Turkish Hyper-Activity Reverberates Throughout the Middle East

Institute for Contemporary Affairs

Founded jointly with the Wechsler Family Foundation

Vol. 20, No. 20

Turkish Hyper-Activity Reverberates Throughout the Middle East
  • In recent months, Turkey has increased its efforts to enhance its position as a regional power following in the path of the Ottoman Empire, adopting daring measures that border on megalomania at home, in the region, and internationally.
  • A video with distinct nationalistic themes was recently broadcast by the Turkish Ministry of Information. The film is entitled, “The Red Apple [kizil elma],” which is a Turkish cultural concept describing Turkey’s ambition to achieve superpower status. Beyond the context of Turkey’s religious battles in Istanbul, the Turkish video also displays a troubling appetite for Jerusalem and Saudi Arabia’s holy sites in Mecca and Medina.
  • In the Persian Gulf, where Qatar is at odds with the Emirates and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Turkey has allied itself with Qatar. Some 5,000 Turkish soldiers are stationed in Qatar to help Doha protect itself and deter enemies.
  • Turkey also displays considerable hyper-activity in Palestinian and Israeli issues. Turkey stands in solidarity with Hamas, Turkey’s partner and protégé in the Muslim Brotherhood camp. Turkish citizenship and passports were granted to a “dozen” Hamas activists, including convicted terrorists.1
  • For the United States, Turkey’s military acquisitions present a problem. Erdoğan’s determination to acquire Russia’s advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missile system forced the United States to cancel a deal to supply F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to Turkey.
  • Do not underestimate President Erdoğan’s ability to utilize Turkey’s strategic assets to advance his bold strategies. To prevent Erdoğan from provocations against Israel, it must be made clear to him the limits to the actions that Israel is willing to tolerate.