Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Balkan States

Turkey’s Strategy

In part one, I explained the many problems that Turkey resolved with its neighboring States such as Greece, Armenia, Cyprus, Syria, Iraq, and Iran.  The long-term strategy of the Turkish State in the coming two decades is to be at a par  with Italy, France, and Spain in deciding for the Mediterranean Sea peace, security, and development. To be able to be a credible partner and valued mediator Turkey has, in the mean time, to iron out all its historical and current difficulties with its global neighboring regions such as the Balkan States (such as Bulgaria, Romainia, Albania, and Serbia), the Caucasus States (such as Armenia, Azerbajan, Georgia, and Tchechnia), the Central Asian States (such as Tajikistan, and Uzbakistan), the Middle East States (such as Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan), the Near East States (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine), the major north African States (Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco), and the Arab Gulf States. 

The Balkan States have over four centuries of interactions with the Othoman Empires.  Even in the 15th century, most princes in the Balkan States were vassals to the Turkish Prince who later will be called Sultan and the Caliph of Moslem after defeating the Mamelouk Sultan of Egypt in the 16th century.  Even the Byzantium Emperor was a vassal, paid tribute,  and had to join the Turkish Prince in his expansion wars.  After the fall of Constantinople in 1453, (the Turkish Prince had build a navy and blocked any sea entrance to Constantinople for sea supplies and secour by Genoa and Venice), the Othoman Empire expanded to all Central Europe and the Caucasus region. 

The Othoman Empire set siege twice to Vienne (later the Capital of the Habsburg Empire) and Vienna suffered famine and was saved at the nick of time.  At that time, there was no Russian Empire and the only Kingdom that could come to the rescue was the Catholic Kingdom of Poland that included current Belorussia and Ukraine.  Obviously, Greece was also part of Othoman Empire and the dividing line between Turkey and the rest of Europe was the Danub River (the eastern part of Hungary was under Othoman domination.)

Emperess Catherine of Russia in the 18th century expanded the Russian Empire toward the Caucasus and Central Europe.  The Balkan States were freed from the Othoman occupation but were vassals to various European Nations such as France, England, Russia, and mainly Austria (that was desintegrated after WWI) as the Othoman Empire (allied to Germany) was then defeated.  Communist Russia or the Soviet Union set claim to most of the Caucasus States and a few Central Europe States. 

The Caucasus region and many Central European States share many cultural, customs, linguistic, and culinary traditions (even among the Orthodox Christians) with the Turkish traditions.  It seems that Turkey managed diplomatic and political entente with most of these States and the oil pipelines crossing Turkey from the oil production sources in Azerbajan and the Ural region of Russia are vital economic relief to all these regional States. Turkey managed a peaceful settlement of the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabach within Azerbajan.

During the Cold War, the military regime in Turkey sided with the USA against Communist Russia and Turkey was included in the OTAN.  As West Germany was the main buffer Zone to the remaining Western European States, Turkey was the main buffer zone to the effective expansion of the Soviet Unions in the Middle East.  Israel was but a secondary ally and a typical mercenary State that the Western Powers supplied financially, militarily, economically, and politically so that the Israeli Jewish soldiers pay the price for believing that they were building their ancestral mythical State (that never existed historically but in stories in their Bible).  Fact is, most Arab States had sided with the US who purchased oil and supported the Arab monarchies and dictators.

The Soviet Unions extended defensive arms to the Middle East States because it refused to witness a reverse immigration of the Russian Jews.  Egypt was the main State that received substantial economic and financial aid from Soviet Unions, not because Egypt was viewed as the largest Arab State but mainly because Egypt did not consider itself directly concerned with the Israeli/Palestinian cause until the invasion of Israel, France, and England in 1956 on the Suez canal.

Turkey and Iran have a long history of interactions since antiquity.  Fact is, most of the Persian dynasties were Turkish in origine.  In the 18th century, the Persian Safafid dynasty was indeed a Turkish tribe and then, it turned to Chiaa Islamic sect and expanded its territory all the way to Afganistan and Central Asia.  Then, as it wanted to expand westward, the Othoman Sultan defeated badly the Safafid monarch and the current borders between the two nations were drawn at that period and remain intact since then.  Thus, the Othoman Sultan got control of Iraq and the Arabic Peninsula (current Saudi Arabia).

