23:45 GMT +3 hours30 July 2016
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Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, left, meets with Saudi King Salman, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

End of Erdogan’s Power Grab? Turkey May Be the Middle East’s Biggest Loser

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Turkey and its “weakening strongman, Erdogan” seem to be experiencing difficult times in the Middle East; the country is losing its grip on the region after failing to provide any “meaningful contribution to a possible solution” to the Syrian crisis, according to a Washington-based website on the Middle East, Al-Monitor.

The outlet cites several facts as examples of its aforementioned conclusion. The first is Ankara’s recent involvement in the Saudi-led 34-nation military alliance of Sunni nations, which is seen by many analysts as “a Sunni coalition through which Saudi Arabia aims to check and reduce Iran’s regional influence”.

“By agreeing to be among the likes of Comoros, Mali and Niger and led by Saudi Arabia, Turkey forfeited its claim to being the historical Sunni counterweight to Iran, going back to the 16th-century rivalry between the Ottoman Empire and the Safavids. That is not a role suited to a country with an imperial legacy whose glory is revisited frequently by the current power holders in Turkey,” it says.

The website therefore reasons that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's rule had already “made Turkey a part of a subregional axis competing with Saudi influence over the Sunni world.”

“Saudi Arabia and Qatar have cash and hydrocarbons; Turkey has military muscle. It looks as if the Gulf monarchies are allowing Turkey to benefit from their treasuries while making use of Turkey’s geopolitical weight. The Saudis seem emboldened by having Turkish muscle on board in their confrontational attitude toward Tehran.”

The Saudi-Iranian crisis is complicating Ankara’s regional plans, particularly on Syria, the website says.

The next example of Ankara’s failure is its recent rapprochement with Israel, the website says, quoting Erdogan’s announcement on January 2, while on his way back from Saudi Arabia that “Turkey and Israel need each other.”

“A statement so worded may sound like Erdogan’s assessment of the changing geopolitics of the Middle East and reflect Turkey’s stepping back from contesting Israel’s posturing in the region,” it says.

“Turkey, after following the Saudi lead against Iran and trying to soften its relationship with Israel, the most anti-Iran power center in the region, is not only forfeiting its claims for regional power status but also taking part in the anti-Iran regional coalition in a way that has never been done before.”

For Ankara, the outlet explains, all these latest moves are no doubt the natural consequences of its ever-weakening position in Syria in the wake of the crisis with Russia after the downing of a Russian fighter jet on November 24.

“Moreover, a broader coalition connecting Turkey to Saudi Arabia and also with Israel is thought to have a favorable impact on Washington, its most powerful ally and one with which it has had uneasy relations over Syria.”

And yet one more example is “the breaching of Turkey’s most outspoken “red line” in Syria: the Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD) crossing the Euphrates.”

“With US support and coordination, the Syrian Kurdish armed forces, the People's Protection Units, are fighting the Islamic State (Daesh/ISIL/ISIS) — and if it moves to the west of the Euphrates, in the Azaz-Jarablus corridor as well. This area is mainly controlled by Syrian groups that Turkey supports and constitutes the main link between Turkey and besieged Aleppo that would end up in linking Rojava (the Syrian Kurdish areas) as a single geographic entity under PYD rule from the Iraqi border all the way to the west, covering hundreds of miles of Turkey's border with Syria.”

The Turkish military has shared its concerns with the US military leader Gen. Joseph Dunford — the new chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff — over Syrian Kurdish groups’ attempts to create a “Kurdish corridor” in northern Syria and change the demographic structure of the region to the advantage of the Kurds during his visit to Ankara on January 6.

And while the solution to the existing concerns yet remains to be seen, the website predicts that |difficult times lie ahead for all those involved in the Syrian conflict and especially for Turkey and its internationally weakening strongman, Erdogan.”

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region, failure, coalition, policy, Iran, Middle East, Turkey, Saudi Arabia
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  • jas
    "Turkey, after following the Saudi lead against Iran and trying to soften its relationship with Israel, the most anti-Iran power center in the region, is not only forfeiting its claims for regional power status but also taking part in the anti-Iran regional coalition in a way that has never been done before.”
    --
    Israel has been allied with the US, Saudis and Turkey since before 2011, but at least that collusion is being mentioned in public. Gaddafi knew very well that the Saudi royal family was more of an ally of US/Israel than any Semitic state.
  • marcanhalt
    Yada, yada, yada, and blah, blah, blah. Turkey has got its proverbial snout full and is as dumb as the forementioned. It is up to its eyeballs in Syrai, Iraq, the southwestern Kurds, the southeastern Kurds, now the pretext of Iran, a whimpy attitude towards the real trouble makers, Israel, and a kiss and makeup with Qatar, some dangilings in the Caucaus, and a few loose boats in Russia's line of traffic, and they are the "military muscle" in the Middle East? Israel would not have to build any more settlement after the first 60 days of war with these ragheads, because they would be able to rent out the rooms of Recepttayyipyip's 1000 room palace. Come to think of it, the idea of Russia's sanctions regarding "NO TRAVEL" warnings to Turkey might be a good idea. With all the 'hired help' Turkey is going to need to stay the "military might" in the area, some might have to 'volunteer' to stay and fight alongside of these sand fleas.
  • FeEisi
    This 34-nation Sunni alliance seems biblical. It can't be good news for Israel in the long run beyond the Iran issue. It is something for Russia to consider when making weapon deals like supplying Iskander systems to the Saudis. Any confrontation will be the Sunni alliance supplying Jihadist in Crimea and southern Russia.
  • marcanhaltin reply toFeEisi(Show commentHide comment)
    FeEisi, Israel is making its own bed to die in
  • karlof1
    The entire neocon plan to destroy the middle east and leave it for Israel to clean up is dead, despite the last ditch attempts to salvage something from the morass. The region's map will be redrawn, but at the expense of Turkey and Israel as the Kurds finally get their own nation and Palestine replaces Israel. Change will then come to Arabia with the implosion of the Sauds as oil exports dwindle due to depletion.
  • Disintegration of Turkey would be the best thing that could possibly happen in 2016 :)
  • hans.schultz
    A head of the hydra has been cut off.
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