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Irina Alksnis: the Reality is once again turned against Erdogan
Material posted: Publication date: 10-08-2016
The Turkish President was in a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, he has enormous support of the people. On the other hand, to save power and life Erdogan must abandon the old geopolitical ambitions.

The metamorphosis of Russian-Turkish relations yesterday and Erdogan's visit to St. Petersburg once again provide an occasion to remember all of the many aphorisms and witticisms that heaven patronize Russia and controlled it directly with the Lord.

Less than a year ago, our country literally on the verge of full-scale war, a couple of months ago the freezing of relations between us was of such a deep nature that was more like an ice age.

And here just a few weeks, things have changed dramatically, and Russia has improved its position in relations with Turkey than with even the most "Golden" times in the past.

Now I have a reason to turn around and try to understand how and why the situation came to this point.

It all started almost a century ago, when Mustafa Kemal Ataturk created modern Turkey as we know it and which now remains very little time. Kemalist Turkey has refused from the Ottoman Imperial and the basis of the state put Turkish nationalism. Turkey of Ataturk was (here all the more appropriate verb in the past tense) a secular, modern and westernized.

The embodiment of the ideals of Kemal and the guarantor of the continuation of his way of government was the army. She regularly staged coups when there were threats to Kemalism in the country.

Pro-Western Turkey is naturally led to her choice of allies and partners from NATO membership to the thrust of the aspirations to join the European Union. And this, in turn, has led to the fact that the upper layers of the Turkish society and the major social institutions (education, army, civil service) largely consist (consisted) of the supporters of the Western path for Turkey.

However, for 2000 years the picture has ceased to be so blessed. Yes, prosperous, educated urban residents are largely supported by the path laid by atatürk. However, the louder was heard the voice of other segments of the population – the poor, religious and less educated villagers and depressed provinces.

The name of these people was to speak to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who came to power in 2003.

The Turkish President (then Prime Minister), in fact, embodied the opposite of Ataturk – Islamist (albeit moderate), obsessed with his neo-Ottoman vision of Imperial ambitions. All this is great mixed with authoritarianism, adventurism and the tendency to sharp, not always deliberate movements.

During his rule, Erdogan has achieved a lot in domestic politics. Turkey it experienced an unprecedented socio-economic takeoff. Huge masses of the poor countries began to live better, and their support provided to the Turkish leader reliable support in foreign policy, which are quite suitable epithets "risky" and "adventurous".

Erdogan was obsessed with ideas of revival of the Imperial greatness of his country in his neo-Ottoman vision. Under his leadership Turkey has most actively promoted their own interests all the neighbors, using all possible methods – from the humanitarian respectability (Turkish school) to downright questionable (the support of the Russian North Caucasus militants and oil trading with ISIS*).

It is not surprising that the national leader intending to revive the former Imperial grandeur of power and began to actively (and often clumsy) to act to achieve this goal, there was a large number of enemies and detractors.

In fact, Erdogan has managed to spoil relations with almost all geopolitacal players in the region, including the United States, which obviously did not like that Turkey is trying to get off the familiar role of their ally and is its own game, mixing sometimes Americans card.

In addition, States were in the hands of the most powerful tool to influence the internal situation in Turkey – in addition to the traditional Pro-Western a substantial part of Turkish society. We are talking about the most influential Islamic preacher Fethullah Gulane, which for more than a decade and a half is the main opponent of Erdogan.

Gulen all this time living in the USA. However, his followers and supporters penetrate all major public institutions of Turkey, including the education system and the bureaucracy, and, most importantly, it is quite an organized force.

A few years ago, the two sides exchanged blows, but the round was for Erdogan. The country was organized attempt of "color revolution". The Turkish leader it was successfully suppressed, and at the same time did a little cleaning of the Turkish generals, mindful of a large-scale tradition of military coups in the country and trying to protect themselves.

