Turkey is behaving like a mighty country that doesn’t need anyone’s support. Almost like a superpower. It takes every opportunity to show that it is determined to do what it wants to do, without accounting for the reactions of the international community, including those of the United States.
Ankara’s new attitude was confirmed by the speeches, conversations and interviews of leading officials in the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan who took part in the recent Doha Forum.
Three of Erdogan’s closest associates – special adviser Ibrahim Kalin and ministers of Foreign Affairs Mevlut Cavusoglu and Defense Hulusi Akar – stressed that Turkey is committed to carrying out its strategic plans in Syria regardless of what anyone else has to say and will also implement the maritime borders and defense cooperation agreements it signed with the Tripoli-based Libyan government, even if that means involving the military by providing support to Tripoli. “Sending troops is the easiest way,” Akar said in Doha.
Addressing an audience that included US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Cavusoglu did not hesitate to openly lambaste Washington for its reaction to Turkey’s purchase of the Russian S-400 missile system, haughtily stating that Ankara considers the matter closed and invited the Americans to do likewise.
Listening to the Turkish officials speak, you would think that the roles had been reversed: that Turkey is the superpower and America the mere ally. Finding themselves on friendly ground – Erdogan is backed financially by Qatar – the Turkish president’s officials left no doubt as to his future moves. These are clearly centered on implementing his ambitious plans, come what may, in the Middle East and the Eastern Mediterranean, from Syria to Libya, regardless of any criticism from the United States, the European Union or anywhere else.
Turkey’s presence at the landmark forum and the tone of its officials as they addressed a high-caliber international audience exuded an air of arrogance. It was a mirror of Erdogan’s own megalomania, which has only grown worse following how easily he was allowed to carry out his operation in Syria at almost no political cost. Greece’s already difficult neighbor is becoming even more unpredictable, if not downright unhinged. Turkey no longer seems bound by rational thinking and balance of power considerations.