In a recent outburst in Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said: “They’re either going to understand the language of politics and diplomacy, or [learn] in the field with painful experiences.”

He continued, “Turkey possesses sufficient political, economic and military power to tear up the immoral maps and documents imposed” on it.

This was a threat to fellow NATO member Greece, whose international territorial waters are being overrun by Turkey.

Indeed, Turkey has sent gas exploration ships within the continental shelf of Greece, escorted by its warships. Efforts to mediate the escalating crisis have failed because Greece is refusing to sit at the negotiation table before Turkey ceases its illegal drilling operations in the former’s territorial waters.

Turkey has also claimed the Cypriot exclusive economic zone, citing the “legal rights” of the illegally-occupied northern Cyprus, which Turkey calls the Republic of Northern Cyprus and whose sovereignty it alone recognizes.

NATO and its European members are divided over this standoff, creating a perfect confusing scenario for Mr. Erdogan to exploit.

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President Emmanuel Macron of France is pushing for sanctions against Turkey because he believes Turkey will not heed a command but only respond to actions. Earlier, he had described NATO as “brain dead,” which is being proven now with the current dithering by the pact’s leadership.

Some quarters argue that NATO was founded to defend its member states from foreign threats and does not have the proper mechanism in place to mediate internal disputes. Although a European Council meeting is planned to take place in Berlin on September 24-25, with this dispute serving as its main agenda, a definitive outcome may be in doubt, given the division among the member states.

The United States has assumed a hands-off position, having delegated the mediation to Germany. France is almost alone in its steadfast support for Greece. Italy and Spain have been leaning towards Turkey while Germany is keeping a neutral position to enhance its role as mediator.

International law is definitely on the side of Greece, counterbalanced by Turkey’s aggressive bullying, leading mediators to seek a position between law and intransigence. In the adjudication, Greece is the underdog.

The politicians in Armenia who are cheerleaders for joining the NATO structure must draw their own conclusions from Greece’s predicament.

Judy Dempsey of Carnegie Europe states: “What we are witnessing is a regional example of what happens in a multipolar world in the absence of firm U.S. leadership. Nor is this merely a passing moment linked to the caprice of U.S. President Donald Trump: former U.S. president Barack Obama’s refusal to abide by his own red lines in Syria in August 2013 was arguably the defining moment.”

President Erdogan is taking advantage of the stalemate by imposing a fait accompli on the group, which will be impossible to undo. One of those initiatives is an agreement signed with Hafiz El-Sarraj, the head of the National Accord government in Libya, while the international community is trying to achieve a peace agreement between that faction (which has international recognition) and that of General Haftar. That agreement has angered Egypt, which was ready to resort to military action.

To its credit, the Trump administration has also refused to recognize the agreement, which gives unilateral rights to Turkey and to the Libyan side.

As Libya was part of the Ottoman Empire, there are some groups there who claim Turkish heritage; Turkey has been offering citizenship to those Libyans. Mr. Sarraj is among them and he is grateful to his patron, who helped him militarily to consolidate his rule.

Turkey has been transplanting its communities in different countries, like it did recently in Lebanon. Those communities are time bombs and will be deployed against any country that encounters a problem with Turkey. We have to remember that Turkey once threatened to use its huge communities in Germany and Holland against those countries.

Some in Armenia are suggesting that since Armenians are scattered in countries all over the world, they can emulate this action. However, that policy can be implemented and activated to mobilize and politicize satellite communities only when the home base in strong.

To intimidate Greece and Cyprus, Turkey has been holding war games in the Eastern Mediterranean with the joint forces of Turkey and Northern Cyprus. Simultaneously, Turkey is organizing military drills in Nakhichevan, which for all practical purposes has become a Turkish military base. Ankara just completed war games in August with the joint forces of Turkey and Azerbaijan in the latter country.

To counter Turkey’s move, Armenian and Russian forces are currently engaged in military drills.

As Erdogan’s administration is using a heavy-handed policy in Azerbaijan, the ruling Aliyev clan is confused whether it is losing its sovereignty and has become handicapped in its balancing act between Ankara and Moscow.

Even in Karabakh negotiations, Baku has lost top billing to Turkey. Armenia has also recognized that fact and enunciated its position that our adversary in the Karabakh conflict has become Turkey, rather than Azerbaijan.

That shift in the Caucasus has created a new configuration of powers. The Armenian armed forces had inflicted a devastating blow to Azerbaijan during the last border war in Tavush. Turkey’s new role, however, rules out that kind of victory again. Should another round of fighting erupt. Armenia would be no match for Turkey.

That is why Armenia is sobering up and in that process, it has reevaluated its military partnership with Russia.

Thus, speaking on September 4 in Moscow at a joint session of defense ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and the Collective Treaty Organization, Armenia’s Defense Minister David Tonoyan made some significant political statements.

First, by a direct allusion to Turkey, he said, “Instabilities emerge when a country tries to impose its regional geopolitical ambitions by using a full range of destructive approach fueled by an expansionist ideology.”

To counter Turkey’s dangerous moves in the region, Tonoyan added, “The Russian presence in the region, as well as the deepening of military-political cooperation between Armenia and Russia are the most important deterrents contributing to the preservation of regional stability and security.”

It was politically expedient in that forum for Armenia’s minister of defense to say that. However, back home, this policy does not enjoy much support in the pro-government press, which has become vociferously anti-Russian, and many analysts gleefully foretell the collapse of the Russian Federation.

Hopefully, Mr. Tonoyan will return home with a more realistic message for that segment of the press to ponder.

Turkey is on Armenia’s border, threatening its very existence through its Ottomanist designs, which entail the occupation of neighboring territories.

Prof. Alan Mikhail of Yale University, describing Erdogan’s ambitions, states that the Turkish president has been trying to emulate Sultan Selim, who after conquering the Mamluks of Egypt, doubled the territories of the Ottoman Empire, also taking over Mecca and Medina to assume the title of Caliph in 1520.

This professor also warns: “We should be wary of Erdogan’s embrace of Selim’s exclusionary vision of Turkish political power. It represents a historical example of a strongman politics that led to regional wars, he attempted annihilation of religious minorities and the monopolization of global economic resources.”

The Ottoman Empire was built on the blood of conquered nations. Erdogan cannot rebuild it without resorting to bloodbaths. Will the world community be alarmed or stand by as neutral observers?

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