The decades after World War II constituted a period of global decolonization. Many countries in Africa, Middle East and Southeast Asia attained independence in that period. The Ottoman Empire collapsed in the wake of World War I and only thanks to the friendship between Turkish leader Mustafa Kemal Ataturk and Russian leader Vladimir Lenin was Asia Minor saved as the home of the modern Republic of Turkey.

During World War II, Turkey, as a tacit collaborator with Nazi Germany, was put on the chopping block again, to be dismantled by Stalin’s Red Army, when a rescue came from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill at Fulton, Missouri, where he delivered his famous speech about the Iron Curtain, marking the start of the Cold War.

After being saved twice from being annihilated, Turkey has emerged in recent years as an unapologetic colonizer.

In a recent book, Nostalgia for the Empire: The Politics of Neo-Ottomanism, historian M. Hakan Yavuz credits former Prime Minister/President Turgut Ozel with initiating neo-Ottomanism, whose footprints President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been following to build the historian describes as “Islamic Kleptocracy.”

In a book review in the London Times Literary Supplement, Gerald MacLean further develops the topic by writing: “Yavuz shows how Erdogan’s devotion to [Ottoman Sultan] Abdelhamid was partly inspired by the writings of Necip Fazil Kisakurek, a “fascist political Islamist ideologue” whose influential periodical, Buyuk Dogu, (1943-1975) was steeped in resentment of Turkey’s westernizing reforms. Advocating a restoration of Ottoman Islamic values, Necip Fazil taught that “hatred … is the defining feature of the good believer,” giving rise to “a passion-based political activism.”

It is important to recognize the origins of Erdogan’s world view and what motivates his drive to chase a neo-Ottomanist future. It is also interesting to discover the source of his disdain for Western-style democracy. Only then can we understand his hatred of those values and his motivation to destroy them.

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When historians and analysts describe Erdogan as being on Hitler’s path, they don’t do so to ridicule him; they are simply highlighting his hate-driven philosophy fueled by a weaponized religious zeal to conquer back the territories the Ottoman Empire lost.

Reports and analyses emerging in the aftermath of the recent 44-day war in Karabakh reveal that the intentions of Turkey and Azerbaijan were not confined to the sliver of land that they reconquered; their ambitions went far beyond, reaching global dimensions in carving a pan-Turanic empire in Central Asia and engaging even major powers in their plans.

For a long period, Armenia viewed the conflict through the prism of the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict. As the Bayraktar drones destroyed its air defense systems within the first 15 minutes of the war, we realized the extent of the involvement of the Turkish military in the war. We believed that the Armenian army was facing the combined forces of Turkey and Azerbaijan, with the collaboration of some 2,700 mercenary jihadists from Syria. Little did we realize that an additional powerhouse — Pakistan, with its freelance jihadists and official air force — were fully engaged in the war.

We may criticize the Armenian side for its lack of preparedness and intelligence regarding the size of the forces it was facing, but we cannot blame its defeat against the combined regular armies of three nations, aided with a battalion of terrorists.

Turkey, under Erdogan, has legitimized the use of terrorists in all of the conflicts it has fomented or engaged in, within the full view of the United Nations and the world community.

Pakistan is a hub for terrorists. The reason the war in Afghanistan has dragged on for decades is that Pakistan harbors and trains Taliban terrorists to keep US forces tied down in that war-torn country, while pretending to be an ally.

Pakistani terrorists are particularly busy in Jammu and Kashmir, enclaves which have pitted Pakistan against India since 1947.

Tufail Ahmad writes in the March 2 issue of MEMRI, “International issues are of no importance to Azerbaijan, Turkey and Pakistan, since all these three states seem to be guided solely by Islam. Since the late 1980s, the state of Pakistan has nurtured Jihadi terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. Pakistan’s refusal to withdraw its troops from Kashmir is not only a transgression of the UN Security Council Resolution, but Pakistan refuses to vacate Kashmir.”

