Turkish hegemony in Mediterranean likely to develop mess for Region

A powerful alliance against Turkey has been formed to oust it from the Eastern Mediterranean. This happened after a series of incidents in recent weeks that could be a severe blow to Erdogan’s rhetoric of an Ottoman dream.

Turkey has been gearing up for combat on a series of fronts that could have serious repercussions in the case of any backfire of these bold war fronts under current Turkey’s economic challenges. Turkey has been locking horns in Libya with Egypt, where Khalifa Haftar has a strong backing of its alliance. In case of any conflict in Libya, it could be a major catastrophe that will engage Turkey in proxies for many years to come.

In Eastern Mediterranean Turkey, maritime conflict with Greece created international headlines when a Turkish seismic research vessel was escorted by Greece warships into the sea between the Greece island of Crete and Cyprus. The situation intensified when French President Emmanuel Macron ordered forces to move into the Eastern Mediterranean in support of Greece. Turkish President Erdogan later softened his stance and showed interest in a win-win solution in the interests of all the stakeholders.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo met with Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias in Vienna to discuss the maritime conflict between Turkey and Greece. He also met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu in the Dominican Republic to discuss the conflict between two NATO alliances. Nevertheless, Turkey has plans to issue gas exploration and drilling licenses in the area between the Greek island of Crete and Cyprus. That could cause even more tension in this developing conflict.

Recently, Turkey has developed a conflicting attitude policy towards its major alliances, and this a conflicting policy with a stern mindset, making Turkey an unreliable alliance. Despite the member of NATO, Turkey reportedly gets involved in various conflicts inside NATO. Being part of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Turkey has areas of conflict inside OIC member countries and is trying to form a new separate block against the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, in which Turkey has a leadership role in leading the Muslim countries. On the other side, Erdogan is actively creating a serious divide between Turkey and its western allies. He is dreaming of a revival of the Ottoman era. And since actions speak louder than words, Turkey has officially converted the Hagia Sophia Museum into the Hagia Sophia Grand Mosque. Such a decision has drawn a wide range of criticism from Turkey’s western allies, as well as from inside the country.

Turkey has created the impression among Muslim countries that it can cause much deprivation and misery, as compared to Saudi Arabia that is in a leading role of the Muslim Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). In recent developments, after the historic peace deal between the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Israel, Turkey threatened to end its diplomatic ties with the UAE. However, Turkey was the first Muslim majority country to recognize the State of Israel in March 1949. Turkey, nonetheless, has severe reservations on whether the UAE would establish ties with Israel.

In a broader perspective, Turkey has tumultuous relations with Russia and the United States. Because of the S400 Missile situation, Turkey’s relations with the United States worsened. In the aftermath of this, the Turkey Idlib operation and dealing with the Syrian President Bashar Assad led to Ankara’s relations with Moscow also turning sour. However, Erdogan tried to mend these ties, yet Russian interests in Libya may come under attack in the case of any upcoming major confrontation between Turkey and other stakeholders in this upcoming conflict zone. Turkey is trying to increase its influence and its Ottoman footprint in various directions, whether East or West. Nonetheless, Turkey’s economic position and the increasing political challenges may not accompany Turkey towards this Ottoman revival.

A debate has also ensued within Muslim countries following the stance of the UAE towards recognition of Israel, and at this juncture of time, major criticism came from Turkey, which has already recognized Israel and has hosted the consulate and embassy of Israel in Ankara for decades. The present scenario is getting complicated for the entire region, with possible consequences and repercussions coming to light. Turkey is going to open multiple fronts to deal with these issues, and the coming weeks could be crucial for the situation in the Mediterranean, as well as for future bilateral relations of different Muslim countries.