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Turkish Involvement in Middle East, Strategic Cost and Advantages


Turkey bonding with history or love with history is a natural phenomenon. Historically, Turkey was an empire and dominance is his ruling behavior. The WW1 fighting along with Germans and losing with them the Turkish involvement in the Middle East ended here. For reaching its current status, Turkey suffered many calamities. Back by back martial laws have a Grim on the economy but Europe wants that. Weak Turkey is heavily dependent on Europe. Turkey needs European Union geographically and strategically, but nowadays Turkish interests in the Middle East collide with Europe and European darling in the Middle East, which is fighting with Turkish darling. But first, we have to look at a statement of former Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davutoglu "in term of its sphere of influence, Turkey is a Middle Eastern, Balkans, Caucasian, Central Asian, Caspian, Mediterranean, Gulf, and Black Sea country all at the same time."

Geography weakness and strength for Turkey, depending on Turkey which geographical direction is more important for Turkey. As Turkey starts its strategic game in the Middle East, a vibration of worry grows. Main Arab countries never notice it because it is a punch on the Assad regime's face it is also fulfilling the strategic goals of the West. As turkey gradually moving towards political Islam, its strategic goals becoming more visible. Till Russia, Iran and Syria are on the verge of war with Turkey, the West has a strategic crush on Turkey. Turkey shut down a Su-24 strategic bomber of Russia's tense situation becoming to rise mercury. West and Arabs supported Turkey against opponents and the USA did not want any strategic space for Russia and Iran. The USA accepted many roles of Turkey in Syria from refugee crisis handling to support proxies. But its Russian technical support and Iranian manpower repulse the Assad's regime downfall. So the range of action of proxies of West, Arabs, and Turkey shrinking down. The situation was not so worse on the Turkish side than Coup d'état skirmish happened.

If the West or USA played this move, which is the silly one, even in a police raid, you need insiders and a complete inside intelligence here you were going to change a regime and you did not know:

  1. The behavior of Public of that Country
  2. Economic Conditions
  3. Geo Politics
  4. Government, Public, and Opposition Differentiation Equation
  5. International Credibility
  6. Deep State or Establishment Presence and Behaviour

In all these factors, the West and the USA depend on a one-man army, Fethullah Gülen, and some Turkish generals, and Coup d'état failed. Erdogan moves much deeper than opponents, Justice and Development Party from 2003 to 2014 cultivated three things in Turkish society:

  1. Economic Prosperity
  2. Historic Pride of Ottoman Empire
  3. Promotion of Political Ideology

If the West and its allies were involved in this chaos, then they never realized these social developments in Turkey. Then all these simulations, the West needs Turkey in Syria but Coup d'état changed the Turkish behavior and reports that Russian provide all the information about Coup d'état and all information about the personals involved. Turkey did not lose the strategic goals in Syria and the Middle East. Turkey too much is careful about West dependency and gave a little Strategic Leverage to Russia in Turkish occupied Northern Syria with the alliance of West and USA. Operation Euphrates Shield allows Turkey to settle a buffer zone between Syria and Turkey simple reason is Kurds. This buffer zone was also viewed by Iran and Russia as a hostile act. While turkey called it an action against ISIS, a sound movie by Turkey to monitor three opponents at a time. So Turkish moves are countered by Russia and Iran supported by china. They also needed Turkey in the Middle East to counter other Arabs, which are their enemy's friend situational complexities are exposed by strategic affairs. At the same time, Russia and Iran to counter Turkey favor Arabs and to counter Arabs and Israel favor Turkey.

Operation Olive Branch, and an Offense in northeastern Syria back-to-back victories for Turkey reason because Russia and its allies not to be direct respondent, allowing the Kurds and ISIS to handle the Turks, same Turkey allows the FSA or SNA to deal with Assad's regime and its allies. Turkey now moving to Idlib circumstances was going to be more complicated, strong resistance from Syria. Turkey used MANPADs against Russian and Syrian fighters some of them are damaged. The response was very to swear they bombed a compound where 34-50 Turkish soldiers took refuge called Balyun airstrikes. The situation for Turkey as "So eat shoes, so onions" as an undeclared Russian and turkey agreement preventing him from did direct action against Russia. Cleverly solving the problem, the Turkish response was Operation Spring Shield against Syrian forces rather than Russia, so Putin allowed fair strategic leverage for Turkey and did not want to lose Turkey. Turkey also does not want to put all eggs in one basket, Syrians able to secure Idlib but as a pyrrhic victory. This Turkish action to punish the pawns did not bother Russia, as the queen will always there to support pawns. Without damaging Russian strategic goals hit Russian allies and supporting Western strategic goals and own strategic goals, a tremendous move by Turkey. But it is a "between the devil and the Deep sea" state as the front with Iran and Russia and behind Europe standing against Turkey.

