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Wednesday, 10 August 2022
What Encourages Erdogan’s Turkey to Intervene in the Middle East and North Africa?
Jwan Dibo

Turkey’s expansion in the Middle East and North Africa has become very noticeable during  recent years. This aggressive expansion is very vibrant in Kurdistan, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Somalia and elsewhere. Erdogan’s Turkey has used several means and has rested on numerous factors  that reveal that this offensive enlargement at others expense is systematic and ideological. 

These means and factors can be divided into internal and external.

For Erdogan, waging wars and making interferences into other countries affairs is an important  source of gaining popularity at Turkish domestic level.

Likewise, it is a hot material of polarisation through municipal, parliamentary and presidential elections campaigns. The  tendency of conducting external battles has become a fundamental part of Erdogan approach, especially when he has become the absolute ruler of Turkey since 2017.

Erdogan and his ruling party, The Justice and Development Party (AKP), have been suffering  from multifaceted enormous difficulties. These issues almost include every single sector of life  in Turkey. A recession in economy, lack of democracy, insecurity, political instability, local  currency deterioration against the dollar, withdrawal of foreign investments, moving from  zero-problems with neighbouring countries to zero-friends, and so on. Therefore, for Erdogan,  the only way to attempt to salvage his political future and to remain in power is to distract  national public opinion and to absorb local anger by waging wars and making interventions  abroad.

Furthermore, Erdogan endeavours to stir up Turkish national and religious sentiments by  showing himself as a historical leader who is trying to restore the glories of the ancient  Ottoman Empire. In this context, Erdogan claims that Libya, to which Erdogan has sent about  16,000 Syrian mercenaries, was one of the relics of the property of his Ottoman ancestors until the year 1911, when Sultan Mehmed V abdicated Libya in favour of Italy. On the other hand,  he pretends that Mosul and Kurdistan region including Kirkuk are also remnants of the defunct Ottoman sultanate, justifying his occupation of several regions in Iraqi Kurdistan.

Regionally, Erdogan has benefited from every single point that can push his plan to make  interventions into other weak countries via incursions, invasions and occupation. Since the  eruption of “the Arab Spring Events” in 2011, Erdogan has exploited the anarchy that swept  the countries which witnessed mass protests and civil wars to get an illegitimate foothold in  those countries. Therefore, Erdogan was very ecstatic at the beginning of the events of the  Arab Spring, when massive popular demonstrations toppled the previous authoritarian  regimes and brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya.

In Syria, Erdogan embraced the Syrian opposition led by the Muslim Brotherhood and occupied  dozens of Syrian cities and towns. Erdogan’s Turkey displaced hundreds of thousands of Kurds  from their areas in Syrian Kurdistan. About 16,000 Syrian mercenaries were sent to Libya by  Erdogan’s government to support the Brotherhood government in Tripoli and to fight the  Libyan National Army. In Iraq, Turkey has occupied dozens of areas in Iraqi Kurdistan and built  dozens of military bases.

Internationally, Erdogan is trying to take advantage of the contradictions between the United  States and Russia in more than one place in the Middle East and North Africa, such as Syria,  Iraq and Libya. Based on these inconsistencies, Erdogan has succeeded to a certain extent in  expanding in neighbouring countries and the region. But, as it seems, Turkish expansion in the  Middle East, North and East Africa is taking place under the tacit approval of the United States

and Russia. Instability in this region, as well as in most regions of the world, is a policy that is in  the interest of the superpowers because this provides them with a permanent pretext for  intervention, hegemony, and the sale of weapons. Similarly, this Turkish expansion takes place  amid a failure and lack of European agreement towards this Turkish malignant behaviour,  which shapes a blatant threat against European interests in Libya and the eastern  Mediterranean.

Turkey has relatively succeeded, to date, to interfere in several countries of the Middle East  and North Africa. The reason behind this is not because that Turkey is strong, but because it  benefits from all the weaknesses of the targeted countries as well as from the dissimilarities among the major global players in those countries. These major players, apparently, admire

this Turkish salience as long as it does not form an explicit and direct threat to its interests in  the region. In other words, until this moment, Turkey is moving and manoeuvring in the Middle  East and North Africa within the framework permitted by America and Russia, otherwise it

would not have dared to do so

by : Jwan Dibo