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Annoying but essential: Turkey is present on all diplomatic fronts

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Turkey It has made a place for itself in all the great crises and geopolitical challenges, through outbursts and threats, and without ever neglecting its own interests, an attitude that in many cases irritates its allies.

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From crisis to crisis, Turkey shows its muscle in defending the country’s security and interests: ukrainian war and traffic of goods by sea, expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)military incursions into Iraq (and possibly in Syria), tensions with its Greek neighbor…

A geostrategic presence for the benefit of its president Recep Tayyip Erdoganin power since 2003 and running for re-election next year.

In the focus of the latest issues, the Kurdish fighters on the Turkish border with Syria, which Erdogan threatens with “clean up” to stabilize a “security zone” of 30 km. That would be an operation similar to the one that has been carried out in northern Iraq since mid-April.

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For his part, the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warns that a Turkish operation in northern Syria “would weaken regional stability”although it does not seem that this warning will stop the offensive.

The Kurds are also at the forefront of Turkey’s opposition to the entry of Sweden Y Finland in NATO, countries that Ankara accuses of hosting the “terrorists” of the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, and their allies.

diplomatic opportunity

“It tries to transform (the NATO question) into a diplomatic opportunity”, points out Yektan Turkyilmazresearcher at Central European Universitybased in Vienna (Austria).

“Sweden and Finland are forced to address Turkey’s ‘concerns’, which are based on claiming the right to treat as a ‘terrorist’ whomever it wants”.

This way of occupying the international scene also has political ends, one year before the presidential elections in June 2023, he explains. Soner CagaptayTurkey specialist at the Washington Institute.

“Turkey’s concerns about Sweden’s links with the PKK and the YPG (armed wing of the Democratic Union Party in Syria) are legitimate”says Cagaptay.

“But, even if (the Swedes) do not do everything that (Erdogan) asks, he will claim it as a victory for having forced the Europeans to bend their arms”. “His image as a strong man will be reinforced throughout the world and at the national level”Add.

Asked by AFP, different analysts affirm that Turkey could take advantage of the NATO issue to close the case of the F-16, fighter planes that Ankara bought from the United States, but on which Washington suspended the contract after Turkey was made with the Russian defense system S-400.

Erdogan in turn accuses his Greek neighbor (a member of NATO) of blocking the F-16 dossier, which increases tensions in the Atlantic alliance.

upset posture

For Soner Cagaptay, “Erdogan sends a message to (Joe) Biden: let’s talk about my planes and I will be happy to lift my veto in NATO”.

“His position is, without a doubt, annoying, but his objections are well founded”nuances the expert in geopolitics Didier Billionof French Institute of International and Strategic Relations (Iris). “Beyond the blackmail, in the end they will reach an agreement”it states.

The only regional power that maintains relations with Ukraine without bothering Moscow, Turkey has become an important character in the war negotiations.

“Although there was no notable progress, thanks to its neutrality, Turkey is the trusted actor in the mediation between Ukraine and Russia”points Elizabeth Aunaof the University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

Sergei Lavrov, head of Russian diplomacy, will arrive in Turkey on Wednesday of next week to discuss the opening of “runners” in the Black Sea that provide an outlet for Ukrainian grain.

Turkey offered its help and offers its ships for an operation that, at the moment, Russia is reflecting on if it suits it.

Lavrov will travel to Turkey for the second time in the framework of the negotiations on the war, since he was already in Antalya (southwest) in March, in the only meeting with his Ukrainian counterpart, Dmytro Kulebafrom the beginning of the conflict.

Source: Gestion

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