Home Page - Gulf in the Media
HomePoliticsEconomy                               Set Gulfinthemedia.com as home page
Opinions
"Postings of opinions published in the Gulf and international newspapers
 Print  Send This Page
Save Listen to this Article
Erdogan Threats as an Alternative to Oglu's Diplomacy?   

Al Hayat - 25 April, 2012
Author: George Semaan

In light of the new wave of tensions between Ankara and Baghdad, Turkey’s eastern gates will no longer be wide open. Indeed, during the last three years, Davutoglu’s diplomacy endured consecutive setbacks and became engaged in an open confrontation on more than one front, from Israel to Russia, to Iran, Iraq and Syria. Hence, it will face decisive choices in parallel to the emergence of the new map of the Greater Middle East, amid the transformations witnessed in the region and both their expected and unexpected repercussions.

Turkey has never found itself in such a sensitive spot. Since 2002, the Justice and Development Party tried to turn it into an unavoidable power between two worlds and a strategic position between the East and the West. It thus resided on contradicting, even conflicting edges, sought rapprochement with Europe without this affecting its solid relations with the United States, and attempted to build strategic partnerships with neighboring states in the Greater Middle East, as well as on the outskirts of the former Soviet Union in Central Asia, including its Muslim states and the Caucasus. It accomplished a lot, from its role in Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan, to its mediation in the peace process in the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear file. As to its zero-problem policy, it allowed its economy and commerce to prosper and grow at a fast pace, to the point where it appeared that Ankara was no longer in a hurry to meet the European Union conditions to accede to the EU.

Turkey benefited from the dismantlement of the regional order in the Middle East, the mounting conflict between the West and the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the weakness which affected Russia following the collapse of the Soviet Union. But as the picture drastically changed in the region with the eruption of the Arab spring, it found itself at a crossroads. Indeed, it was no longer able to live in two worlds or along two conflicting courses, which will apparently never converge. It was no longer able to combine the contradictions in one policy by hosting – for example – part of NATO’s missile shield, while reassuring Russia or Iran about its neutrality and ability to mediate in the nuclear issue. It could no longer present itself as an ideal model for the new regimes of the Arab spring, sponsor the Syrian opposition in the battle to topple the regime in Damascus and agree with Moscow and Tehran over the future of Syria. It could no longer engage in coordination with the Arab League member states and especially the Gulf states, and convince the Iranian command it is standing at an equal distance between all the sides.

The peoples that underwent the Arab spring expressed the rise of Sunni political Islam which will in no way stand alongside Iran that has lost a wide portion of Arab sympathy for several reasons, including the utter support it is offering to the regime in Damascus and the adoption of an escalation policy toward the Gulf states, the last facets of which having been seen in President Ahmadinejad’s visit to the occupied Emirati Island of Abu Musa, and the threats it is issuing every day, either toward Bahrain and its neighbors or toward Turkey which used to present itself as a model for the rising regimes in the Arab world. At this level, Tehran’s disgruntlement vis-à-vis the Arab and Western promotion of this “moderate” model represented by Turkey is no secret to anyone, along with Russia’s non-reassurance toward Ankara’s support and welcoming of the Arab uprisings.

But the Arab spring was not the only reason behind the tensions between Turkey and Iran, and their divergent positions toward the Syrian crisis were not the ones that caused the escalation of the problem. The situation grew more complicated after Turkey hosted NATO’s missile shield, which is perceived by the Islamic Republic and Russia as being primarily directed against them. Ankara widened the confrontation with Tehran, while the developments in Iraq generated new tensions. Indeed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan not only received Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi who is wanted by Baghdad for trial, but also joined the president of the Kurdistan province, Massoud Barzani, in addressing harsh criticisms against Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Moreover, the statements exchanged between them featured a sectarian tone that could escalate the sectarian conflict throughout the region. Hence, Ankara clearly sided with Arab and Gulf capitals in the face of the policy adopted by the leader of the State of Law Coalition and his positions which go in line with Tehran’s.

