Turkey still dreams of Ottoman Empire

Friday 28/08/2015
Nostalgia. Ottoman military band of Mehter, with a drawing of “The Conqueror”, Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II, in the background, performs in Istanbul, last May.

When Ankara decided to join the interna­tional coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) and allow US warplanes to fly combat missions from one of its airbases, there were doubts regarding Turkey’s definitive position on fighting the terror group.

Several countries have accused Turkey of supporting terrorism, claiming that it offers safe pas­sage for militants trying to join the fighting in Iraq and Syria.

They are not wrong. Ankara is definitely supporting these al­legations by not giving any logical explanation as to why it is finding it so difficult to control its borders.

With all the support that Ankara is pretending to show, the White House is both frustrated and puz­zled about the Turks’ reluctance to properly police their borders. It appears to some as though they are ignoring calls from the United States to do more about the situ­ation.

On August 20th, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter said quite clearly that Ankara needs to step up its efforts to control its long borders with Iraq and Syria.

Obviously, there are many reasons behind Turkey’s decision to join the coalition. The foremost being to serve its hidden agenda, which is not so hidden anymore.

Turkish warplanes did not only target ISIS strongholds; the main focus was attacking positions of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which the United States did not object to. Washington consid­ers the PKK a terrorist group.

Turkey’s long-term goal goes as follows: Remove Bashar Assad from Syria and have him replaced with an Islamist government that will be pro-Sunni and allied to the Turks.

If all goes as planned, ISIS will be the perfect government.

It will make Syria the perfect ally; it will help in the fight against the PKK and the Syrian Kurds. All of this will definitely ease Turk­ish fears, especially since it will never be able to take control of the Iraqi Kurds, who have their own government and region.

When Turkey failed to become a member of the European Union, the goal was shifted to asserting its power in the Middle East. With all of the political changes happen­ing, Ankara is strongly attempting to form a new pro-Sunni nation — one that will vigorously fight the Shia influence of Iran and the growing power of Shia political parties in Iraq. Iraq and Iran defi­nitely pose a threat to Ankara.

Who is more worthy of leading the Sunni world in stopping the Shia expansion in the region than Ankara?

Turkey looks at Iran as an uncontained threat since Tehran has reached a nuclear weapons agreement with the United States and is beginning to gradually make its comeback in the international community.

Turkey will continue to secretly support Sunni islamists move­ments across the region in hopes of achieving the ultimate dream: to build a modern Ottoman Empire and restore its glory days.

Ankara knows quite well that the best way to gain Arab sup­port is to stand against Israel and support Hamas and other Palestin­ian groups in the name of justice (which has been working quite swimmingly so far.)

It’s time for US diplomacy to put stronger efforts into dealing with Ankara. The world does not need a second Ottoman Empire.