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Ukraine’s War Is Erdogan’s Opportunity

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29.03.2022

A major land war looms over Europe.

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Far more attention deserves to be paid to the ways the war in Ukraine is affecting the Middle East and how, in turn, countries in that region can affect the conflict. It testifies to the interconnectedness of global food supplies, the continuing importance of fossil fuels, and America’s fraught relations with its regional partners. The Israelis, Emiratis, Saudis, Qataris, and Egyptians all have important roles to play in managing the conflict.

But the crisis presents an especially large opportunity for Turkey. That’s not because Ankara’s supporters and propagandists in Washington are correct that Turkey is or wants to be a bulwark against Moscow as it was during the Cold War. That’s a narrative manufactured for the benefit of busy members of Congress and their staff. Turkey simply does not want to be assigned the role, once again, of sentry on NATO’s southeastern flank.

Rather, the opportunity for Ankara relates to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party’s disappointments, which have festered and accumulated into grudges against those who are supposed to be Turkey’s most important allies—the United States and Europe. The Ukraine crisis offers Erdogan the chance to realize his long-cultivated vision of Turkey as a great power in its own right.

Far more attention deserves to be paid to the ways the war in Ukraine is affecting the Middle East and how, in turn, countries in that region can affect the conflict. It testifies to the interconnectedness of global food supplies, the continuing importance of fossil fuels, and America’s fraught relations with its regional partners. The Israelis, Emiratis, Saudis, Qataris, and Egyptians all have important roles to play in managing the conflict.

But the crisis presents an especially large opportunity for Turkey. That’s not because Ankara’s supporters and propagandists in Washington are correct that Turkey is or wants to be a bulwark against Moscow as it was during the Cold War. That’s a narrative manufactured for the benefit of busy members of Congress and their staff. Turkey simply does not want to be assigned the role, once again, of sentry on NATO’s........

© Foreign Policy


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