From ‘Greater-Turkey’ To ‘Blue-Homeland’


The real ‘Turkish-Delight’ was into its consonance as Turkey President Tayyip Erdogan, on August 21, 2020 announced the discovery of large reserves of oil/gas and hydrocarbons in Mediterranean sea 1 and with it obviously the objective of ‘blue-homeland’ of Turley has started to be counted inside Turkish populace as it has started to hit everyone’s imagination that Turkey is soon to exercise its control and sway over Mediterranean sea, Aegean Sea and the Black sea 2 , much to the heart-boil of Greece and European Union along with US and Israel. All these nations have thrown the weight for Greece with France having announced to give 8 Rafale fighter jets to Greece for free! 3. Greece and Turkey have been lately locked in a conflict.

The Turkey’s ruling AK Party former law maker and Erdogan close friend Metin Kulunk, on August 29, 2020, took to his twitter account to announce a map of Greater-Turkey that goes back to the era of Seljuk empire 4 when it defeated the Byzantine empire in the year 1071. The Turkish people consider the chapter as a synonym of independence and victory which Turkey right now is all abounded with- particularly, after the failed coup attempt against Erdogan. The map ‘includes vast territories spanning from northern Greece to the east Aegean islands, half of Bulgaria, Cyprus, most of Armenia and large swaths of Georgia, Iraq and Syria’, informs The Gulf News 4

The move clearly shows Turkey to be in an aggressive mode and the world is looking into it with utmost keenness, as it is getting considered that Turkey is now moving towards the ‘revival’ of the Ottoman caliphate or the Ottoman empire which came to an end a century back . The Modern Diplomacy carries an article on September 2, 2020, by the headline ‘Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanism is knocking at the Door’ and highlights the politics involved in this policy-shift of Turkey.  ‘It refers to the aims of Turkey’s of reclaiming the territories that were held by the ottomans before its collapse. Turkey is all eyes on the revival of the greater Turkey.  It is obvious that in the contemporary world and the international law no state can acquire and annex lands that are declared states but Turkey aims to have economic influence on the territories that were part of the greater Turkey. According to some scholars, Turkey has built its largest military base in Suakin Islands (Sudan)  and these islands are strategically important for the Middle East. As it serves as crossroads between the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia and East Africa. Also these islands are Sudan’s largest ports for trade with the world; Turkey’s increased presence in the Horn of Africa is making Egypt and Saudi Arabia uncomfortable. It seems like Turkey is focused on establishing its foothold on the energy corridors such as Suakin Islands,  it has increased its number of troops in the Northern Cyprus by around 30,000. It also has made maritime territorial claims off the coast of Cyprus over new gas discoveries. In addition, Turkey has also increased its presence in the Central Asia by establishing economic ties with the nation. The depth of relations is evident from the making of TAKM (Turkic military force). It is perceived as the Turk version of NATO. This force includes the states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia’ 5. Ironically, it is Turkey which was first to announce to snap ties with UAE after the formalisation of UAE-Israel relations on August 14, 2020 6 .  The Gulf-states are today all hand-in-hand against Turkey and are likely to formalise relations with Israel expectedly very soon. The state of Israel was paved out of Palestine which was a part of Ottoman empire.  The ironic part is that the new map released is of Greater-Turkey and not of the erstwhile Ottoman empire. Erdogan has recently changed Hagia Sophia and likened it with the liberation of Al Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem 7.

It may be known that Cyprus is where Turkey and Greece are locked-up in a tussle. Some part of it also with British. I had written an elaborative article on the same on September 2, 2020 in Countercurrents. The importance of this small island is that it lies in-between Turkey and Israel and Israel desperately wants Cyprus and its waters to go into Greece kitty, as then European Union would come to the rescue of Cyprus as Israel fears that Turkey might use its influence in Cyprus against Jerusalem (Israel). Turkey, however, is the closest to Cyprus in comparison to distances between Cyprus to Israel and Greece. Greece is being supported by Israel, France, Egypt, US and UAE.

Turkey, has also started to groom for its support and this is what had led to a virtual-panic inside Greece group, as Turkey has called for Russia and in its wake has ‘ has issued navigational telex (or Navtex) alerts in the eastern Mediterranean where the Russian navy will conduct military drills. The announcement advises sailors not to enter the drilling zone and in areas where ships are conducting research, according to naval alerts, Russian forces will conduct two separate shooting exercises on both sides of Cyprus island. The two-phased Russia’s shooting exercise in the eastern Mediterranean will take place from September 8-22 and the other from September 17-25. It also serves as a warning to other vessels to steer clear of an area due to the sensitivity of the work being carried out and a signal of a country’s sovereign exploration rights’, informed trtworld on September 3, 2020 8. The interesting part of the news is that Russia would be ‘rounding-up’ from both the sides of Cyprus, which means, Greece has been subdued by the Russians and Turkey to the hilt, apart from throwing a challenge to EU and a fresh headache to Israel. It may be added here that Turkey is in support with Russia and Russia is also supportive of Iran and also in Libya, which obviously, has led to considerable unhappiness in the Arab-states, Israel, and US alike.

The voices from inside Greece are on the expected lines, as an English newspaper Ekathimerini on September 3, 2020, has carried the headline ‘Turkey; Russia to hold live-fire exercises in Mediterranean’ , the newspaper informs that the Turkish response had come after US had decided to support Cyprus on September 2, 2020 by lifting partial arms embargo  9 . ‘It’s unclear why NATO-member Turkey would announce such drills on Moscow’s behalf, but the two countries have in recent years significantly strengthened their military, political and economic ties. They are coordinating closely on their military presence in Syria, while Turkey has purchased Russia’s advanced S-400 missiles and has broken ground on a Russian-built nuclear power plant on its southern coast. Turkey has reacted angrily to the US move that it said went against the “spirit of alliance” between Washington and Ankara. It also warned that it would harm efforts to reunify Cyprus, which is split between Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot communities’ 10 .  Turkey has also been critical of the role of France calling it as a ‘guarding-angel’

Turkey was once sniggered as a  ‘sick man of Europe’ and always tried to be a part of EU but was scuttled for it, and today the same Turkey is throwing a challenge to EU and in its wake has aligned with Russia which is a nuclear-state and a powerful country in the face of EU and US as well. The presence of Russia and Turkey together with Iran in the region is now to be a game-for-the-future, which would matter the most for EU and for Israel too. All countries around the Mediterranean region are keeping a watchful eye on each other. Meanwhile, some three Turkish journalists have been subjected to ‘blackmail’ by Greece and thus things are turning to be ‘lowly-low’ as now even individuals have started to being targeted 11 .

Turkey thus, is now on a march, which is strewn with thorns, confronted by foes and frenemies ( Gulf-states) and will need, perhaps, Erdogan to be president for at least 12 years more or for life on the lines of Chinese president Xi Jinping 12  or Russian president Vladimir Putin 13  to achieve the notions of its Ottoman empire.

Meanwhile, let’s see how the situation in Mediterranean unfolds in immediate future.

The writer is a former UP State Information Commissioner. He writes on international politics.


















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