September 30, 2018 | Lodhi’s Speech at UN
September 29, 2018 | China rebuts US allegations
| Russian missiles challenge
September 28, 2018 | Iran defies America
| Britain and the EU
To the chagrin of some major Arab nations, Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan stands defiant.
He has warships in the Persian Gulf and, his country’s flag flies on tank operating in the wider Middle East region.
Turkish troops are stationed from Qatar to Somalia, while Turkish war vessels patrol the Gulf of Aden.
Erdogan says his intentions are entirely upright but some Arabs see his moves as aspirations for a new Ottoman Empire.
Aybars Gorgul a research scholar at the Center for Public Policy and Democracy Studies (PODEM) in Istanbul thinks it more in the nature of availing economic opportunity.
Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt – known as the Arab Quartet – are still concerned, since when they imposed a blockade on Qatar, Ankara stationed a force of around 3,000 troops in defense of the country.
A little further afield, in Somalia, he deployed 200 Turkish soldiers in a new US$50 million camp to train Somali troops in their fight against the Al-Shabaab jihadists.
Erdogan was next heard to spell out that he saw today’s Turkish Republica as “a continuation of the Ottomans”.
“In Qatar,” Noha Aboueldehab, visiting fellow at Brookings Doha Center, said he thought Erdogan saw the situation more as availing economic opportunity.
Late last year, Qatar agreed to US$19 billion in investment in Turkey for 2018 after investing around US$18 billion in 2017.
Turkish commodities line supermarket shelves, in Doha while a number of construction contracts in Qatar have been awarded to Turkish companies.
Meanwhile Somalia, with Erdogan having provided the country with investment for basic infrastructure, announced Turkey as a ‘brother state’.
Turkey is already fighting in Syria, so there’s little likelihood of Erdogan sending more troops overseas, yet within the Arab Quartet states remain deeply suspicious.
The UAE’s Foreign Minister, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan, reminded Ottoman soldiers had looted Medina in World War 1. “These are Erdogan’s ancestors,” he tweeted.
Erdogan countered by saying that the UAE had been spoiled rotten by petro-dollars.
What remains a fact is that Turkey is a longstanding member of NATO and for that reason is not likely to cross marked red lines.
But, backed as he is by Russia and China, Erdogan will stand his ground in Syria and elsewhere to arguably emerge as Turkey’s next Atta Turk.