BLOG 293 March 7, 2016

Last week we considered how the Middle East situation has gone through a radical reordering that has changed what came out of the geographic shape from the past. One of the countries not considered offers another interesting reflection of change: Turkey.

Most Westerners pay little attention to Turkey. Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the conclusion of World War I, Turkey has not been particularly significant. However, Turkish President Recap Tanya Endogen has been hard at work lately to reverse that standing. In previous blogs, I have detailed some of his efforts to establish a Muslim axis running from Turkey through Syria down to Iran. Turkey became fast friends with President Bashar el-Assad. Erdogan had visions of setting himself up as the Grand Caliphate of that Muslim area . Sorry. The fact is that Erdogan’s efforts have all failed.

Why should a Westerner care about Turkey? Putting its past history aside, the gyrations of Turkey have created significant problems. In an unprecedented ploy and without warning, Turkey exposed Israeli Mossad agents while trying to build his Muslim Axis. In addition, during the spring of 2010, the Mavi Marmara affair was an attempt by Turkey to break the Israeli blockade on Gaza. As a result nine Turks were killed. Erdogan was seriously discredited in Israel and lost footing in his Middle East pursuits as well.

Today, Erdogan sees Assad as Turkey’s worst enemy. With Russia entering the Syrian civil war, Russia is not only on the bad guy list but is now positioned to strike the underbelly of Turkey. Turkey is now confronted by what it sees as “Imperialist” Russia and shot down one of their airplanes . Sanctions followed. As the Russians change the balance of power in the war, Tehran is becoming on the winning side and Turkey on the losing. Erdogan’s aces have turned into deuces.

To make matters even more difficult, the United States appears to have abandoned their efforts and turned civil the war over to Russia while the USA backs the Kurds. Turkey particularly fears a resurgence of the Kurds on their border may result in a new state after the Syrian war. The Kurdish insurgency is another big headache for Erdogan.

In other words, Turkey is in a BIG mess. Who could profit from such a quagmire?

Surprisingly enough, the answer is Israel.

Erdogen’s anti-Israel assaults never brought the result for which he had hoped. A dry run there. Moscow had been Turkey’s supplier of gas but that source is no longer trustworthy. Israel can sell gas to Turkey. Interesting possibility.

As painful as it probably will be, Israel may be Turkey’s only open door.

Watch for a new hand to be dealt. Stay tuned.

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Filed under America, Arabs, middle east, Russia, Turkey

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