Bradley Martin is a Fellow for the Haym Salomon Center and Research Assistant for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research. His newest article published by the Hill is titled: Turkey: no friend of Israel or the United States. (The Hill is a top US political website, read by the White House and more lawmakers than any other site — vital for policy, politics and election campaigns.)
CEO of the NEC-SE was interviewed for the article. Below are some of the excerpts from the article to include the related NEC-SE postings on Turkish foreign policy.
“According to Lt. Col. Sargis Sangari, Chief Executive Officer of the Near East Center for Strategic Engagement, Turkey still views as its historical property the territories it once held as part of the Ottoman Empire.”
“These created Sunni states which were established as part of the Sykes-Picot Agreement consider Turkey as a ‘big brother,’ as a competitor in the region and on the global stage, a hated competitor,” said Sangari. “Turkey looks at the Arabs and other Sunnis to include Kurds as its previously owned subjects, who now control the oil and resources of those lands, while Turkey has no natural resources within its borders to allow itself to be stable and truly independent geopolitically and to compete globally with the EU, other Western countries and Russia.”
“Internally, Turkey has a problem with its populace, given that their government is blamed for losing these territories and its inability to reclaim economic, political, and religious influence over the same Arabs it looks down on. This is why civilian governments in Turkey do not have the support they need to be successful, while the military has played a popular role in Turkey’s history,” said Sangari.
“Agriculture in Turkey is dying on the vine,” said Sangari. The food that has been produced is now an economic loss.” Turkish Agricultural Minister Faruk Çelik estimated that Russian sanctions will cost Turkey an annual $765 million worth of food exports.
“Sangari explained that there was also a religious dimension to this historical resentment, which must be taken into account.”
“Turkey wants to be the leader of Islam, given it believes itself to be the guardian of Islam as the Sultan was,” said Sangari. “Now, Saudi Arabia is in the lead of Islam, holding Mecca and Medina while being a major oil power in the region.”
“It is because of these religious, historical, and geographic realities that Turkey acts like a bully in the region. Turkey does it in order to ensure its survival. This explains why it sometimes acts against American interests. Its use of the Syrian refugees as a weapon against Europe will only get worse now. Starting this month, millions of Turkish citizens will be permitted to travel visa-free to Europe, in exchange for Turkey’s “help” in stopping the migrant crisis. There is no reason to believe that Turkey’s use of Syrian refugees as a form of extortion against Europe will stop.”
“Once ISIS falls, more documents will be revealed detailing the relationship between ISIS and Turkey, no different than what was revealed with the death of Abu Sayyaf, where it was revealed that Turkey was buying stolen oil from ISIS for $1 a barrel, in turn selling it to Europe for $20 a barrel,” said Sangari.