There is ample evidence that Pakistani jihadists have fully participated in the Karabakh War in addition to the Pakistani air force. Pakistan is one of the few countries in the world which has not recognized Armenia and has voted consistently against it at the UN as well as other world forums. After the war, Ilham Aliyev profusely praised Pakistan for its “brotherly support of Azerbaijan.”

Now that this axis of evil has won the war in Karabakh, it has been targeting other trouble spots of the world. Tufail Ahmad writes on the same site that “after the Pakistani military helped Azerbaijan’s armed forced defeat Armenia in Nagorno Karabakh war, it appears that Azerbaijan is seeking an act of reciprocity to assist Pakistan on the issue of Kashmir. This reciprocity — growing out of a trilateral military alliance also involving Turkey, that engineered Azerbaijan’s military victory — is now driving these war partners to target Kashmir as the next military objective.”

Azerbaijan’s involvement in the Kashmir conflict sets it squarely against India, a huge nuclear country, which is also noted for its arms exports.

We seldom witness Armenian diplomacy meaningfully engaged with India, which may provide not only diplomatic support to Yerevan, but most probably also military and economic aid.

While Armenia grieves for the forced concession for passage through the Zangezur region (which Azerbaijan’s leader Ilham Aliyev recently called historic Azerbaijani land) there is a celebration about it through the Islamic world, in the first place, evaluating that corridor as a path for pan-Turanic plans and second as a passage for Turkey to access the Caspian Sea.

Turkish warships are already challenging the Russian fleet in the Black Sea. The Caspian Sea will become another flash point between the navies of Turkey and Russia.

Turkish colonization of Azerbaijan has turned that country into a launching pad for Turkey to extend its forces into Central Asia, yet additionally Baku will become the beneficiary of Turkish exploits in other parts of the world.

Turkey and Azerbaijan not only continue benefitting from Pakistani jihadist forces, but they also have boasted to have become with the latter partners in Islamic nuclear capability.

Pakistan has proven to be an expansionist country, most of the time ruled by the military. It is not a signatory to the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Therefore, it is not legally bound to withhold its nuclear arms technology from Turkey. President Erdogan has been claiming for a long time that a major political force like Turkey must be entitled to possess nuclear weaponry. As an expansionist leader, Erdogan may develop its own nuclear arsenal, after Russia completes two atomic power plants, which it has agreed to build in Turkey, but Pakistan’s ready-made bombs become more attractive at this stage.

With Turkey’s aggressive posture in the Middle East and beyond, the military-political configuration in the region will be going through a transformation.

Vali Nasr, in an “argument” published in the March 2 issue of Foreign Policy, states that “the Middle East’s next conflicts won’t be between Arab states and Iran.” He predicts, instead, that the region will be shared by Turkey, Iran and Israel. All three of them have conflicts amongst themselves.

Iran is supposed to be more friendly towards Armenia. But all the plans and promises of economic cooperation with Armenia have not amounted to much. Additionally, Iran’s clergy and foreign policy establishment have been bending over backwards to congratulate Azerbaijan for “liberating” territories from Armenia. Iranian leadership is fully aware and prepared to face the mischief that Turkey and Azerbaijan are plotting against its territorial integrity. Also, the Iranian leadership is fully aware that Israel has been asking Azerbaijan to gather intelligence and one day, to plan a preemptive strike from Azerbaijan on Iran. It should not sound facetious to ask whether Armenia should have emulated Azerbaijan policy to deserve similar deference. Perhaps in that case, Israel would not be motivated to seek Azerbaijani border extended if Armenia had provided the same facility.

With the emergence of Turkey as a major power, the region will become a more dangerous neighborhood. Turkey has been taking advantage of the rivalries between major and minor forces to promote its own agenda. Ankara is at a point of no return if it is not stopped now.

Unfortunately, in this scenario, the Karabakh war may not be the last tragedy for Armenia.



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