The people of Turkey are struggling to come to terms with the divisiveness of the government of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his main international henchman, Ahmet Davutoglu. In Turkey, according to Erdogan, either individuals follow his rhetoric whereby you are deemed “a Turkish citizen” and “Muslim” – or you oppose him and become labeled “a threat” and so forth. Indeed, the utter callowness of Erdogan’s policies is being laid bare at home and regionally.
Within the Middle East you have internal and external “rogue elements” causing mayhem and this notably applies to America, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Kingdom. These four nations are often involved in major destabilizing policies and in recent times this applies to Egypt, Iraq, Libya and Syria. At the same time, the same countries will protect authoritarian and corrupt monarchies which are in their pockets and a fine example is protecting Bahrain.
In another Modern Tokyo Times article related to Erdogan and Davutoglu – and regional concerns – it was stated that both political leaders “…are in league with Washington in the conspiracy against secular Syria. However, many Turkish nationals are alarmed by the policies of the Erdogan government because instability is increasing in Iraq and Syria based on nations supporting sectarianism, terrorism and sedition. Lebanon is also in a very delicate situation therefore many nationals in Turkey are against meddling into the affairs of Syria…”
Iraq also accuses Turkey of being behind sectarianism and destabilization polices. Saadun al-Dulaimi stated that “There are foreign agendas controlling these sites…It is like Anbar, or Mosul or Samarra (the cities hit by major protests) are part of the Ottoman Empire.
Dulaimi also stated that “protest sites have become a safe haven for terrorists and killers and those who call for strife, sectarianism and hate.”
Lee Jay Walker states that “The real beauty of Erdogan and Davutoglu is that they can isolate friends and foes alike. After all, to anger Egypt, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Syria and many elements within Lebanon takes some doing. Other nations like Armenia, Cyprus, the Russian Federation and others also have a tense relationship with Turkey. This is based on Turkey being a NATO Trojan horse but wrapped up within Turkish nationalism and a Muslim Brotherhood conspiracy mentality. Yet, true to Erdogan and Davutoglu they even alienate some NATO members therefore recently Germany showed its disdain towards the abruptness of the current Erdogan administration.”
Therefore, if Davutoglu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, continues with his foreign policy approach then it remains to be seen if he can upset Azerbaijan enough to complete a dubious set of cards. The one favor for Azerbaijan is the “Turkish angle” but the sectarian overtures of Erdogan and Davutoglu means the religious identity of many Azeris doesn’t suit the Islamist agenda. In other words, if one dispute enters the fray then Turkey goes for the jugular under Erdogan and Davutoglu because issues related to diplomacy don’t enter the equation. Indeed, even NATO currently remains steadfast against the Erdogan dream of a no-fly-zone against Syria and possible intervention in supporting terrorist and sectarian forces in this country.
It is clear that the Erdogan administration – just like Obama’s political order in America – had pegged much on a Muslim Brotherhood power grab in North Africa and in Syria. In a sense, America and Turkey were always much more in favor of the Muslim Brotherhood agenda rather than the financier of destabilization, Qatar. Indeed, Qatar must be more responsive to other regional Gulf nations in the long-term because Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states don’t trust the Muslim Brotherhood. Therefore, Qatar tries to enforce rash policies too quickly and hopefully recent changes within the power dynamics of this state will see a more balanced approach.
The current crisis in Egypt highlights the crass naivety of the Erdogan administration because for no reason they have set a negative tone towards the current dynamics of this nation. It is clear that Syria is faced by many regional and Western enemies but the government of Bashar al-Assad is much more refrained in its language. Assad clearly differentiates between the people of Turkey whom he calls “brothers and sisters” and the ruling elites which have sided with terrorism and sectarianism against Syria. This reality means that despite all the barbaric postures of nations against Syria; it is clear that Assad maintains a good relationship with Algeria, Armenia, Iraq, Iran, the Russian Federation and other strategic nations. Also, many elements within Lebanon, for example Hezbollah and the Christian camp under Michel Aoun, support the government of Syria despite all the political propaganda against this nation. However, Erdogan and Davutoglu just appear to antagonize all and sundry.
More recently, the Gezi protests which spread to other parts of Turkey is highlighting the estranged path of this nation under the current Erdogan administration. The “Ottoman dream” is over and the “Sunni card” is out of step with the diverse nature of Islam in Turkey and throughout the Levant. At the same, the Shia angle in Iraq, the Kurdish question and various nationalist issues throughout the region means that Erdogan and Davutoglu are out of touch. Likewise, Christianity is represented within the Levant and the geopolitical influence of the Russian Federation can’t be easily ignored despite Turkey appearing to pander to America and NATO.
Lee Jay Walker states that “The close relationship between America and Israel is yet another issue for the Erdogan administration which plies the “Sunni card” and the “Ottoman dream.” After all, this dream is based “on the coattails” of America and NATO. This hard sell is catching up with Turkey because under the current leaders of this nation the country of Turkey is being isolated from the “European home” and the “Middle Eastern home.” Instead, Turkey resembles a bull in the most exquisite bone china shop.”
Turkey should be a role model based on democracy, secularism and become a genuine bridge linking Europe, the Caucasus region and the Middle East. Yet this can only happen under a different vision whereby pluralism rules the day. Sadly, under Erdogan and Davutoglu they are creating internal and external divisions therefore the road ahead looks extremely rocky.
Lee Jay Walker gave guidance to both main writers