As the Islamic holy month of Ramadan comes to an end, Erdogan has received one of the best presents a would-be Ottoman sultan aspirant could, which is a series of political and social crises that give him the opportunity to “flex” his muscles in the region.
For the last five centuries, Turkey has been the major power in the Middle East. Iran is a major power too with major cultural influence, but their influence tends to stay within the boundaries of the Middle East and parts of Central-South Asia. Turkey’s influence is far more extensive and powerful, for at the height of the Ottoman Empire her influence penetrated all around the world, from southeast Asia into Eastern Europe and to the jungles of the African continent. Once the great protector of the Islamic religion, Turkey saw her empire disintegrate before her eyes until she was finally annihilated and with her also the Islamic Caliphate. Once established by Mohammed and protected by the Ottomans, Ataturk’s abolition of the caliphate marked the end of a seat that had persisted since the days of Mohammed.
But not even a century later, and Turkey is rising again. Erdogan has made very clear that he wants to revive the Ottoman Empire and all its glory, and he is setting himself up to be the historical figure who brought this about.
In order for the Ottoman Empire to rise again, Turkey must:
-Revive the presence of Islam in public life
-Eliminate any internal and most foreign opposition
-Establish herself as a major economic power in the world
-Possess one of the world’s top militaries
-Find an excuse to start taking territory through “acceptable” excuses
The first four items Turkey has been aggressively working at, especially over the last two decades. Islam is emerging again as a major religious practice and political force in Turkey as secularism declines, dying off with the Boomer Generation. Turkey has worked aggressively to eliminate any political dissent internally and externally. Using many excuses, such as Erdogan’s accusations that political rival Fethiullah Gulen started a “coup” that was proven to be a set up by Erdogan, he has put to death potential rivals and consolidated his power. He is even sending agents around the world to harass and beat up or murder those, particularly Turkish citizens, who criticize his rule.
Turkey is also an emerging economic power. Basing herself off of the “manufacture and export” model of Japan and Germany, Turkey is attempting to do the same and is doing it successfully. Just as FDR declared that all Americans should have a “chicken in every pot”, Erdogan recently that the ‘high rate of refrigerator ownership’ in Turkey shows economic prosperity and that he wants to make Turkey into a first-world nation in only a few years.
The Turkish military is the 8th most powerful military in the world and is the second largest in Europe after Russia (Russia stands at the second most powerful in the world). Following the military buildup of Turkey as a part of Operation Gladio, Turkey continues to build up her military capabilities and is even beginning to harass her Greek neighbor. She is also building up a massive railway network that, when completed, will allow her to extend Turkish economic and military influence into Central Asia and throughout the Far East.
The first four items Turkey has already accomplished and is continuing to accomplish. This is not saying that she is done- far from it. Turkey needs to continue growth in these four areas if she wants to realize her Ottoman dream.
This is why what Chancellor Kurz of Austria did with the mosque closures was a gift for Erdogan. Far from inciting any “division” with the Western world, it gives him the excuse of “radical terrorists” in Turkey for him to crack down on any dissident against the Turkish state, targeting his political enemies and consolidating more his power.
Remember, Turkey and the Germanic countries are FRIENDS. They have been friends since the time of the Reformation and continue to be friends so. Even when Turkey attacked Austria and Poland came to her defense, Austria drove the Turks back into the Balkans and then turned on Poland to rip her apart with the help of Germany and Russia in the three partitions of the 18th century. During this time, Austria continued to grow relations with Turkey so much that by the beginning of the first world war, Austria was also allied to Turkey with Germany. This alliance would be repeated again in the second world war.
There is no “animosity” between Turkey and Germany + her friends just like there is no animosity between Israel and Saudi Arabia or even most recently the feigned spat between President “We’re America B*tch” Trump with Canadian PM Trudeau. Turkey and Germany et al want people to think they are arguing because both are attempting to revive their old empires. Israel and Saudi Arabia want people to think they hate each other when it was and still is Israel that sells weapons and affordable prices to Saudi Arabia and Saudi Arabia then in turn helps Israel and the USA to commit terrorism for political reasons such as with Operation Cyclone. The USA is insulting Canada and the two placing tarriffs on each other because the USA is going into intentional isolationism in order that when the next global conflict erupts she can “present” herself as the great hero and in the process flush out the current dollar, replace it with a new dollar, and remain in control as the holder of the world’s currency.
In other words, the old historical relationships and the reasons for which those relationships developed and existed continue to persist because little has changed.
But returning to the issue of Turkey, what she needs now is an excuse to, not in an aggressive or fast way, begin to “flex” her muscles and assert herself in a world way. Her location as the crossroads between Europe and Asia works to her advantage, and the disorder of Syria and Iraq have given her the opportunity to establish a small but occupying presence in both in the northern regions without causing alarm.
But Turkey needs more that just involvement in Syria and Iraq. Turkey needs something that will give her greater leverage as a world power, economic benefits, and allow her to take on larger and more powerful enemies. One such enemy that Turkey wants to destroy is her nemesis of Saudi Arabia, for in her eyes, the Saudis have usurped the Turk’s role as the protector of Islam and as well are a mockery of the religion. To regain the past glory must mean the recapture of the Islamic sites of Mecca and Medina and the destruction of the House of Saud.
