17 October 2012, 12:56

Turkey playing neck or nothing in Middle East

Turkey playing neck or nothing in Middle East
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Gennady Yevstafiev, retired Lieutenant General of the Russian Foreign Intelligence Service, believes Turkey is now playing a dangerous game of helping the NATO plan in the Middle East to win favour with the US and EU

The approach which was created by the West, and especially by the US, is seriously affecting the mentality of the Turkish leadership. And I have my view of this approach. There is no doubt that Turkey is having tremendous historical grievances against Russia. Russia has every right to have this kind of grievances against Turkey. But Turkey, after the collapse of the Soviet Union decided that now it is its chance to regain regional power. And in Turkey it appears to be a sort of compensation for very serious foreign affairs failures which pursued the Turkish policy in the 20th century.

What is it? It was first connected with very serious attempts of Turkey to join NATO. Western countries didn’t like the idea of Turkey being a member of NATO. On the other hand after the WW II the Western armies were very decimated and there were no gunpowder for all kind of imperialistic expeditions. Exactly at this moment, at the beginning of 1950s the Korean War came. And the Korean War was covered by the blue flag of the UN due to the Russian mistake and so on. But Turkey and the Turkish leadership decided that if they play a very constructive role for the attempts of the Western capitalism, and especially the US, to throw back the communism and they would help the Americans in the Korean War, and the Korean War required a tremendous amount of soldiers, everybody was voting in Europe but nobody really wanted to send soldiers except for the Americans themselves.

And Turkey put in a condition that if Turkey seriously supports the Western efforts in the Korean War it should be compensated by the membership in the NATO which has been already created. With the a tremendous difficulty but Americans managed to convince the allies in the NATO that this is the way out which was very important for the future because the Turkish army is very big, though poorly trained but very disciplined. In the long run, through the deaths of thousands of Turkish soldiers in Korea after the war Turkey was accepted as a member of the NATO alliance.

Turkey thought that it would automatically lead to a membership in the EU. But this didn’t happen and it hasn’t happened up to now, and there is no chance of Turkey joining the EU. Though in the minds of some Turkish politicians there must be something extremely important which would clearly show the key, vital role of Turkey for the West in the area of Middle East and Mediterranean which could be proven, which could bring the membership of Turkey in the EU – Americans are very eager to have Turkey in the EU. It would be their instrument inside the economic and political organization which is not totally controlled by the US.

So, I’m afraid that in the minds of new and rather inexperienced and pro-Islamic leadership of the present Turkey, and especially this Islamic party of Tayyip Erdogan, there is a funny idea that if Turkey seriously participates in the American plan, and it is considered to be a huge plan, to restructure and reshuffle the bigger Middle East and Americans would make it obvious and Europeans would understand, and Turkey would be rewarded by the membership in the European economic union, European alliance. And after seeing how Turkey could cooperate with the European alliance, alliance would allow Turkey to play a major role of a regional power in the Middle East at the expense of other countries, and especially the Russian Federation which is considered to be no match to the Soviet Union and now you can really bite it piece by piece from its former grandeur.

I think this game which I believe is only a part of the argument, but I think this game, which is a dangerous game, which is played by Turkey now is very dangerous in two ways. First of all, this is dangerous for Turkey itself because nobody is going to care about Turkey in spite of all its contributions to the grand American design. But Turkey would never return the possessions of Iraq, would never return the possessions of Jordan and other areas which belong to it and Turkey would never be the country which will be given the truly regional status. And secondly, nobody would allow Turkey. In this way, if they want to be a regional power, sooner or later they’d have to destroy Saudi Arabia and these kingdoms of the Gulf and of course Iran. This would never happen.

But the game is there. The vision of these people, dreams of these people are there. And I think they don’t even understand to what extent they are making a tragic mistake for Turkey. Instead of making peace for such countries like Syria, I’m not speaking about Syria very much, but making peace and longstanding understanding of mutual political and economic cooperation with the Russian Federation, they are now trying to play a game. They think they are clever, they think they would out maneuver everybody. They are playing the game in the Middle Asia, in the Central Asia and elsewhere thinking that they are capable of maintaining and picking up strength, and hoping that Americans are sincere in their support of Turkey. This is absolutely wrong.

Do you think that perhaps the Turkish Government might find the necessary gut to enter into the negotiations with the Syrian Government? Because it looks like the position of Turkey and the policies of Turkey make it hostage.

It is true. You know, as of now I don’t have hopes that Turkey can stop. Much would depend on the possible visit of Mr. Putin to Turkey with the state visit, but they are doing everything to spoil the environment of this visit. But the problem is – the Tayyip Erdogan, not speaking only about political or religious and other things, he is keen on being the grand politician of this world and he doesn’t understand that the grand politician would be only that man who would play peace, who would make deals with neighbours, who would keep the interests of the neighbours in the minds of his policy makers and who is not trying to play the games of other countries.

At the moment Turkey looks like it is wedding. And that is what Turkey is doing and they think that they are doing it in their own interests. But they can open the box of Pandora because every possible expert would predict that if you one day happen to split Syria in pieces as they are thinking about and put in Damascus some strange regime – the internal situation in Turkey would seriously deteriorate and we could see in the future, not in a distant future, a very different Turkey on the map of the world.

What kind of Turkey?

Pure Turkey, without the people, they call them mountain Turks. You know that they call Kurd people mountain Turks. They are trying to convince everybody that there are no Kurds. But we would see a major Kurdish power on the surface of different Turkish areas.

So, finally, it looks like Syria has been playing the Kurd card and it has been succeeding in that.

Maybe. I don’t have concrete facts about that. But that would be logical to expect from Syria to play this card.

Which means that Syria might even sacrifice its own Kurdish regions.


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