By Edmond Y. Azadian
President Erdogan’s Turkey not only has the ambition to revive the Ottoman Empire, but it is acting like one. Its tentacles extend from the Balkans to the Middle East, from North Africa to China, where the restive Uyghur minority is being armed and encouraged by Turkey against the central government.
Incidentally, the latter case has some unintended consequences which benefit Armenia. Thus, as Sino-Turkish relations sour, Beijing finds itself in a common cause with Armenia.
During the Cold War, Turkey was considered a bulwark for NATO in the Middle East, opposing Soviet expansion in the region and fighting indigenous liberation movements.
With the end of the Cold War, many pundits believed that Turkey had outlived its usefulness. But as it happened, Turkey assumed a new role of executing the West’s dirty work in the Middle East. When ordinary citizens can extrapolate from the plain facts that Ankara, despite its NATO membership, is pursuing contradictory policies against the US and the West, yet Washington is looking the other way, this indicates that there is tacit understanding between those two countries. For example, when Turkey recklessly shot down the Russian war plane, playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship, President Obama uncharacteristically stated that “Turkey has the right to defend itself,” while other NATO members were deploring the incident.
The US’s ardent support for Turkey’s admission into the European Union is motivated by the same goal: to have Turkey play the role of spoiler, disallowing the development of a third pole in Europe, independent of US tutelage.