Is a tough test waiting for Turkey in 2021?


Turkey, an emerging power in the Middle, is now facing several challenges at the moment of global crisis. Despite being the second-largest member of NATO, the United States has imposed sanctions on the country's defence system.

 Washington has warned that sanctions could increase. Although the purchase of the S400 missile system from Russia has been cited as the main reason for the US sanctions, the West does not seem to be taking a stand on Turkey's Muslim bloc. 

Europe-America also seems to view Turkey's rise in the international defence trade market with suspicion.

The biggest risk for Ankara could be seen if the American blockade extends from the defence sector to trade.

 If the European Union is also involved in this initiative, the danger may become deeper. There are indications of various activities in the international arena in this regard. 

At the same time, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the countries under their influence are saying, "Turkey is rebuilding the Ottoman Empire." It is emerging as a new force. If these forces cannot be stopped, they will take the whole region under their influence. ”

Retired Russian General Leonid Ivashov recently said, "Turkey is clearly moving towards the Turan project (an alternative gas pipeline to Europe via Azerbaijan) and we are standing idly beside of it". 

"Russia will become more dependent on it gradually,” he said, adding that the Kremlin was pursuing Turkish policy with concern in Crimea, Azerbaijan and the Turkish Republic.

On the other hand, some in the United States and the European Union said, "Turkey has crossed its limit." It is becoming a threat to Europe. The country is moving away from the Atlantic axis."

" Ankara is moving away from Western control and building its new central power. The country is forming its regional basin. It is increasing its influence in the Caucasus, Libya, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, Central Africa, Central Asia, and even South Asia."

 "Turkey is shrinking the colonial domains of the West and restructuring the influence and dominance of the Ottoman Empire. We must intervene in this activity, we must stop all this! The country is not stopping at anything."

" It interferes in the internal affairs of EU countries like France, Austria, and even Germany. Ankara is fighting against the whole EU in the Mediterranean. Turkey's "political weight" seems to have exceeded the EU's total weight. As we withdraw from the region, Turkey continues to expose itself to the world at full speed. "
"Initially, Turkey was used in the interests of the United States," he said. 

"Now it is no longer trying for US interests, but for its interests. It is also waging war against US allies at home and abroad."

" Turkey was once at the forefront of Western interests, but now it is becoming a threat to the West. We must intervene in this situation. Turkey must be stopped. "

At the same time, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and the countries under their influence are saying, "Turkey is rebuilding the Ottoman Empire." It is emerging as a new force. If these forces cannot be stopped, they will take the whole region under their influence. ”

They also called for the establishment of an anti-Turkish front and the fight against it on every front.

Iran, on the other hand, is also concerned about Turkey becoming a powerful country. Iran seeks to enter into the Caucasus, the Middle East and every region of Central Asia with Turkey in the process of its influence. 

As a result, they too seem to be ready to sincerely impede Turkey with other countries, with other powers.

Some sources say that in this way, Turkey's geopolitical plans in the medium and long term, its goals in Central and South Asia, as well as Central Africa, could be considered a threat by China in near future.

Russia is being asked to follow the example of the victories of Ukraine and Karabakh and the anti-Turkey bloc is trying to provoke Russia in this way. 

They think that the territories under the control of Russia can be 'liberated' in the same way. Many countries like Ukraine see Turkey as a role model and have been looking for solutions to this problem.

But a concerted effort to hold Turkey together will not be an easy equation for a variety of reasons. First, Turkey is the second-largest military power in the NATO alliance. 

The country is one of the top non-nuclear powers in terms of military capabilities. Second, Turkey's geopolitical location is at the crossroads of Europe and Asia. 

The country once ruled a large part of Asia, as well as about half of Europe. As a ‘defeated’ force in the First World War, the states of the Turkish Caliphate were isolated, colonized and turned into ‘independent’ countries.

 Ethnic groups of Turkish descent are also divided into many independent countries. This ethnographic link is also quite important. 

Third, the 100-year term of the Treaty of Lausanne, which limits Turkey's natural resource extraction and economic development, is coming to an end. 

At the end of the century, the contract has to be renewed to take effect. This does not mean, however, that the territories that became independent states under the Treaty of Lausanne will again become part of Turkey. 

The main concern is, the obstacles to extracting revenue from the Bosphorus or natural resources of the Mediterranean may no longer exist.

 Fourth, Turkey has made significant progress in the way that any country can become powerful with science, technology, economic capabilities and military might.

The country's achievements in science, technology and education are comparable to those in Europe. On the other hand, the military drone invented by Turkey has been recognized as a 'game-changer' on the battlefield.

Ankara has succeeded in establishing a haven for Syrian refugees and overcoming the threat posed by IS and Kurdish separatists. 

