Turkey is this day engaged in hostile invasion, internal repression, mass displacement and the sponsorship of insurrectionist organisations.
That Erdoğan’s Turkey has entered an aggressive expansionist phase is surely now no longer in any doubt. At war with Syria, sponsoring jihadism in Libya, threatening to appropriate Cypriot oil resources, sabre-rattling over Greece, and now backing Azeri invasion of Artsakh, this neo-Ottoman elite appear to have decided to conduct war on all fronts.
Ankara’s hope is surely that it can safely pick fights with smaller neighbours like Armenia, Syria, Libya, Cyprus and Greece, knowing that the putative protectors of these nations are disunited and warleary. The Minsk trio – France, United States and Russia – may lean towards Armenia in the present conflict, but they have hardly been rushing to help an Armenian state whose security has been neglected and which is internally divided while its oil-rich neighbour, Azerbaijan has poured vast sums into building up its military.
Absent Turkish chop-licking over the conflict, the expectation would surely have been that the trio remain concerned onlookers rather than active participants. But Erdoğan’s active support for Azerbaijan has let the cloak slip further off of Turkish intentions, exposing her naked ambition to dominate the region.
While the world may be slow in rallying to Artsakh’s cause, there is little doubt that Turkey’s future is further isolation from the community of nations.
Already, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are promoting not only active boycotts, but legal prohibitions on the purchase of Turkish goods. Greece has been pressing the European Union to draw up severe sanctions on Turkey. According to AP News, in mid-September, “France on Friday backed Cyprus’ calls for the European Union to consider imposing tougher sanctions on Turkey if the Turkish government won’t suspend its search for energy reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters where Cyprus and Greece claim exclusive economic rights.” Iran and Russia have a common cause in preventing further Turkish expansionism.
In response, Turkey will no doubt attempt to divide and conquer the growing multinational alliance opposed to its imperial designs, but its actions and rhetoric may well have forestalled this approach. No Alexius I Comnenus, Erdoğan runs the risk of making the classic Byzantine mistake of fighting on all fronts. Yes, Russia may relish the prospect of a shrinking NATO, but NATO would be a stronger, more secure alliance without an imperialistic gunslinger in its fold. If anything, continued Turkish aggression may help improve relations between Turkey’s neighbours’ disparate backers. Could we see the growth of more pragmatic relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia or the United States and Russia? Well, the conditions are surely ripe for it.
Turkey’s aggressive actions towards Greece surely render Article 5 meaningless. The first step towards punishing Turkey for its belligerence is surely the expulsion of that country from the Alliance for ‘material breach’ of the treaty’s provisions on the promotion of democracy. Second, Cyprus should be offered full membership of NATO. Third, Western nations should consider the full cessation of trade and diplomatic relations, while seeking to build bridges with backers of states attacked by Turkey. And finally, if none of this resonates with the Turkish elite, a cooperation agreement by all of Turkey’s neighbours to resist Turkish expansion would doubtless put a damper on Erdoğan’s neo-Ottomanism.
Erdoğan has millions of internal enemies, many imprisoned in or made unemployed by his mass purges. In isolating Erdoğan and his cronies, solace will be given to those Turkish citizens who believe in the rule of law, democracy and human dignity, and who are suffering more than most under the present regime.
Now is the time for NATO to act!
Author: Hira U.
Picture of an Armenia soldier heading to the front.Source.