More Turkish threats
It’s all about the natural gas and Erdogan’s ego:
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan described offshore gas drilling by estranged ally Israel and Cyprus as “madness” on Wednesday, raising the stakes in a confrontation over potentially huge deposits in the eastern Mediterranean….
“The Greek Cypriot administration and Israel are engaging in oil exploration madness in the Mediterranean,” Turkish state news agency Anatolian quoted Erdogan as telling Turkish journalists in New York ahead of the UN General Assembly meeting.
“Actually, the Greek Cypriot administration’s drilling activity is nothing but sabotage of the negotiation process between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots,” he added.
The drilling controversy has added a new and potentially explosive element to a dispute over Cyprus which has defied mediation for decades.
The island was split by a Turkish invasion in 1974 after a brief Greek inspired coup. Turkey is the only country to recognize a breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in the north, where it maintains a military presence.
Erdogan also emphasized again Turkish military prowess on Wednesday: “Our assault boats and frigates are already in the region,” Anatolian quoted him as saying.
Erdogan’s government even is threatening to freeze ties to the European Union if Cyprus is permitted to assume the mostly ceremonial EU presidency:
“If the peace negotiations there (Cyprus) are not conclusive, and the EU gives its rotating presidency to southern Cyprus, the real crisis will be between Turkey and the EU,” Anatolian quoted [Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir] Atalay as telling Turkish Cypriot Bayrak Radio and TV at the end of a trip to northern Cyprus.
“Because we will then freeze our relations with the EU. We have made this announcement, as a government we have made this decision. Our relations with the EU will come to a sudden halt.”
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At what point will Erdogan’s rhetoric , not matched by his actions, cause him to be a non player in the Middle East?
Erdogan dare not moderate his talk, and eventually [sooner rather than later] must act on it for his own survival.
1) Domestically, he has beheaded the command structure of the Turkish military; imprisoning or forcing the resignations of literally the entire top tier of their flag officers.
2) The Turkish military is traditionally the guardian of the secular Turkish state as created by Ataturk. There is a constant and growing risk of a major or colonel wanting to imitate Ataturk.
3) Erdogan’s party is Islamist. He dare not back down from his stands at this point.
4) Inflation is rising in Turkey, and the world increase in the price of food, while not as bad as North Africa, is going to cause unrest in Turkey.
5) Demographically, the Kurdish minority is growing and the day is in sight when they become a majority over the Turks. The Kurds have a functioning state in northern Iraq, that is looked to both by the Kurds in Turkey and the Kurds in Iran, which is another level of fundamental shared interest between Iran and Turkey that goes beyond Islam.
6) The prospect of a joint Greek Cypriot-Israeli energy boom is an existential threat to the Turkish-Islamist world view. They are, I suspect, likely to attempt to conquer the rest of Cyprus. Greece is in no condition to resist, NATO will be silent, and with Obama in the White House; there will be no downside. Success in external war will prop up his regime.
He will make some military move overseas, and has a prospective deadline of January 2013 to do so.
Generally speaking, a military loss is a great way to get a Third World thugocracy overthrown. So right now I’m looking forward to Turkey getting into a fight w/ Israel, and getting its butt kicked.
Pre-9/11, I tended to support Pakistan v. India. That is no longer the case. Pre-Erdogan, I liked Turkey, and supported Turkey v. the WU and Greece. No longer.
It’s amazing how good Islam is at making everything worse.
“Our relations with the EU will come to a sudden halt.”