There is no need to explain the reasons pushing Turkey to attack Al-Maliki’s government. Since the beginning, Turkey stood behind the al-Iraqiya bloc and its leader Iyad Allawi, and was not reassured by the Iranian support enjoyed by the leader of the State of Law Coalition. Furthermore, Erdogan’s government did not appreciate the policy of exclusion and monopolization followed by Al-Maliki, along with his government’s excessive defense of the Syrian regime and his policy toward his Gulf neighbors and the Bahraini crisis. Beyond that, Ankara fears the undermining of the balance or the current quotas system, as this could undermine the relations between Iraq’s sectarian, denominational and ethnic components and allow one side to prevail over the other in a way that leads to the increase of Iranian influence in the country and threatens its unity and independence - with all the repercussions that this could carry on all the neighbors, mainly Turkey.

The honeymoon between Ankara and Tehran did not last long. Two years ago, Erdogan - along with Brazil - went against the Western wish and tried in vain to keep the chalice of the sanctions away from Iran. But a few days ago, Tehran opposed Istanbul’s hosting of the last talks with the P5+1 states, and was able to move the second meeting to Baghdad. Moreover, the resistance front that was announced by Ahmadinejad during his visit to Lebanon two years ago and in the context of which he placed Turkey, alongside Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, never saw the light. But despite that, there is still a thin line linking the two countries, considering that they both need each other. Indeed, commercial exchange between them amounted to around $ 16 billion last year, while Iran needs Turkey in light of the blockade and the sanctions. As to the latter, it does not wish to cut the last ties since it imports its oil and gas needs from the Islamic Republic (via gas pipelines from Tabriz to Ankara), as well as from Russia. Moreover, there is the issue of the Kurds in Iraq which imposes coordination between the two countries to confront any Kurdish aspiration to establish an independent state.

The mounting alignment in the Middle East and the international divide over the developments witnessed in it, will force Turkey to reconsider its policy and diplomacy. The more the Syrian crisis is prolonged, the more complicated the situation in Iraq becomes and the more relations between Iran, Russia and Asian powers such as China among others are enhanced, while Turkey will find itself obligated to drastically change its policy, and maybe even its direction. So will it turn toward Europe and NATO once again, or will it deepen its growing relations with the Arab states that perceive it as being a force that could tilt the flawed balance of powers in favor of the Islamic Republic of Iran the other way?

The policy of intimidation, warnings and threats to intervene launched by Erdogan during his campaign against Al-Maliki’s government will not change anything on the ground. It rather reveals Turkey’s weakness and confusion in light of the failures which affected its foreign policy following the accomplishments it had secured throughout the years which preceded this drastic change at the level of the regional map. There is no need to recall the outcome of Ankara’s positions toward Israel and the threats it issued to lift the blockade which has been imposed on Gaza since the Israeli war on the Strip at the end of 2008 and the beginning of 2009, and after the Marmara Ship massacre. There is no need to recall the threats issued by the Turkish officials on the eve of the eruption of the uprising in Syria, to the point where some thought that Turkey was going to imminently mobilize its troops in order to protect the demonstrators, if not to try and topple the regime in Damascus.
 