As the tribe of Seoud in the Hijjaz reverted to a fundamentalist Wahhabit sect and expanded in the Arabic Peninsula then, the Othoman Sultan dispatched one of his generals Muhammad Ali (Albanian of origine) to crush the Wahhabit revolts.  Muhammad Ali was very successful and destroyed the Seoud tribe Capital.  Thus, Muhammad Ali was appointed governor of Egypt and then, turned against his master and established his own dynasty in Egypt.  Consequently, the political relationship between Turkey (OTAN) and Egypt of Gamal Abdel Nasser (who had no option left but to side with Russia for military hardware and economic development) were mainly cold for over 35 years.  Turkey is attempting to warm up with Egypt, but the current Mubarak political regime in Egypt is viewing the growing power of Turkey with suspicion since it supplanted Egypt as the main power broker in the Middle East with the Western nations.

Modern Turkey is no longer an Othoman Empire but its rapid strategy, in the last two decades, to link up with all its regional States that were part and parcel of its vast Empire for over 4 centuries is giving ammunition to the so-called “moderate” isolationist and defeatist States in the Arab World (such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco) that refuse to reform and plan for the future.

Fact is, Turkey is the cornerstone State for the larger alliance among Iran, Syria, and Iraq for a stronger and much more stable Middle East political climate.

Turkey’s Strategy

The long-term strategy of the Turkish State in the coming two decades is to be at a par  with Italy, France, and Spain in deciding for the Mediterranean Sea peace, security, and development. In the mean time, Turkey has to iron out all its historical and modern difficulties with its neighboring regions such as the Balkan States (such as Bulgaria, Romainia, Albania, and Serbia), the Caucasus States (such as Armenia, Azerbajan, Georgia, and Tchechnia), the Central Asian States (such as Tajikistan, and Uzbakistan), the Middle East States (such as Iraq, Iran, and Afghanistan), the Near East States (Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine), the major north African States (Egypt, Algeria, and Morocco), and the Arab Gulf States.  So far, in the last decade, Turkey has been successful in bringing security and stability to most of its bordering States such as Greece, Syria, Iran, and Armenia.

For example,  on Turkey initiatives to its neighboring States, Turkey’s government extended a peace treaty with Armenia; the Armenian government signed it and the Armenian Parliament is yet to ratify the entire package.  The USA, pressued by Israel lobby, is delaying this ratification and even threatening to ask Congress to re-open the Armenian genocide file at the turn of the 20th century.  The Armenian/Lebanese demonstrated in Lebanon against the ratification, but this does not count. Sooner or later, this treaty will be ratified; and in the mean time, the many economic cooperation between the two States are growing fast. You may read my post on the Turkish and Armenian problems https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2009/04/17/cursed-cities-karss/

Turkey initiated a reconciliation between the two divided sections of Cyprus (the Greek and Turkish sectors).  The Cypriot Greeks are delaying the execution of this reconciliation; mainly, because the European Union (EU) does not want Turkey to have a leg in the union, even, indirectly (Cyprus Greek is part of the EU).

There are no problems between Syria and Turkey:  The borders are opened to trade, commerce, and without visas.  Turkey and Syria are conducting joint military maneuvers.  The Kurdish movements in Syria is under total control.  Syria had claims on the district of Iskandaron on the sea shore that mandated France relinquished to Turkey in 1936.  Turkey was a mediator between Syria and Israel for a peace treaty.

There are no problems between Turkey and Iran.  Both States have interest to contain and manage the Kurdish separatist movements on their lands.  Turkey and Iran have interest to keeping Iraq united a fter the withdrawal of the US troops in 2011 and are cooperating in that strategy.  Lately, Turkey joined Brazil to coaxing Iran into signing the nuclear treaty and Turkey was successful in that mediation.

Turkey and Greece are in great terms economically and politically.  Turkey aided Greece during the earthquake of 1999 and is contributing to get current Greece out of its financial morass.

Turkey has demonstrated the will to safeguard the rights of the Palestinians who were chased out of their homeland in 1948 by the new emerging State of Israel.  Turkey is leading the political and diplomatic endeavors to securing the human rights and civil rights in the occupied land of Palestine.

The main problem in Turkey is internal:  Turkey has to find a satisfactory resolution to its Kurdish separatist movement.  Negotiations are under way with most Kurdish movements but Israel has heavily infiltrated several radical Kurdish factions to keeping the heat on the Turkish State.  This case will be resolved as the US troops vacate Iraq and the Iraqi State regains some significant sovereignity over its land. (Article to be continued)


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

December 2020
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