Iran and many of the Gulf Arab states have already contracted alliances with Iran and Turkey, who have allied with each other against the Saudis. Saudi Arabia has no allies other than Pakistan- she has the USA and her Israeli partner, but the relationship is based upon oil, and both the Americans and the Israelis have selfish motivations whose base interests can be separated from the Saudis if they choose. The Saudis need them more than they need the Saudis.
Now the Turks cannot just march into Saudi Arabia. To do so would cause a public outcry and result in her allies abandoning her, let alone she still needed to develop her military and economic capabilities more.
Enter into this picture Jordan.
Jordan, Israel’s neighbor, is ruled by the Hashemite family, who claims direct lineage from Mohammed and ruled Mecca for approximately seven centuries until 1925, shortly after the end of the Ottoman Empire, when the House of Saud overthrew and exiled them.
Jordan is a country with nothing for their economy in terms of production and little for viable services, and nothing for agriculture. The biggest benefit they offer and have been pushing is having Jordan serve as a transit hub for the flow of goods and services. The Turks have been pressing for increased economic involvement in Jordan.
The Jordanians have pushed back, most likely knowing Turkey’s intentions and backed away from their agreements. Incidentally, it is curious that seemingly not too long after their withdrawal, that Jordan began having protests regarding its economic situation.
Was Turkey involved in stirring up these protests? Perhaps. It was Erdogan who orchestrated the coup in Turkey in 2016, and he does have agents in other countries hunting down Turkish critics, including in the USA. If he is sending agents to the USA, why would he not send them to Jordan to do what the Americans have been doing in other nations for decades?
Saudi Arabia immediately stepped in to meet and give aid to Jordan on June 9, 2018. However, that same day, Erdogan called Jordan. The details of the conversation were not revealed, but three days later on June 12 Jordan accepted Saudi Arabia’ gift of 2.5 billion USD in “aid.”
Now, all of a sudden, the former head of Israel’s National Security Council, Dr. Shaul Shay, is saying that Israel needs to help Jordan let it threaten the “balance of power” in the Middle East:
A chaotic situation in Jordan—and even more so, a collapse of the Hashemite regime—could have serious ramifications on Israel’s security and on the geo-strategic balance of power in the Middle East. The State of Israel should therefore do everything in its power to help restore stability in Jordan.
Jordan is a country of little economic significance. It is a country of important political significance at the moment.
The Turks want to use the unrest from the crisis, which they may have stirred up, in order to assert themselves as a “peacemaker” or “stabilizer” in the region and with that assert their military presence.
The Saudis want to make peace in Jordan as fast as possible. It is unlikely they would stir up trouble there because they do not want to give Turkey any reason to intervene. Given that Turkey is waiting to consume Saudi Arabia, that the Saud family knows they will hang from a khazouk if they are dethroned, and that Saudi is already desperately trying to improve their situation in the eyes of the world for this reason, any price is worth paying out of pocket. Better a loss of money than a loss of their blood.
The Iranians frankly don’t care. They are allied to Turkey against Saudi, and they will watch the whole thing burn. Better to take the pressure off of them that Israel and Saudi Arabia keep putting against them and have it somewhere else.
The Israelis are concerned. Israel doesn’t care because of Jordan’s sake, but because of her survival. While she is technically a “loose” ally of Turkey and Saudi Arabia alike, the lands of modern Israel were once under Ottoman rule. While Israel is a strong country, she relies on the welfare of the USA for her survival. Israel will fight and will rely on the USA to keep Turkey off of her, but that is not per se guaranteed. Expect to see AIPAC and other Israeli lobbying groups step up for more US military help and cooperation with Israel, because they know that without the USA and without the use of nuclear weapons (which would in turn result in nuclear weapons being fired at Israel), Israel cannot stand up against the Turkish military, which is the largest and most powerful in the Middle East.
It is not unrealistic to say that millions of Israelis would die if the Turks invaded and the US did not intervene. The Israelis must be concerned for their safety and it is said that contingency plans are being worked on to help relocate their people to a “safe” location, However, for the time being, Israel is looking out, and understandably so, for her survival, be it supporting either the Turks or the Saudis, and will back either or both in the way that she believes best suits her advantage.
The US doesn’t care either way. She is guarding her embassy right now and like the Israelis, she is looking to make the best move to suit her interests. However, the USA has the most freedom, because in the worst case scenario she can simply pick up and leave (but she won’t for practical purposes because of her economic interests). She can do whatever she wants more or less.
There is no “good” side in this story. Saud or Turk, the choice is between bad and worse. What is going to happen is that the Middle East will continue to showcase the dysfunctional fighting between nations and escalate, as was planned decades ago, into another war that will once again attempt to re-assert or re-shape the world balances of power.
There is no “crusade” coming, and the only song that one will hear are the infernal bells of death as the good will suffer because of those in whose endless quest for more power will bring war upon the world.