lately!
3.)Turkey (not Iran) will build the military base there !!
Obviously they DO NOT want to be part of IRAN !!
…who wants to be part of Iran anyways!?!

Russia “occupied” and you didn’t “occupy” nation that ethnically are not Persians “dude”!? Now they are free “dude”!

Hadi Heidary

you worry about your own problems about turkey (NATO)building military base there , i heard some of your parliament crying so hard about it.
“Azerbaijan is INDEPENDENT country and of Turkic (not Persian ) origin !”
if we were to decide thing with your stpid brain then 20 million of turkey are kurds , similar things go for other countries .
“Russia “occupied” and you didn’t “occupy” nation that ethnically are not Persians “dude”!? Now they are free “dude”!”
azeris are a group of iranian people always has been , same as kurds and others i already told you , disliking it doesn’t change facts.
when azeris were part of iran turkey didn’t existed, about 2000 year later in around 14th century they came from different region including africa,mongolia(with moghol attacks) and some of them from persian azerbaijan to the current region that is now called turkey and formed the country.

HiaNd

you are like monkey or parrot, keep repeating the same bullshit !
azeris are NOT “iranian people” just like kurds are not iranian (or turk) !
they are not Persians !!!
azeris do exist now as INDEPENDENT NATION, get that into your monkey scull!
no point talking to you Iranian simpleton !

HiaNd

“Russian wannabe” can repeat once again (common sense answer) to Iranian nationalist Ali who thinks that his country can invade independent country…Azerbaijani NON-Iranians on Russian border.
Nobody will put even finger on Azerbaijan without Russian acceptance and explicit PERMISSION -(and that situation will never happen since Russia doesn’t have interest to do such thing )
If you Iranians only could do something about Azerbaijan you already would.

HiaNd

Try with official Russian position in Moscow you “big” power Iranian wannabes !

HiaNd

” type in links from the Russian officials”
Not my fault that you are so ignorant on the subject
It is widely known fact, just ask any Russian how would Moscow react on Iranian invasion of Azerbaijan and they’ll tell you !
That was only tolerated to the Westerners… but even to them NOT ANY MORE !
Nobody was ever planing to invade those central Asian countries so why would Russia threaten anybody?!?
But as reference you can take the FACTS that Russian “Red Line” for starting WW3 is only NATO presence, NATO membership of the Georgia and Ukraine ( not ‘invasion” just membership)

Fog of War

Just ignore him . Hes a wannabe ” Russian ” from one of the ‘stans that desperately wants to be something he’s not. Its sad really, as he should just be happy being whom he is.

HiaNd

official Russian position is that NOBODY is welcome to invade EX-SOVIET republic (not even Russian allay China let alone second rate “power” like Iran )
Those countries are all considered as zone of Russian influence and off limits for foreign “invasions”
Prove me wrong if you can !

The Objective

I would like to know your opinion on what Iran’s true goals is regarding Azerbaijan. I’m writing an article that talks about that. Any input of opinion would be helpful. Different perspective will help me do a deeper research and produce a detailed and balanced article.
but only if you have the time, of course.

HiaNd

I am just ordinary person and no expert in geo-politics or military strategist.
Even if I would have hunch I would not go that far to presume Iranian intentions and ambitions (and say it in public).
One thing is sure; Iran is not in position today to threaten anybody in aggressive manner.
They must concentrate how to defend themselves, or counter attack, not how to invade.

I do not even know if (Ali’s) denying Azerbaijani’s their ethnic identity and independent country is common thing in Iran or only specific for Iranian nationalist’s .

The Objective

Okay, thank you.
I think what Ali says represent the regime’s views because of Iran’s revolutionary ambitions. They tend to view all Muslim regimes which oppose their valayat-el faqhi as being illegitimate and should be overthrown (mostly domestically). The Azerbaijani government blames Iran for fomenting dissent among its Shiite population. Every country with a sizable Shiite population is a potential target for Iran’s foreign subversion. Even the Iraqi Shia community has a problem with Iran.
But just like you said, the regime is too busy fighting for its survival now to export its revolution. However, they’ll still not hesitate to grab any opportunity.

HiaNd

“However, they’ll still not hesitate to grab any opportunity.”
Exactly my impression.
They would grab any opportunity coming their way.
But of course common sense and instinct for survival above all imposes concentrating on the survival in this crisis situation.

Jens Holm

That relatives. If You look again, You will see things are not like that at all. You just took a timestamped picture, but the history is a movie.

Many has been there. Many many years ago almost all there was Armenia as well.

Ahson

Qatif, Bahrain, Afghanistan, Torkmenistan and UAE too. This must happen and will happen.

Ahson

true……Iran should act. Its about time.

The Objective

How on Earth would you achieve this when the Iranian regime is fighting for its survival?

Ahson

you think? but how?

The Objective

If what you claimed is true, then it means Iran is on a collision course with a lot more countries than with just America and Israel. And what baffles me is why the Mullahs think Allah is on their side, when throughout history, they never had any successes against the Sunnis. Shiites have also never fought off ANY invaders of Muslim lands. But Sunnis did that countless of times, including expelling crusaders from the Middle East which they tried to Christianize. The Ottoman empire also thrashed the rulers of Persia really badly. What makes you think Iran would perform better this time? Indeed, only a humiliating defeat awaits you enemies of pure Islam.

Ahson

man, in case you were wondering, all sunni countries are undergoing a neo-colonial phase. They are all occupied countries. Not a single one is sovereign. You boyz stand defeated and submissive. All sunni countries are on IMF life support. Including your pindostan. Allah won’t save you. Yous done!

The Objective

I used to take your comments seriously, but this one totally baffles me. You mean Iran has ambitions over all these countries? I wonder what makes you say that. Can you drop some hints?

johnny rotten

Even in the craziest of dreams, turkeys are careful not to crush Isisrahell’s feet, all of this is ridicule.

HiaNd

Same old CIA bollocks again !!?!
They could paint hole planet red that doesn’t change much !

SnowCatzor

Lol, that map is just Erdogan’s wet dream, nothing more. Europe/Russia will never be Turkey’s ‘sphere of influence’ again. They despise Erdogan/Turkey, as do most nations in the middle east.

Supreme Blyat

The smelly smell of false flags

Jesus

Ottoman Empire is dead just like the British empire, Turkey and G.Britain want to stay relevant by basking in their past history.

cechas vodobenikov

I suspect only a few turk villagers believe this nonsense

Hasbara Hunter

Dönmeh Sultan ErDOGan’s plans for the Greatest Ottoman Empire double-crosses Satanyahu’s wet-dreams of a Greater ISraHell Caliphate

ruca

Unless they are working together on it. They both worship cubism based on Saturn.

Hasbara Hunter

A Dönmeh & a ZioNazi working together in full cooperation wouldn’t surprise me at all…

Ahson

These days I hear the name of turkey or see that bastard turdo’s mug, I feel sick in the stomach. No patience left anymore!

ruca

I had to look up that new word. Thanks!

Fog of War

Am i seeing correctly that Israhell is conveniently not in the ” Red ” ? Thats all we need to know people, the Dönmeh Turks wouldn’t attack their brethren , now would they ?

Kamīrusan

Glad Turkey left it’s dear friend Israel to have all of Palestine for it’s own

farbat

hahahahahahaha

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