Through numerous battlefields, everyone is trying to break Turkey – Middle East Monitor1 Ottobre 2020
Between the Black and Mediterranean seas, the fuse for several crises has ignited. Its characters are a complex network of allies and opponents. These crises seem to have only one element in common, fighting the growing influence of Ankara.
From Libya and the conflict between the legitimate government and Haftar and his supporters, the Eastern Mediterranean crisis, the Turkish-Greek dispute and the conflicting maritime agreements, to the disputes over dealing with the Palestinian issue and the complex Syrian crises, and finally the war between Armenia and Azerbaijan, we find that Turkey is an active party, either directly or through its support of one of the parties.
None of these crises can be read in isolation of the rest, as the complex intertwining of conflicting interests makes each of them a direct influence on the other.
In Libya, where the alignment is clear, Turkey and Qatar are clearly behind the legitimate government in Tripoli, while the UAE and France support Haftar, but the Egyptian and Russian roles in support of Haftar further complicate the scene.
The Egyptian president announced more than once that an attack on Sirte by the Turkish-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) is a red line for Egypt, although this threat was not accompanied by any action on the ground.
On its part, Russia was content with providing support through mercenaries and avoided an explicit stance in support of Haftar. With the fragile ceasefire, each camp continues to mobilise its forces, awaiting the decisive battle.
In the Eastern Mediterranean, the same network of players appears, but in a more complex scene. The dispute here is between Greece and Turkey over the maritime borders, the economic zone, and the rights of the two parts of Cyprus to the Mediterranean, but Greece benefits from Egypt’s support through the maritime agreement, which is confronted by Turkey’s deal with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA).
France clearly declares its supportive position for Greece, while the UAE supports Greece indirectly in the media and politically. In this crisis, there has been relative calm with the beginning of the Turkish-Greek negotiations, but with Turkey’s commitment to continue exploration and Greece’s demand for greater European support, the crisis remains in the making.
The Emirati-Bahraini normalisation deal with Israel came within the framework of these crises, albeit in different circumstances, but it was related to it in terms of the Emirati-Israeli consensus on limiting the Turkish role in the region.
There is no doubt that the Israeli gas exploration in the Eastern Mediterranean represents an additional factor in the confrontation between the parties.
The change and fluctuation of the network of interests in Syria is still the main threat to Turkey. Although the American support for the Kurds there has almost completely stopped, the Russian caginess that shifts between coordination with the Turks and directly targeting Turkish forces is draining Ankara politically and militarily.
Behind the scenes, the UAE continues to communicate with the regime, which supports the Syrian Kurds. These developments have delayed Turkish efforts to facilitate the return of Syrian refugees and establishing a local government in the areas that are linked to Turkey on the security and military level.
The outbreak of the war between Azerbaijan and Armenia confirms the formation of the network of Turkey’s opponents and its allies. Despite the conflict of interests or at least its absence among the supporters of Armenia, they all support it in the face of Azerbaijan, which is supported by Turkey.