Going old Turkey: a regional power spreads


A decade ago, Turkey's Foreign Minister Audit of Attalou used to boast his country was on good terms with everyone police fantasia want. less confrontation, less tense attitude. Especially, in the region, he spoke at the Council on foreign, relations with the will of the principal. In. Two thousand three. Zero problems with our neighbors. And the made a huge progress. All, that now seems a distant memory Turkey is growing its international influence and not always with a light touch. The country has been backing Libya's government in its civil war. Last month. The Turkish Defence Minister landed in Libya to inspect his troops and opposition warlord warned them to get out or else. Turkey prompted an angry statement from Egypt last week by allegedly planning gas exploration and Egyptian waters. And yesterday Turkish officials railed against an American company for its dealings with ethnic Kurds in neighboring Syria. That Turkey believes to be terrorists. To some, all this adventurism is reminiscent of past chapter of the country's history when the Ottoman Empire ruled all of Syria and far beyond. Turkey, has been playing an especially prominent role in Syria since protests spread into a full blown civil war. Turkey has really become a meshed in Syria since the start of the our spring, the uprisings that took place in two thousand eleven across the Middle East it back. The Islamist. Movements that initially took to the streets and then took up arms. Nicholas Pelham is our Middle East correspondent. But as those fighters were false back towards its border, it's really stepped into try and protect its southern border, stop any more refugees coming into the country and to provide some sort of safe zone for the proteges, and it's also very nervous about the current state law that emotion the northeast of the country. It feels very threatened by the emergence of Kurdish power on the southern borders, and is it reasonable for Turkey to think that those Kurdish forces are really a threat historic? The have been links between the PK, the cuts down Workers Party, which has been waging a thirty five year a war for. Autonomy and separatism inside Turkey. Many of those fighters did flee sought refuge in Iraq and in Syria, and so Turkey is worried about what it sees very much kind of PKK influenced state emerging on its southern borders. So this year it's been launching pretty heavy attacks inside Iraq, it's been sending tanks across the border. It's established positions inside northern Iraq. It's been carrying out drone bombardments, such two hundred kilometers from its border in Saint, John More, Kurds all the way along its southern border inside Syria inside. Iraq see a new Turkish assault, which is pushing deep into their territory and not just unsettling. Kurdish aspirations for sovereignty in Iraq and Syria, and this is also unnerving Arab leaders as well. Who Turkey pushing deep into territory, which was part of the Turkish Republic predecessor. The Ottoman Empire, which ruled the Middle East centuries until its dissolution about a century ago, which is to say that Turkey is expanding its influence is doing this adventurism beyond Iraq and Syria all over the Middle East of the moment. There's a this year has seen the new intervention of the Turkish, Army. Libya. They came to the rescue of the besieged government of National Accord. In Tripoli, which has been fighting a civil war against a renegade general. Khalifa. After Turkish forces established at base on the borders of Tunisia, we're seeing it's frigates make a bid for control of looking coastline and even ward off French frigates. We're really seeing a substantive increase in Turkish. Power across the Middle East and it's not just happening in Liberia. It's happening in Gaza, which is an ally of Turkey. Turkish forces there have tried to help. Cut Break Its blockade by Saudi Arabia they're. A. Few hundred to a few thousand Turkish forces that are they're wasting more Turkish interested in Yemen civil war. We're seeing interest in a Sudanese port and actually Turkey's largest overseas basis in the point of Africa. So really this is a massive increase in Turkey spread across the middle, East and do you believe that the the the Ottoman history plays into that as a return to former glories? In some way? It's very much the in the rhetoric certainly saw Mr. Osman tropes at the at the height of the Arab spring wanted to appear to be the leader of the Muslim world. He was promoting his version of governance across the region hoping to clone the Turkish model across the Middle East. But since the collapse of Islamist movement since its as from power in Egypt and the retreat of many of its forces, he's really kind of played much more on Turkey's national interests. He's ally domestically with what had been his nationals opposition. He seems to be much more concerned on trying to maximize Turkey's economic claims in the. The Mediterranean this since much more about promoting Turkey's national interests than flying it systems colors. This is really an exercise in in hard power and trying to exploit the weakness of others, the retreat of Europe and America from the Middle East. The policies of many Arab governments, and try and push Turkey to fill what seems to be a vacuum of power across the Middle East, and so is that push to serve Turkey's national interests working is, is it benefiting from this from this expansionism? If you're trying to put together a balance sheet of profit balance sheet? Sheet Turkey has benefited from Khatri investment cutters, loans, and investments have helped prop up the Turkish lira. It may be that country's also hoping to fund part of its military costs in Libya Turkeys, keen to promote its companies when it comes to eventual reconstruction of war-torn Libya, which after all is energy rich state, and so long term, there may be benefits, his critics home highlight, the cost it's estimated that Turkish operations in Syria have cost anything up to about thirty billion dollars, and of course, there is a threat that you're going to see a major escalation. Escalation in the Middle East, which could embroil Turkey. It's not just Turkey is entering the middle, East enforce. It's also Russia. Many Arab states are trying to gain Russian support to push back Turkey, not just Syria Egypt the United Arab Emirates looking to Russian support in Libya, and Egypt is sending its tanks to the Libyan borders. The UN warned that the risk of a of a regional war focused on Libya and beyond that that risk was huge. So this is a massive gamble and it looks as if the stakes are going to be increasingly hyphen

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