By Edmond Y. Azadian
Turkey has become a big player in regional politics and the scope of its foreign policy not only covers the Middle East and the Caucasus, but it has extended far beyond those geographic areas to include the Balkans and Europe (via its NATO affiliation) and even China. Indeed, Turkey’s prime minister is not only the champion of the Palestinian cause, in order to lull the Arab world into delusions, but he has come out on as the champion of Uyghur rights in China.
Uyghurs are a restless Moslem minority, most of the time in conflict with the Chinese authorities. During one of the recent ethnic flare-ups, Prime Minister Erdogan accused the Chinese government of perpetrating genocide against the Uyghurs.
Erdogan’s pronouncement certainly did not scare the mighty Chinese government, but perhaps it helped to push China closer to Armenia — a true victim of genocide, perpetrated almost a century ago by the Turkish government.
On the chessboard of the politics of the Caucasus, Armenia, with its size, is not a challenge for Turkey. But history weighs too heavily on Turkey’s strategic planning. Another factor, which Turkey has to take into account, is not Armenia’s size nor its military capabilities, but its alliances in the continuing cold war in the region.
Since Turkey is an unreliable partner for its allies, it has to invent and re-invent various deceptive policies, to fool its allies for a while, while consolidating long-term plans on the ground. One of those deceptions was the apology game with Israel, its long-term strategic ally in the region. Although Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu extended an apology to Turkey for the raid on the Mavi Marmara and promised to compensate the families of the Turkish victims, Israel’s political circles do not believe that Turkey will make good on its end of the bargain.