Western Support For Turkey Weakens
Back in August 2015, I first started looking at Turkey as a potential geopolitical hotspot in Geopolitical Forecasting Through Technical Analysis: Is Turkey About to Destabilize the Middle East?
In the next year, there was a failed military coup (or a false flag designed to consolidate power?). Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election in the United States, threatening to revamp the NATO alliance and improve relations with Russia. These changes appear less likely three months into his presidency, but as long as they remain a possibility, Turkey is among the nations likely to suffer the most.
Turkey hasn’t helped itself either. In 2017, relations with the West further deteriorated after Turkish President Erdogan’s ministers were denied permission to campaign in Europe. He had previously used migrant flows as a stick against Europe, and this escalated when he threatened widespread Islamic Jihad against Europeans:
“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can walk safely on the streets,” Mr Erdogan told journalists in Ankara.
This weekend, he won wider powers in a referendum vote that was criticized by the Western establishment even before claims of voting irregularities:
What’s in the new constitution?
The president will have a five-year tenure, for a maximum of two terms
The president will be able to directly appoint top public officials, including ministers and one or several vice-presidents
The job of prime minister will be scrapped
The president will have power to intervene in the judiciary, which Mr Erdogan has accused of being influenced by Fethullah Gulen, the Pennsylvania-based preacher he blames for the failed coup in July
The president will decide whether or not impose a state of emergency
Mr Erdogan says the changes are needed to address Turkey’s security challenges after last July’s attempted coup, and to avoid the fragile coalition governments of the past.
The new system, he argues, will resemble those in France and the US and will bring calm in a time of turmoil marked by a Kurdish insurgency, Islamist militancy and conflict in neighbouring Syria, which has led to a huge refugee influx.
Critics of the changes fear the move will make the president’s position too powerful, arguing that it amounts to one-man rule, without the checks and balances of other presidential systems such as those in France and the US.
The Russians see an opening: Is America’s Alliance with Turkey Doomed?
The sixty-year period between the Crimean War of 1853–56 and the July Crisis of 1914 resembles the era that opened with the admission of Turkey into NATO in 1952 and appears to be ending today. As the Anglo-Ottoman case warns, alliances formed in response to an external threat between powers that view each other as cultural “others” may deteriorate after the threat diminishes. Suffering from such alliance fatigue, erstwhile partners become clashing rivals.
…American dislike of Erdogan’s behavior is reminiscent of the British abhorrence of Abdülhamid II, who defended the rights of Muslims as their spiritual leader. These developments have relegated Turkey from a praiseworthy defender of Western civilization and democracy to an “other” representing Islam and autocracy. Conversely, according to Turkish public perception, the United States has become a wolf in sheep’s clothing: a superpower silently plotting to partition Turkey.
…The lesson for the United States is clear: unless Turkey feels desperate, it will not ally with non-Western powers, including Russia. Some Turkish politicians are today feeling desperate and have favored rapprochement with Russia, Iran and China. Erdo?an, in 2013, publicly expressed interest in transitioning from a Dialogue Partner of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization to a full member. But even if Turkey changes sides, it will not last long unless its traditional allies abandon it permanently, which would be extremely unlikely.
The U.S.-Turkey alliance, originally forged because of a common external threat, has become exceedingly fragile since the fall of the Soviet Union. Both states criticize each other rather than sweep aside their differences. More troublingly, they harbor mutual mistrust, which colors their perceptions of each other. While it is difficult to predict the future of the U.S.-Turkey alliance, it has clearly suffered from severe alliance fatigue and needs extensive restoration. Resuscitating the relationship will demand investment and concessions from both parties.
There is a lot of history in the long piece. The main reason for the break with the West is the post-Cold War shift to a clash of civilizations. Turkey is becoming more Islamic and Erdogan will accelerate the end of Turkish secularism. At the same time, rising European leaders are shifting their view on Islamic immigration and relations with Turkey. It isn’t hard to imagine a chain of events that could eventually lead to mass repatriation of Turks from Germany. It isn’t very probable, but a path that did not exist before is now visible. Meanwhile, the latest power grab also has the Western establishment souring on Erdogan: TURKEY’S VOTE MAKES ERDOĞAN EFFECTIVELY A DICTATOR
The chart on Turkey remains the same, a massive head-and-shoulders pattern. While everyone is focused on politics, few are talking about Erdogan’s horrible economic policies. Although political volatility is rising, if TUR collapses, it will most likely be the result of a debt and currency crisis. That will then provide the fuel for a potential breakdown in relations with the West.