Outgoing U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed Turkey during a virtual meeting of NATO foreign ministers on Tuesday, accusing Ankara of stoking tensions with fellow allies in the Mediterranean and of giving a gift to the Kremlin by purchasing a Russian-made anti-aircraft system. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu fired back, accusing Pompeo of phoning …
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It has now been 18 years since Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party shocked Turkey’s secular establishment and swept to power. That Islamists won a supermajority in Turkey’s parliament reflected less the religious orientation of Turkey’s electorate at the time and more Turks’ disgust at both establishment corruption and incumbent politicians’ financial mismanagement. Over …
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has brokered a Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal that locks in territorial gains for Turkey-backed Azerbaijan. In doing so, he has thwarted a stronger Turkish presence in a region Moscow views as its backyard. Six weeks of heavy fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces over the enclave have tested …
ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey said on Tuesday that a deal to end more than a month of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh had secured important gains for its close ally Azerbaijan in the conflict with Armenia. The agreement, signed by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, follows six weeks of heavy fighting and advances by Azeri forces. On Sunday, …
Middle Eastern politics is always a trap for radical ideologues. In Erdoğan’s mindset the “infidel West” is militarily helping Armenia (the evil) and Turkey is militarily helping Azerbaijan (the righteous). Although Ankara and Baku categorically deny accusations, press reports and independent human rights observers have confirmed the arrival of hundreds of jihadists in Azerbaijan to …
Erdogan has launched Turkey on an increasingly assertive and independent regional posture. Unlike Americans on the right and left, the concept of “endless wars” doesn’t register for him. And despite being a member of NATO, and a onetime aspirant for European Union membership, Erdogan seems to relish accusing Europe, and especially France, of mistreating Muslims, with pointed back-and-forths threatening boycotts and sanctions.
The next US administration may have come to come to terms with a Turkey that is less of an ally and more a self-interested occasional partner — and one that pursues its own agenda at the center of increasingly complex and conflict-prone relations in the Caucuses, the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean.
[…] But either Erdogan doesn’t care, or he has a fetish for popular pain. After all, the president’s showdown with Greece is nothing short of an imperialist effort to rewrite sovereign boundaries and subjugate the nemesis of all loyal Turkish ultra-nationalists. Erdogan’s effort to establish an Islamic boycott of French goods is both immoral and destined to failure (there are few substitutes for high-value French produce), and the EU has already offered President Emmanuel Macron its support. Erdogan’s obsession with retaining the S-400 system is equally idiotic. That system is totally at odds with Turkey’s responsibilities to NATO.
In his article, Dr. Vali Kaleji, a Tehran-based expert on Central Asia and Caucasian Studies, proposes the logic for including Iran, Russia and Turkey in the process of Karabakh peace talks that is way stronger than their participation in the Astana talks to resolve the Syria crisis. Against the backdrop of three decades of failure in transition from ceasefire to peace in the Karabakh conflict, formation of a 3+2 mechanism (Iran, Turkey, Russia with Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan) should be considered more seriously, he believes.
Putin said on Thursday that “many countries, including Turkey and a host of European states” should work together to find consensus. Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, has demanded a greater say in talks.
“The first stage is to stop the fighting, stop the killing,” Putin told an online Russian investment forum.
Where does this leave us?
Well, with the increasing obvious but sad reality that Erdogan is no longer a partner to Europe’s or America’s democratic security. Instead, Erdogan requires confrontation. The United States should join with the European Union in preparing sanctions on the Turkish central bank. The Turkish lira is already at pathetic lows (in no insignificant part, thanks to Erdogan’s economic mismanagement). Let’s see whether the sultan feels so supreme when his economy implodes.
A senior Canadian bureaucrat testifying before MPs Thursday declined to answer questions regarding whether the Prime Minister’s Office or the Foreign Affairs Minister’s office influenced a decision to allow the export of airstrike-targeting gear to Turkey this May, equipment now allegedly being used by Azerbaijan to attack Armenians. Shalini Anand, acting director-general for the government’s …
Turkey aside, the conflict threatens to drag in Russia, which has a defence pact with Armenia under the Collective Security Treaty Organisation – a post-Soviet military alliance.
It also risks pulling in Iran, which does not want Turkish or Syrian rebel forces on its northern border and whose territory is being hit by stray shells.
France is meant to lead EU diplomacy on the crisis via its co-presidency of the Minsk Club – a diplomatic forum for Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks.
But that structure has remained largely inert for the past 26 years.