In a recent blog, I described the new unfolding situation as Turkey switches allegiances from Israel to Iran. While virtually not reported in America, the situation has serious implications as Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan moves in the direction of Islamic nationalism. Turkey’s recent exposure of Mossad agents working in Iran amounted to the most egregious violations of trust in history. It is still not clear what has become of the Israeli agents. What is clear is that Erdogan is aiming at a resurrection of the Ottoman Empire.
Simply lay a map of the Middle East on the table and look at what an alliance of Turkey, Syria, and Iran would mean. The implications are obvious. Saudi Arabia and Israel would be cut off and isolated. Sunni oriented Saudi Arabia would be the hostile focus of Shiite led Iran and the tensions would become frightening. Turkey is now moving in that direction.
Turkey’s Prime Minister had been a major supporter of Egypt’s President Morsi before his ouster and arrest. When the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood followed, Erdogan became one of the most vocal critics, signaling his fundamental ties to the Brotherhood and a Muslim state. His statements have now led to a complete shift in Egyptian foreign policy.
Egypt has just downgraded its diplomatic relationship with Turkey. In addition, the Egyptians expelled the Turkish ambassador because of the criticisms of the Erdogan administration. Moreover, the Egyptians have permanently withdrawn their ambassador from Turkey. Turkey in turn declared the ambassador to be “persons no grata” meaning “don’t come back.”
The Egyptian military that now controls the country has been in the process of reversing many of Morsi’s policies. The former Prime Minister is scheduled to go on trial on murder charges. The United States has now recognized who is in control and switched from its earlier critical statements about the take-over. As of late, Secretary of State John Kerry has been flattering Egypt’s interim leaders as well as denigrating the Muslim Brotherhood. Kerry got the picture that Erdogan missed.
What’s this all about? Fundamentally, Turkey has been reaching for a Muslim alliance with governments like Libya, Syria, Iran and Egypt. These attempts took a step backward in Egypt. Moreover, the ongoing chaos in Libya has been another defeat as well as the Muslim Brotherhood being crushed. These reversals have forced Turkey to retreat to a focus on economic interests rather than political alliances. But don’t hold your breath. Turkey’s intentions have now been revealed. The so-called Arab Spring has apparently spurned another malfunction.
Hopefully, the United States State Department is paying attention. Western interests much recognize that Turkey can no longer be numbered among “the good guys.”