The major role of Turkey in the Middle East is shifting fast, damn fast. Old alliances, always formed around convenience over principle (that’s foreign affairs, I hear you say) are moving. Paul McGeough outlines what’s going on but a stronger analysis is by Pepe Escobar in Asia Times. Poor, little Washington just can’t control the agenda anymore:
Iraqi Kurdistan is now virtually independent – according to Washington’s designs. Israel is robustly active everywhere in Iraqi Kurdistan. At the same time, the US actively supports the Iraq-based Kurdish Workers’ Party separatists in eastern Anatolia as well as Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) separatists in Iran and Kurdish separatists in Syria. The Turkish military spent no time analyzing these crucial developments. Their conclusion: NATO is not exactly a panacea. We must focus on the Middle East.
And this has led to the ultimate Israeli nightmare. The new key axis in the Middle East is Turkey, Iran and Syria. It used to be only Iran and Syria. Its historical legitimacy simply cannot be questioned, as it unites Shi’ite Iran, secular Syria and post-Ottoman Sunni Turkey.
There are many fascinating side-effects of this cross-fertilization – such as more than a million Iraqis, many of them very well educated, finding a new life in Syria. But the most remarkable effect of this axis is that it has smashed the same old divide-and-rule logic Western colonialism has been imposing on the Middle East for more than a century. Turkey’s destiny may not be firmly attached to a fearful Europe that really does not want to embrace it after all; Turkey is to become once again a leader of the Muslim world.