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The Ottomans Strike Back

One of my earliest posts dealt with the conundrum of Turkey and her future relations with important axles of the western alliance - NATO and the EU.  She belongs to the former but not the latter, as is well known.   The word ‘belongs’ in connection with NATO is now in serious doubt. My powers of prophecy in this matter are confirmed. Turkey has now served clear notice that her membership of NATO is entirely conditional, precisely the menu a la carte approach that I predicted.

As for the EU, she can safely dispense with the fruitlessly-prolonged charade of pursuing full membership. She has long enjoyed a full customs union with all the EU states, the only prize worth bothering with it. She does not need all those strangling political entanglements. Henceforth it is the Turkish Commonwealth, aka the New Ottoman Empire, that preoccupies the strategists in Ankara.

Turkey’s slow unwinding of her links with the Zionist administration of Israel were entirely predictable in the wake of the Mavi Marmara affair last May. Israeli special forces boarded a Gaza aid ship flying Turkish colors in international waters.  Eight Turkish citizens and a Turkish-American were murdered in cold blood.

Ostensibly, Israel’s refusal to apologize led to the breach with Israel. In fact, the New Ottomans had already decided early this spring to put the American-imposed alliance with Israel back in the box. First the soft Islamic Justice and Development (AK) Party, which has ruled Turkey for the past decade, had to secure another term in power, duly delivered at the general election in June this year. To the fury of sulking domestic secularists, hankering for their lost spoils, the AK people won another resounding victory, thanks to the booming economy – reflected by the 8.6 annual growth rate, which relegates Germany’s performance practically to the Third World.

The Turkish government finally recognized that a major emerging world power required an appropriately independent foreign policy. The Gaza convoy incident offered the perfect opportunity. Since then the  pace has been fast and furious:

·         Turkey’s threat to veto an Israeli-NATO liaison office in Brussels effectively shot down the back  maneuverings to slide the Zionist state into full NATO membership by the back door.

·         This issue runs deeper. The Brussels ploy formed part of the so-called Mediterranean Dialogue, a decoy to progressively lure all the states of North Africa plus Iraq and Jordan into formal alliance membership. That is now in serious trouble thanks to the well-aimed Turkish torpedo.

·         The renewed alliance with Egypt, another ancient state seeking a revitalized role in the world.

·         Cancellation of the Israeli-Turkish security alliance, which ends the right of Israeli warplanes to operate in Turkish air space.

·         The calculated snub to  US  offers to broker a kiss-and-make-up peace conference with the Israelis

·         Turkey’s refusal to join the free-for-all bombing of Libya

·         Turkey’s seizure of the initiative over Gaza in the lead-up to the Palestinian sovereignty vote at the UN.

·         Stiffening the Turkish naval presence in the Eastern Mediterranean. Effectively she has served notice that in future she looks to her own navy to defend her national interests and not US (NATO) warships cruising the same waters.

·         The veiled hints that should Israel persist in isolating the inhabitants of Gaza in poverty and despair, then she may find it necessarily to act unilaterally. That can be taken to mean landing Turkish forces on the desolated strip by sea and air.

·         The long cold war over divided Cyprus has turned hot. The Turks are furious that Southern Cyprus has granted oil and gas drilling in waters that are seen to be equally the preserve of the northern, Turkish-protected statelet.  Read the rise of Turkish naval power in the Eastern Med in that context too.

·         Turkey may not be a member of the EU, but she has nonetheless deployed every diplomatic device in the book to stop the Greek Cypriots taking their alphabetic turn at the revolving presidency of the Union.

Now let us move on to the poking of sticks in eyes department, chiefly those belonging to the United States but also including the Saudis, who are demonstrably unnerved by the resurgence of Ottoman power throughout the Middle East.  Turkey is asserting the rights of supervising suzerain over territories, including of course Israel and Saudi Arabia, that formerly lay under the sway of the Sultans of Constantinople until WWI.  

The Saudis hold Mecca, the crucible of faith that binds worldwide Islam together. They possess oil, a shrinking power as the wells run dry. Militarily they have clung to the sidelines, though armed to the teeth. Politically, the Saudi royal family’s blind adherence to US imperial doctrine has gone out of fashion. Turkey’s brash assertiveness of independence has forced a response from Riyadh, even as Turkey moves to control the succession in Syria and Iran. (The Saudis have just agreed to buy 300 tanks from Germany. To fight who?)

A Saudi armed column put an end to the pro-democracy demonstrations that threatened the pro-Saudi royal dynasty in Bahrain. For the second time this year, more Saudi armor poured into Yemen to aid the embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh against ‘pro-democracy’ demonstrators, who are unfortunate marionettes of US policy taking part in a CIA-sponsored fashion show.  The United States is propagating present disturbances in order to seize Aden, one of the most magnificent deep water ports on earth, for the future purposes of the imperial navy.

The Saudis cannot possibly allow this to happen in their very own ‘near abroad.’  

They have been speaking of America’s ‘loss of credibility’ in the Middle East, unheard of language from Riyadh. Like the Ottomans, they have nailed their colors to the mast of Palestinian independence. We are seeing the emergence of two counterpoised power blocs – Turkey and Saudi Arabia – whose ability to make long term accommodations between themselves may be limited. Self-imposed American impotence over the Palestinian issue will lead both, in the end, to refute America’s right to decide on behalf of the people of the Middle East what is good for them.

This is a truly tectonic moment in the story of a violently troubled region.

Israel must re-negotiate her right to exist. This is only possible within the context of the Two State solution. Otherwise, it is time to dust off the history of the Crusader Kingdom.

Richard Cottrell is an author and journalist. His new book Gladio: NATO’s Dagger at the Heart of Europe – the Pentagon-Nazi-Mafia Terror Axis will appear from Progressive press shortly.