Fuelling Saudi Arabia’s anger, Turkey sent additional troops to Qatar in December 2017, and the two countries signed an agreement in March 2018 to establish a naval base and training centre and to send 60,000 more soldiers. In response, Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) described Turkey as part of a “triangle of evil” along with Iran and hardline Islamist groups.
Results for Tag: Recep Tayyip Erdogan
With the economy showing worrying signs, some observers have viewed the early elections as a sign of weakness, and the government certainly does not appear fully prepared for such an election. However, by calling an early election, Erdogan has maximized his chances of success in a country that still fiercely identifies as democratic, even if the reality is far more complicated.
A 2016 leaked German government report described how the ‘Islamization of Ankara’s domestic and foreign policy since 2011’ has turned the country into a bastion of Islamist groups in the region. Whereas Turkey’s republicans would have shied away from any such public international links, Erdogan has embraced them, heralding to the world Turkey’s new direction and a for the country that he has long sought to achieve.
Many media reports speculate that MBC’s decision was made to punish Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for rushing to the aid of Qatar after it was subjected to a Saudi-led blockade. Turkey has also supported and harboured members of the Muslim Brotherhood, which Saudi Arabia considers a terrorist organization.
Anxious reactions to the handover of Sawakin came as no surprise to anyone, given the current regional tensions. The war in Yemen on the east coast of the Red Sea has been ongoing for three years, with no end in sight. Turkey’s manoeuvering, which is at odds with many of its powerful neighbours, notably Saudi Arabia, has been interpreted as a threat to their position.
As painful as Zarrab’s testimony must have been for some in Ankara, the revelations seem to have done little to rock the foundations of the current Turkish government, and Erdogan’s hold on power looks secure. However, the case comes amid the worst deterioration of US-Turkish relations for decades, and its fallout is unlikely to be over.
The threat posed to Hatay by the PKK and its Syrian affiliates was highlighted again in January 2018, when the Turkish army and Turkish-backed forces attacked Afrin. Whether the threat was exaggerated to justify the Afrin operation is difficult to say, but once again Hatay has found itself, through no fault of its own, on the sidelines of war.