However, it is not decided for Erdogan's growing internal problems. Turkey, is extremely active on the international arena, began openly to crack from the inside. Main line splits are well known: the secular-Kemalist section of society, increasingly illiteracy part and the Kurds, whose Iraqi and Syrian relatives are in a step from creation of a Kurdish state. The latter brings serious bomb under the entire Turkish state.

But Erdogan kept on walking to the goal.

This main objective was Syria, specifically the overthrow of Bashar al-Assad and the transfer of part of Syrian territory under Turkish control. Probably the Turkish President hoped that, having achieved his, he will get a new level of freedom of geopolitical maneuver and decide accumulating domestic problems. And exactly a year ago, it seemed that to achieve this goal, he left quite a bit of hand. Damascus these days a year ago, hung in the balance.

And then, literally in one moment, everything collapsed. It happened on 30 September 2015, when Russia launched a military operation in Syria.

In recent weeks, a host of theories from the incident with the downed Russian bomber without the participation and consent of the President. The truth have to look to future historians, but the circumstances of the incident personally, I did not leave the slightest doubt that Erdogan has been fully aware of the situation.

Perhaps they successfully manipulated, but it is in any form is not an excuse, especially for the statesman at this level. He knew, and, very probably, personally made the decision to shoot down Russian "drying".

What benefit he hoped to learn from this, only he knows, but the reality is once again turned against Erdogan.

Russia declared war on Turkey, which clearly was hoping for some circles in the West, but turn on the deep-frozen relations.

In the result, the Turkish President added another headache to the long list of problems:

  • the wave of terrorist attacks in the country, as Islamists and Kurds;
  • news about the operations against the Kurds are more similar to reports of fighting;
  • agreement with Europe on refugees ended zilch, Turkey has not even received a cent of the promised three billion euros, not to mention other things;
  • while Erdogan and members of his family in the European media fell hard information attacks over the past months he became the West almost shake hands;
  • well, were dealt a serious blow to the economy because of the break with Russia and the fall of the tourist industry.

So the July coup attempt was just the icing on the cake in a long black strip of Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The result is now the Turkish President was in a paradoxical situation. On the one hand, he has enormous support of the masses and he was given people carte Blanche in domestic and foreign policy.

And on the other to preserve their power and, even more important, your life and the lives of his family, Erdogan must abandon their old geopolitical ambitions and destroy Turkey as a powerful regional power.

And that's what he's doing right now.

Repression and purges swept in Turkey tens of thousands of people, and according to the information received, they are all Eastern sophistication and brutality. And ahead of the country, apparently, waiting for a mass execution.

Erdogan to rescue himself and his family must destroy the most advanced stratum of the Turkish society is secular, educated, westernized professionals. And he does it. Right now he is destroying the army, which a month ago was the most powerful in the region. It destroys the education system, which was the main instrument of Turkish soft power.

It is easy to destroy. To create a new hard. At Turkey as an influential regional power, we can already put a cross in the foreseeable future it will deal with its internal problems.

And not for nothing two days ago Iran's President Hassan Rouhani released a very sarcastic spin on the desire of Russia and Iran to help Erdogan "to create good conditions in the country and solving problems, so he could make the right decision".

It was unthinkable a month ago, since then, Turkey and Iran were direct competitors in the region, and their struggle was equal. And now the Persians ostentatiously point to the Turks their place as Junior partner.

This explains why the Kremlin has saved Erdogan, warned about the coup, and seems to have had and even some more substantial help. This unofficial information is more and more evidence.

The Russian special services and the General staff of good analysts.

Russia will no longer need to believe Erdogan or rely on his integrity. As a result of the totality of the circumstances, Russia now has the tools to keep the Turkish President in a very tight grip.

In the end, despite the efforts of the Turkish President, no one can guarantee that Turkey will not be another attempt of a coup, and that it will not be successful.

And as shown by the night of 16 July, Erdogan is very difficult to find a country willing to grant him asylum. The result may be that his Board will be ready to accept only one airport – Rostov-on-don.

But for this here and now... it needs to behave. And, judging by yesterday's speeches in St. Petersburg, he understands.


Tags: Turkey

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