Another strategic move, but each participant has a common legacy of the dominant behavior. No one of them wants to lose strategic dominance and cooperation and strategic leverage in Syria. Because it is strategically profitable to fight with a proxy rather than an army and economically, it is favorable. Then Turkey established a safe zone in Syria to counter the Kurds in response Kurds allied with Assad's Regime but USA withdrawal created another opportunity for Erdoğan in Syria with an agreement with Russia. Because of the economic war with the USA and internal pressure because of the Syrian refugees' crises, Turkey did. The other move which played by Turkey, they started gambling in Tripoli on what points they are supporting Tripoli are:

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  1. UN-backed legitimate government
  2. The Mediterranean dominance
  3. Foot-step in Africa
  4. Rebalance the region
  5. Survival of Tripoli used as a barging tool against Egypt
  6. Geopolitical leverage and power struggle
  7. Maritime liberation
  8. Natural resources

The regional divisions favor every key player took advantage of new allies it does not matter democrat or autocrat. Supporting the legitimate government, Turkey has an ally on another edge of the Mediterranean it does not only create an ally but also Turkey has the waste area from a strategic point of view. Turkey thinks Turkey was encircled and imprisoned by West and Middle Eastern countries. This single move the Turkish foot-steps in three continents.

  1. Asia
  2. Europe
  3. Africa

The balance of geopolitics is changing the shape, the economy, and all the streams of an economy heavily dependent on a fresh course of geopolitics. It does not mean that other predators are not smelling the flesh, the natural resources of the Mediterranean, everyone showing muscles for them and Turkey reap the rewards of its diplomacy, geopolitics, and geography. In all these aspects, Turkey's investment in Africa bothers the Middle East, but also Europe and Russia at the same time Turkey move from Central Asia, Middle East, and Africa and aim always the Middle East. Others move a military base in Qatar. Turkey encircling the Middle East and then Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan railway line. Connectivity and communication, economy or defense, these all moves have one center "Middle East". Turkey took advantage of every move from:

  1. Economy
  2. Defense
  3. Geopolitics
  4. Geography
  5. To Culture

Turkey Wrapping the Middle East in a coil imperceptibly. Turkey is finding allies in the enemy's line and these efforts somehow successful principal reason cultural bonding and ideological bonding of Arabs and Turks. The content warfare by Turkey played an important role in this movie. Palestine issue, Arab league silence, Arab- Israel closeness and Saudi regime crackdown against its own royal family created rebellion and also Syrian crises, Egyptian martial law against Freedom and Justice Party economic crises of Abu Dhabi, scattered Arab alliance, Yemen war, Iranian influence, sectarian wars and civil wars, distrust of leadership of Arabs in Islamic world closeness to Europe are favorable conditions for Turkey to take all strategic advantages in the Middle East. The biggest advantage Turkey has against Israel that Turkey is a Muslim country. All three major players, Iran, Israel, and Turkey if viewing their strategic goals, Israel preferring kingdoms and autocracies, Iran preferring a small minority in three or four countries, where Turkey preferring public consent in the Arab world. Turkey has the smallest portion regarding strategic goals, but it is a more dangerous form than the above two of Iran and Israel. So Turkey gently knows the pulses of the Arab world and influential approach to their core ideology base.

The strategic cost Turkey has to be paid for its strategic objectives has many historical and strategic aspects. First Arab-Turk rivalry, Turks considered it treachery, while Arabs as a freedom war against occupants during WW1. The dissolution of the Ottoman Empire Turks memorized that humiliation and in the current scenario same enemies the Arabs and Europeans. With gaining the strategic goals, Turkey also wanted to settle the old debt. The rivalry also precarious for the Turks' strategic game, both rivals can cash the opportunity against Turkey. The historic hate is one reason that cost Turkey strategically in the Middle East especially competition with Iran and Israel. The second aspect that cost Turkey the regional and global divisions on the matter of Libya. The Middle Eastern countries helped Haftar against the Libyan UN-backed Government. As Turkey opened a battlefront in Islamic World for leadership, the Arab opened it in Libya this is also ditch Turkey on Kurds' issue in Syrian front. Another issue that caused the strategic cost to Turkey, Turkish-Greece conflict on Cyprus and the Mediterranean for natural resources and the Cyprus issue. Arabs, France, and Russia are allies and UAE send its Mirage 2000 jets to support Greece. Reports that these Mirage 2000 jets hit a Turkish air defaces system in Libya. So drawbacks of meddling in Libyan and Middle Eastern crises especially assisting Qatar militarily showing the magic. The reaction was not only by UAE but also Saudi Arabia and Egypt on the Libyan conflict. The third aspect is that regional divisions in conflict turned to be sectarian war and this is more dangerous than for Turkish strategic affairs the Sunni-Shia division is clear in the Syrian conflict. But there also the Sunni-Sunni division and the strategic goals of each participant are different so alinement of goals is necessary here numbers matters and Turkey has very few allies against its rivals. The fourth aspect is that most Middle Eastern countries have robust economies so their citizens are satisfied with their rulers' economic policies, so it is difficult to create rebellion until they themselves are involved in a war as Saudis did in Yemen.

These moves and rewards raged the rivals in the Middle East no doubt the world is shifting its strategic shape China and Russia again creating a new block but the old block is not as weak as it seems Europe and the USA have a potent presence about 80% of Middle East under their influence so for Turkey it's a time-consuming process. Both Russia and China need more time to show their presence and power. All Turkish armed forces are Western-trained and equipped, any kind of confrontation only harmed Turkey and only Turkey. So Turkey needs to be very careful and patient, while there are too many enemies and are too few friends.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 nomi haider

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