Since the withdrawal of the Americans from Afghanistan, it has become clear that everyone is holding their breath. This is exactly what Recep Tayyip Erdogan is doing these days. Ten years have passed since his war against Syria; however, he has so far failed to achieve any fulfillment towards his 2023 dreams. In fact, Erdogan is in the worst position ever. His dream of becoming the new Ottoman Caliph began to fade.
If one wants to understand what is going on in his head, it is crucial to follow the pipelines: he took an active part in the war against Syria because Syrian President Bashar al-Assad refused to betray his Russian and Iranian friends in allowing the Qatari gas pipelines to cross Syria and then Turkey to reach Europe. Such a move would have given Turkey more power, opened a wide door for it to enter the gas trading industry, and became the firm hold of the Americans around the necks of Iran and Russia.
He saw the opportunity draw near as war on Syria was announced. He imagined himself as the main player with the two strongest powers in the world: the United States and Europe. Therefore, his chance to realize the Turkish-American plan of the 1940s to occupy northern Syria, mainly Aleppo and Idlib, where he could continue to al-Mussel in Iraq, during the chaos of the futile war against ISIS seemed to be accessible. By achieving his goal, Erdogan will be able to open a corridor for Qatari gas pipelines and fulfill the dream of reclaiming the legacy of the former Turkish oil company, seized to exist after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in 1925.
Therefore, Erdogan announced his willingness to establish a 15 km deep buffer zone along the Syrian borders and inside Syrian territory. It is in fact a declaration of occupation, which will certainly allow it to reach the Syrian oil and gas fields. He even tried to offer the Russians a compromise that he would like to share with them on the management of these fields after the announcement by Donald Trump of the withdrawal of American troops from Syria in 2018.
It was clear since the year 2019, after attacking the Kurds in east-north Syria, that he had lost American and European support in the region. Especially after signing the Russian S400 missile agreement against the will of the Americans. Then he supported Azerbaijan against Armenia, threatening both Iranian and Russian security.
The situation was pushed back with Iran when he recited a poem on December 11, 2020, which could have provoked the feelings of the Azeris and prompted them to separate from Iran. On February 28, 2021, he even accused Iran of hosting the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, which Turkey considers a terrorist organization.
Now the situation is getting worse again. A few days ago, the Iranian army ground force launched the “Fatih Khyber” maneuvers in the north-west of the country near the border with Azerbaijan, with the participation of several armored brigades, from the 11th Group of artillery, the drone group and the 433rd Military Engineer Group, with the help of airborne helicopters. A major maneuver which indicates that there is an escalation between Iran and Azerbaijan, which is taking place under the auspices of Turkey. The escalation is an attempt to threaten Iran’s security from the north.
When Dr Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Iranian nuclear scientist, was assassinated late last year, the American newspaper The New York Times described the act as “the Mossad’s most brilliant work”. At that time, numerous resources revealed that the executors of the operation passed to Iran via Azerbaijan and settled in Turkey for a while before moving. And now Iran has great concerns because of the Azerbaijani hostess of active Israeli and American intelligence personnel.
As Iran now moves to another stage of nuclear talks with the G5 + 1, it is an opportunity for US and Turkish interests to meet again, as Erdogan strives for a victory in the region and that the Americans are trying to create unrest to distract him. We know what Americans want, but what matters here is what Erdogan wants.
Erdogan wants to become a bigger player in the Azeri oil industry. He wants to push Iran to help him give him more space on Syrian lands. He wants to have a chance to save face and get some sort of victory in his “war on Syria”. It is his wars that he is waging in Libya, Sudan, the Mediterranean, and now in Afghanistan and Azerbaijan. Erdogan was preparing to become the first of the new coming reins of the new Ottoman Sultanate in 2023.
2023 is the date of two important occasions; the first is the Turkish presidential elections. And the second is the end of the Lausanne 1923 Treaty. Erdogan had high hopes that he would be able to accomplish much before the date set. By involving Turkey in all the troubles in the Arab country since the beginning of the âArab Springâ. He has an agenda in each of them, from Syria to Libya to the Mediterranean Sea, where he seeks to preserve Turkish right to expansion.
Erdogan believed in building dual alliances between Russia and Iran on one side and the United States through Turkey’s presence in NATO on the other, he can manipulate anyone to achieve his goal in Syria and secure the buffer zone. He launched a policy of Turkification in northern Syria, which goes against international law in the occupied regions and countries. Plus, since he’s always maneuvering politically to achieve that goal, he’s more like a bull chasing a red carpet. He stabs everyone, even his allies in Nosra.
Erdogan, the paranoid, used every possible method to rally aggregations against local governments and authorities in each country as he built his alliances. In Syria, he played on sectarian differences to rally the Sunnis and, in particular, on Muslim Brotherhood groups to forge alliances against the current Syrian government. He imported terrorists from al-Nusra, armed them and ideologically manipulated terrorists from Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Chinese Xinjiang, to fight in Syria in the name of Islam against the Alawite “regime” . He presents himself as the protector of the Sunnis. To justify the bombardment of the Kurds, he played on nationalist sentiments.
In Libya, he played on the empowerment of the Muslim Brotherhood against other atheist groups, as he assesses them. He authorized the al-Wifaq government and the Americans to pave the way for the division of Libya, where the international dirty game has nearly torn the country apart using terrorist groups supported financially by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Turkey, i.e. Qatar.
In Lebanon, he presented himself as the protector of Sunni injustice. The Turkish secret service paid around four million dollars to reunite the Sunnis in Said and Tripoli. The same was happening with Hamas in Palestine in the name of the freedom of the Palestinians and their struggle against Israel. In Arab countries, Erdogan worked hard to be named the new Muslim leader and was very careful not to be seen as a Turk but as a Muslim. And now the same game is taking place in Azerbaijan.
Erdogan’s interference in Azerbaijan falls outside the Turkish role expected by the Americans. A few days ago, a congressman praised Turkey’s important role in NATO. It is not a language of reconciliation; it’s a play language on Erdogan’s ego. Therefore, it is only fair to question the role of Turkey in Azerbaijan, especially the relationship between the two mentioned countries and Israel.
Iran has treated the two countries with tolerance, as neighboring countries, in particular Turkey, which is playing in this case on the nationalist feelings of the Azeris in Iran to sow trouble, in the slightest expression. It is clear that if the situation worsens with Azerbaijan, Iran would cross landmines. Therefore, he must conduct his diplomatic negotiations cautiously. Iran, on the other hand, knows this, but it must recognize that as long as Turkey occupies a meter in northern Syria, the region will never experience peace and security. The first step in getting the Americans out of Iraq and Syria will be to cut off Erdogan’s feet in Syria once and for all.
By leading his quest for victory, Erdogan displaced the terrorist in the region. Now he is filling Azerbaijan with these mercenary terrorists from the Arab region and Central Asia, just like the Ottomans when they dragged the forcibly recruited soldiers from their villages and homes all over the Arab countries to lead their war in the Baltic region. A dream that must put an end to it. The Syrians believe it ends with the end of the Turkish occupation in Idlib. However, it is important that their friends believe this too.
* The Safar Barlek was the mobilization carried out by the end of the Ottoman Empire during the Second Balkan War of 1913 and the First World War of 1914 to 1918, which involved the forced conscription of Lebanese, Palestinian, Syrian and Kurdish men to fight in his name.
From our partner Tehran Times