Recent vehement challenges in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), the rise of radical movements and terrorism, widespread genocidal rhetoric, quasi-cold and already hot wars in the South Caucasus, and beyond begs one big question – who is behind all that nightmare?
In order to answer that question one must get down to the real nitty-gritty of the problems across the MENA region and make a fresh assessment of the current political mosaic from Morocco to the Gulf, and from Armenia to Greece and Cyprus.
The region’s only political elite that has military, political and economic conflicts with almost everyone is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s belligerent regime in Turkey. The 12th president of Turkey is in wars and confrontations with Armenia and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) in the South Caucasus, with Greece and Cyprus as well as Egypt and Libya in the broader Mediterranean basin, with Syria, Iraq and almost all Arab League countries in the broader Middle East.
There are two underlying causes of Mr Erdoğan’s extremely bellicose behavior vis-à-vis Turkey’s neighboring countries.
First and foremost, it is the recent birth of Erdoganocracy – Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has transformed into an institution rather than a political figure, an individual. This disastrous process has let Turkish political culture fall into decay.
Mr Erdoğan has oppressed Turkish civil society, jailed thousands of journalists and civil activists, got rid of many of his political rivals, wiped out hundreds of high-ranking military personnel and abruptly introduced back radical authoritarianism into the then democratizing Turkish society.
Thus Mr Erdoğan has gradually, but constantly, made his personal socio-political beliefs of neo-Ottomanism and pan-Turkist ideology as a mainstream political current in Turkey.
It comes as no surprise to find Erdoğan’s Turkey ranked 154th in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index: Turkey has a tremendous gap existing between true public opinion and a so-called “published opinion”.
Moreover, by publicly encouraging denial of the Armenian, Greek and Assyrian genocides and thumbing his nose at the basic rights of Kurdish people and other minority groups in Turkey, Erdoğan widens the deepening gap within Turkish society.
Instead of heading towards the refulgent democracy, Erdoğan has chosen the path to Turkey’s dark past which is a huge challenge for Turkey’s neighbors, and for the Turkish people as well.
The exportation of Erdoganocracy to the near abroad is the second reason of Turkey’s destabilizing role in the MENA and beyond.
Erdoğan has gained popularity among terrorist and radical movements in the MENA, has publicly stated about his big dreams ranging from pan-Turkism and neo-Ottomanism to Turkey’s great power aspirations.
Meanwhile, Mr Erdoğan is trying to impose his Erdoganocratic will on the international relations system by destroying the accepted-by-all game rules and championing a change in MENA regional relations, including maps. The first repercussions of Erdoğan’s moves was the deployment of some 1000-2000 Syrian jihadists in Azerbaijan to fight against Armenians forces in Artsakh, Turkey’s direct military involvement in Artsakh against Armenian forces, as well as Turkish adventurism against Greece and Cyprus which can escalate to another large-scale war soon.
Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story yet. Turkish imperialistic policy has ushered in many Arab states, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates among them, to get into an economic war with Turkey by boycotting Turkish products and injecting huge pain into the declining Turkish economy.
Thus, it is of paramount importance to gauge the real connection between the growing destabilization in the MENA, the rise of terrorism and radical movements, confrontation in the Mediterranean, the current war in Artsakh, and rampantly growing Erdoganocracy in Turkey and beyond.
The international community should act promptly and properly against Erdoğan in order to bring Turkey back into the peaceful and democratic international family, help end war in Artsakh, get rid of terrorism in the MENA, and save the Turkish economy from ultimate collapse which will destabilize the whole region even more severely.
The Turkish leadership should have already realized that imperialistic great-power dreams is beyond Turkey’s reach. Peaceful coexistence during this turbulent time of the pandemic is a must and Turkey should accept the rules of existing global and regional order as a fait accompli.
The views of the author do not necessarily reflect those of Greek City Times.
Vahram Ayvazyan is an International Relations and Genocide scholar, startup founder and a Climate Reality Leader, personally trained by former US vice president Al Gore.