​The geopolitics of Turkey: the importance of Ankara in the geopolitical chessboard of the Middle East

Turkey’s role in the balance of power in the Middle Eastern region is more important today than ever. Since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Ankara has not stopped claiming a leading role in the Middle East which it dominated for over four centuries. Its geopolitical aims remain very similar to those of the Ottomans and still claim to establish itself as a geopolitical leader in Western Asia. Certainly since 1918 (the year of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and its dismemberment into the various geopolitical entities that we know today such as Iraq, Lebanon, Syria etc.) its role has been greatly reduced but has remained central in the geopolitical dynamics of the Middle Ages. Orient. This is also thanks to the role it has been playing since the Second World War as the cornerstone of US strategy in the area. However, in recent years this role has clearly been reduced due to increasingly greater conflicts between the US and Turkish political leadership. Which today makes Ankara a treacherous ally of the United States of America and a country in many ways hostile to Western geopolitical and geostrategic claims in the Middle Eastern region. Which is also demonstrated by the close relations that Ankara has been able to develop with Putin’s Russia in recent years. To the point of making Turkey, in some respects, a country geopolitically closer to Moscow than to Washington (despite the latter being part of NATO). This situation raises questions not only on the development of the geopolitical situation in the Middle East but also on Turkey’s permanence in the Western bloc. But let’s try to understand the reason for these developments.
Since the end of the Second World War, the USA has established a solid alliance with Turkey with an anti-Russian function. No country was more suitable for this purpose since Ankara has been a rival of Moscow for centuries both in the Middle East and in the Caucasus region. Turkey is a centuries-old antagonist of the Kremlin also with regard to the issue of the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles Strait which represents southern Russia’s only outlet to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. Considering that Russian geopolitical aims have for centuries had the warm seas of the south and the control of the straits (Bosphorus first and foremost) as their priority, it is clear how the alliance between the West and Ankara was perfectly functional to the Anglo-Saxon vision of supremacy in the medium east and at the same time to that of containing Russian expansion towards the south. In the Western geopolitical vision, Turkey still has this role, even more so today that Moscow has returned to being a leading player on the global geopolitical scene. This explains why the Islamic country is still economically supported today with “blank checks” from the IMF and Western finance. And it also explains the patience with which Washington and London follow Erdogan’s “controversial” moves in the geopolitical sphere. Since in recent years Ankara has become increasingly closer to Moscow and has shown that it no longer wants to passively submit to the diktats of the Anglo-Saxon empire.And, above all, it has clearly shown its desire to intensify cooperation with the Eurasian bloc by submitting a formal request to join the BRICS club. Which raises serious questions about the real intentions of the Turkish establishment and its loyalty to NATO and the Western bloc, also in light of recent statements by Turkish politicians which “sound” like a real declaration of war on the USA and their actions in the Middle East. The Turkish Interior Minister, Soylu, recently declared: “We prosecute all terrorist organizations such as FETO, PKK and ISIS. But, in truth, in fighting these terrorist organizations we are fighting the USA.” It is obvious that Ankara has now understood how a policy of containment of Turkey by the West has begun in order to frustrate its desire for independence. And all this is achieved through training, training and supply of weapons to such formations in and around the territory of the Middle Eastern country. And even if it is impossible at the moment to predict the developments of these dynamics, it is certain that the balance of power built in the Middle East by Washington and London is today seriously compromised if not completely destroyed. Also in light of the recent developments concerning relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia (read, in this regard, the following article: https://www.geopolitika.it/en/the-agreement-between-iran-and-saudi-arabia-the-middle-east-and-the-new-global-geopolitical-balances/ ). Above all, these geopolitical dynamics show how the divide and conquer tactic no longer works. And since it no longer works, it is impossible to impose one’s supremacy in the region as well as prevent synergies between regional powers that Washington and London see as “smoke and mirrors” (such as that between Russia and Turkey and the one, probably, between Iran and Saudi Arabia).

Turkey’s geopolitics clearly reflects its geographical position which makes it a part Asian, part European country. Since 1453 (the year in which the Seljuk Turks took Byzantium, decreeing the end of the Eastern Roman Empire), the Turkish empire has had as its geopolitical priority the expansion on the European continent which led it to occupy the entire Balkan region ( where the cultural vestiges of the occupation are still visible today) for almost two centuries. Likewise, Ankara has always been interested in having a leading role in the Middle Eastern region where the majority of its territory extends and where the main economic interests of the Islamic country are concentrated. This role was guaranteed after the Second World War with the country’s entry into NATO and into the Western orbit with an anti-Soviet function. Which have ensured the Middle Eastern country unlimited funding and a primary military weight in the Middle East. But in recent years the alliance between Ankara and Washington seems to have cracked to the point that it can no longer last long. On the other hand, the USA no longer seems to be able to guarantee Turkey a leading role in the Middle Eastern region. As demonstrated by the attempt to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Al Assad in 2011 (an attempt which then dragged on for years and which involved the occupation of all of northern Syria by the Turkish army). An attempt that failed miserably and made Ankara aware of the US geopolitical weakness in the region. All this has pushed the Islamic country to rethink its geopolitical position and to look east. To the point of asking to join the BRICS club and to the point of becoming a buyer of Russian weapons rather than Western ones. Which has infuriated the old Anglo-Saxon ally which is now committed to financing and arming terrorist factions in and around Turkish territory for possible coups in the event the Islamic country formalizes “the great betrayal”. That is, in the event that Ankara decides to abandon the Western bloc to enter the Eastern one (with all the dramatic consequences of the case, in terms of regional and global geopolitical balances).

Turkey’s geopolitics today appears close to a truly historic “Kopernican revolution”. The Eurasian country, after decades of loyalty to the Anglo-Saxon empire, today shows the desire to be at least more independent compared to the geopolitical will of NATO and the Anglo-Saxon bloc. This is also by virtue of overcoming the age-old conflicts that placed it on a collision course with the Russian Empire and its geopolitical aims. Contrasts skillfully exploited by Washington and London. Which were able to offer financing and military protection against Moscow. But today, when the power of the Anglo-Saxon empire seems to be weakening (and this became clear in the Syrian war where the West was defeated by Putin’s Russia), Ankara seems to be rethinking its “position” on the Middle Eastern (and global) geopolitical chessboard. geopolitics and looking east. She’s not the only one, in truth. The whole southern hemisphere is doing it. And it is entirely probable that these developments are only the beginning of a path that will lead to substantial changes in the global geopolitical balance.

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