Is Turkey losing the West or the West losing Turkey?
The Blue Homeland naval exercise is a manifestation against the enlarging bloc against Turkey in the Eastern Mediterranean, retired admiral Cem Gürdeniz told me in an interview published on March 4. Greece, Greek Cyprus, European Union, United States as well as Egypt and Israel were in this bloc, according to Gürdeniz.
As we were talking, separate news came out that ExxonMobil announced the discovery of natural gas off the Cyprus island near areas contested by Turkey, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to attend a summit on March 20 with Greece, Greek Cyprus and Israel and France would be having a naval base in Greek Cyprus. It looked there was enough news to make the admiral ring the alarm bells. During the interview the contrast in the rhetoric he used for Russia versus the West was striking. Read the rest of the interview, which was not published due to space limitation:
Listening to you, some might get confused as to Turkey’s position in the international geopolitical landscape.
Every 100, 150 years the world order will change. Right now it is the most critical phase in the history of the republic; because we have to decide which side Turkey will be in the 21st century. May be Turkey will choose a Finland model in the future.
Is the Russian ambassador going through southeastern Anatolian provinces to talk with local Kurdish leaders for instance?
PYD has an office in Moscow.
Right; but is Russia still supplying arms to PKK/YPG? Is there any imposition of embargo or blockade by Russia? They are holding negotiations with Greek Cyprus to have basis in the island.
Who is the ally of Turkey? Is there any similar threats or bullying coming from Russia and Chinese side? A new balance of power is taking place and Turkey holds blue homeland exercise but also contributes by sending warships to NATO exercises.
So what you are saying is that while a new world order is being constructed one should not take for granted that the same alliances will hold?
What makes you so confident that Russia will make a better ally? Outlawed PKK leader Öcalan was harbored by Syria which was supported by the Russians for instance.
I was involved in negotiations for BLACKSEAFOR and BLACKSEA harmony (naval cooperation initiatives between Black Sea littoral states) I worked with the Russian side at that time. They accepted our approach for the Black Sea’s future. They thought at the beginning that we will act as the Trojan horse in NATO but in the end they understood that Turkey’s foreign policy is based on stability. On the other hand look where Gülen is residing; in Pennsylvania, not in Moscow.
Cem Gürdeniz was targeted by the plots organized by Gülen’s FETÖ and stayed more than 3.5 years in prison. So you might think there is a personal grunge due to personal grievances.
Still; the fact that the general chief of staff decided to name the biggest naval exercise of the Republic with a concept first used by an admiral who was a victim of FETÖ is very telling in terms of the Turkish state’s current psyche. I am sure there are many in the state’s strategic institutions sharing Gürdeniz’ line.
At this stage Western capitals might just shrug their shoulders and say Turkey will bear the consequences of losing the West which will not be to the best of Ankara’s interests.
Or they can start asking if it would be to their interests to lose Turkey?