Could current oil prices be the new normal?
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : John C. Hulsman
True to form, no sooner have sanctions been lifted then Tehran has moved to decisively ramp up energy production, the lifeblood of its struggling economy. While it will take some months...
Arab Shiites must reclaim religious authority from Iran
Source : Al Arabiya TV  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Mohammad al-Sulami
It's well-known that Iraq is the origin and base of Shiite authority in the Middle East. It was first Baghdad then Najaf, and this lasted for centuries. Iran's Qom however...
Talk of a Saudi-Iranian Settlement
Source : Asharq Al-Awsat  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Ali Ibrahim
The Secretary General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon was not the first to call for a settlement between Saudi Arabia and Iran to resolve their differences in order to...
The Only Solution …
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Badrya Darwish
As I cannot lately write freely about many things in Kuwait like faux budget deficits, rising prices and inflation, subsidy removals and the effects on the nation, school tuition fees,...
Education vital for Syrian children
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Labeed Abdal
UNICEF's call to raise $2.8 billion to help 43 million children suffering because of human crises worldwide and allocating the largest portion of this aid for education is a must...
The golden cheque
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Qais Al-Usta
Kuwait Airways has a special importance for every Kuwaiti citizen, even expatriates living on this good land, as it is the one that sees us off if we decide to...
'Zika' marshals countries of the world except Kuwait
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Ali Ahmad Al-Baghli
The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Monday that Zika virus is a global health emergency, as it is almost certain that the virus is the main reason behind the rise...
David Cameron working with Qatar to solve the Syrian crisis
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Ajay Sharma
Today, the British Prime Minister David Cameron will co-host a conference, "Supporting Syria and the region 2016," with leaders from Germany, Kuwait, Norway and the United Nations....
Shoura Council and the ministers
Source : Saudi Gazette  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Ibrahim Badawood
Following a stormy session of the Shoura Council attended by the labor minister, some members of the consultative body had called for the minister's resignation....
No light at the end of the tunnel?
Source : Arab News  
Date : 2016-02-04
Author : Abdulateef Al-Mulhim
Just a few years ago, the Syrian people wanted democracy, social equality and a better quality of life. They revolted against their government, which is ironically led by a president...
The Pakistan-Kuwait relations
Source : Kuwait Times  
Date : 2016-02-03
Author : Javaid Ahmad
The Pakistan-Kuwait relations are brotherly, based on shared history, traditions and common culture. Both countries have always enjoyed their bilateral, friendly, trade and cultural ties with enormous respect of their...
Hamas, dual shop owner
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-02-03
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Undoubtedly, the Palestinian cause is the most just in human history that has been savagely exploited by Palestinian political forces. If it was said in the past that some...
Prolific child bearer
Source : Arab Times  
Date : 2016-02-03
Author : Ahmed Al-Jarallah
Kuwait was not built on the sand of the Gulf beach that is prone to destruction due to waves of personality clashes or tribal and sectarian politics. It is a...
The Arab Spring: Five years on
Source : The Peninsula  
Date : 2016-02-03
Author : Dr Mohamed Kirat
Five years ago, the Arab revolutions, with the massive participation of social network- savvy youth, ousted dictatorial rulers, in what some people called 'the Facebook revolution'....
Time for collective strategy
Source : Gulf Today  
Date : 2016-02-03
Author : Guy Verhofstadt
The picture of Aylan Kurdi's lifeless body being removed from a beach in Turkey shocked the world. But in the months that followed this tragedy, one might be forgiven for...
Total 200 Results in 14 Pages
  2 
For more news, views and reports about this topic, please subscribe
to GRC website: www.grc.net
Sun Feb 7, 2016| 27-ربيع ثاني-1437هـ
Asiri: Kingdom ready to participate in any ground operations in Syria
Assad, Russia blamed for Syria peace talks collapse
Zarif stresses redefining regional interest to reach security
UAE economy to stay resilient
Top al Qaeda commander killed in Yemen drone strikes: Residents
Tehran, Moscow ink $40bn projects
Slammed: Doubters of Saudi war on terror
Qatar banks discuss lower repo rate with central bank
Kuwait FM stresses int'l efforts importance to restore Syria stability
Iran to strengthen missile programme - Army chief
US troop numbers have increased in Iraq, says Pentagon
UAE pledges Dhs503m for Syrians
GCC joint naval operations center achieves military coordination - Kuwaiti official
Venezuela oil minister calls Qatar meeting 'productive'
Iran pilgrims welcome, crisis won't affect them: Riyadh
'Over $10bn raised at Syria conference'
Meba plans Bahrain's first solar panel plant
Saudi currency devaluation would carry major political risk
  Op-Ed
Aggressive posture
Reshuffle unlikely to help Hollande regain popularity
Discussing solutions
Dedicate a day for Saudi soldier
More>>  
    Reports
GCC Markets Performance - January 2016
Saudi Budget 1437/1438 (2016)
More>>  
    GCC Press Agencies
Day's main stories from the GCC Press Agencies
    GRC Analysis
Renewable Energy in GCC
Paris Climate Deal and Oil-rich Countries
Combating Climate Change and Terrorism
    GRC Commentary
Using the Iran Nuclear Accord to Advance Regional Security
Reduce your Footprint in Ramadan
A Gulf Perspective on the 'Obama Doctrine'
    GRC Press Release
Gulf Research Center press releases to the media
    GRC Publications
Africa and the Gulf Region: Blurred Boundaries and Shifting Ties
Sustainable Development Challenges in the Arab States of the Gulf
The Green Economy in the Gulf
    GRC Newsletters/Bulletins

Enter your email to get the Newsletter
Go
A Note on Syrian Refugees in the Gulf: Attempting to Assess Data and Policies
      
Privacy Policy | Contact Us | Terms & Conditions | About Us |
Weather | Qibla Directions | Hijri Date Conversion Tool
Full Page :total time:5  |   50-- 55 Middle Page :0  --   | Right : 55 - 55--en--sess-enreq-en-coming