The operation against the UN-backed government in Libya by Khalifa Haftar's forces has failed with Turkish assistance. 

The latest news is, Azerbaijan regains Nagorno-Karabakh territory from Armenia after 30 years with Turkish military assistance.

Internally, Turkey's AKP government has been in power since 2002. Their vote share has increased since the AKP first came to power. 

The political influence of this party has increased especially in the basic institutions of the state. Most recently, a failed military coup in support of the Gulen Movement in 2016 weakened the state institutions' ability to resist AKP.

Because of these realities, even if the people who dislike Erdogan or his philosophy but prefer Turkey's integrity and ethnic advancement, cannot oppose Erdogan's politics. 

The issue of Turkey's military role in Syria, Libya and Azerbaijan has been unanimously passed in parliament. 

Even in the face of President Erdogan's tug-of-war with French President Macron, Turkish political parties have not backed France.
In such a situation, Erdogan knew the challenge of trying to build a balanced relationship with Russia as a NATO member state. 

But he also knew that the pledges of NATO partners like United States and other countries were not unquestionable about Turkey's integrity and security. 

In addition to supporting the Kurdish PKK's Syrian ally and giving them a chance to establish dominance over a large Syrian territory, the United States has refused to supply the Patriot missile system to Turkey and has refused to supply S-35 aircraft even after taking money in advance

Besides, the covert help behind the military coup in that country has made the Turkish leadership skeptical of the views of NATO's leading countries, especially the United States. 

Turkey has not received the desired cooperation from NATO in the wake of tensions over the downing of two Russian planes by the Turkish Air Force.

For these reasons, Erdogan did not think that, the single reliance on the NATO alliance and the European Union as beneficial to the country's security. 

As a result, he has taken the initiative to build relations with Russia and, in some cases, China. However, allowing tensions or hostilities to escalate in this new situation does not seem to be conducive to Ankara's strategic equation. 

In addition to supporting the Kurdish PKK's Syrian ally and giving them a chance to establish dominance over a large Syrian territory, the United States has refused to supply the Patriot missile system to Turkey and has refused to supply S-35 aircraft even after taking money in advance

Everyone in Turkey expects 2021 to be a better year for the country. In a speech last week, President Erdogan said he hoped all European countries and the United States would start the journey in the new year with a clean slate.

This hope is very important. This makes it clear that Ankara still wants to be part of the Western alliance while maintaining good relations with Russia and the Middle East. This is seen as a multifaceted foreign policy.

Ankara believes that this policy has benefited not only Turkey but also the United States and the European Union, as the country is strategically located in a position where it can play an important role between the Middle East and the West. This is why the United States and the EU need to understand Turkey's position. 

Ankara has faced double standards in the Eastern European region and feels it has been unfairly treated by the United States over the Patriot missile crisis. 

For this reason, Ankara has decided to buy a Russian S-400 aircraft defence system. The United States was reluctant to share its knowledge and technology with its powerful NATO members and strategic partners.

In this situation, Erdogan seems to be thinking of resolving the existing problems through dialogue. 

He described the problems as "artificial agendas" and said, "these differences have put Turkey's relations with the United States and the EU to the test in 2020, but we hope that things will improve."

According to Turkish analysts, the US sanctions will only serve to deepen anti-Western and anti-American sentiment among the Turkish people. 

Washington will look at this reality and the Joe Biden administration will try to highlight it as soon as possible. Ankara is hopeful Biden will be more constructive in resolving issues among allies.

Needless to say, Turkey-EU relations could improve this year in the face of adversity. But this requires constructive dialogue. 

This constructive dialogue took place in 2004 and 2005. Public opinion in Turkey and most of the European Union was very supportive. 

Because the politicians were quite constructive and the media helped create a positive environment. Turkey also had a big problem at that time. 

Mutual goodwill succeeded in overcoming many of the obstacles posed by Turkish democracy. Both Turkey and the EU can do it again.

Erdogan seems to want to move in this direction. To this end, he has recruited new and skilled diplomats from various European countries, including the United States and France. 

He also hinted at bridging the gap with Saudi Arabia. He even spoke directly about bridging the gap with Israel. If Erdogan does not succeed in resolving diplomatic tensions, then the next election of 2023 will be a disaster for AKP.

The anti-Turkish forces will try their best to take the AKP out of power. In a recent column, Ibrahim Karagul, a Turkish journalist and editor of the Ini Safak newspaper, said that the CHP, an internal political force, was linked to outside efforts to stop Turkey.

Erdogan has shown his ability to overcome the crisis in the past. It seems that Turkey will be able to move forward keeping itself safe from all kinds of hostilities if it can show that capability this time. And in this case, 2021 is a very crucial year.

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