Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is in a state of shock after the joint declaration by the Foreign Ministers of Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates, condemned Turkey’s illegal attempted drilling in Cypriot waters, violations of Greek airspace, instrumentalisation of illegal immigrants and backing the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, as reported by Greek City Times.
In response to the joint declaration, Erdoğan said “we will continue to defend our interests and rights in the Aegean, the Mediterranean and Cyprus until the end.”
He then took aim at not only the Armenian and Greek lobbies in their diaspora communities, but also the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) and Fethullah Gülen’s movement known as FETO. Gülen is in self-exile from Turkey to the United States and the once ally of Erdoğan is now his harshest critic and is blamed for the 2016 coup attempt against the Turkish president.
“We will not leave the field to either the PKK or FETO, nor to the Armenian and Greek lobbies, nor to the enemy forces, nor to the forces of evil that originate from Gulf countries,” Erdoğan said.
His statement comes as Turkey faces a major economic catastrophe that could see its three biggest banks collapse and the Turkish lira continue to tumble.
In addition, Turkey is becoming increasingly isolated in the region, as its sole ally in the Eastern Mediterranean is the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya who are on the verge of collapse under pressure of the Greek-friendly Libyan National Army. The Muslim Brotherhood only control a portion of the capital city of Libya and the city of Misrata that is a center of jihadism and the Turkish minority in the country.
Meanwhile Greece has strong relations with the Libyan National Army, whose many top leaders trained at Greek military schools. Greece also strong relations with Cyprus, Egypt, Israel and has recently renewed its ties with Syria, showing that Greece has many friends and allies in a region that is becoming lonely and isolated for Turkey.
The Treaty of Sèvres haunts Turkey as it is paranoid that it could come to fruition, meaning Constantinople and Smyrna would be a part of Greece, an independent Kurdistan would exist, Syria would once again control Iskenderun that Turkey now calls “Hatay province,” and Armenia would control Pontus and large areas of eastern Anatolia – effectively severing Turkey to a much more reduced state.
The treaty was signed on the 10th August 1920, in the aftermath of World War I by the Central and Allied Powers. The Treaty was renegotiated at the end of the Greco-Turkish War with the Treaty of Lausanne and the Treaty of Kars that reversed the Treaty of Sèvres.
However, a 1998 cable titled “The Turks on the Kurds: Getting the message right,” released by the U.S. State Department in 2014 found that “Turkish officials and members of the social/political elite are especially sensitive to statements of actions which they interpret as resurrecting the 1920 Treaty of Sevres and its explicit efforts to partition Turkey in favour of Kurds, Greeks, Armenians, the French and the British.”
The Turks, according to the cable, believe that any Kurdish succession from Turkey can see the rest of the country dismantle with Greeks, Syrians and Armenians reclaiming their historical homeland.
As the Greeks and Armenians have powerful lobbies in their diaspora communities, there is little doubt that Erdoğan is paranoid that these lobbies can begin pushing for the Treaty of Sèvres to be reinstated.