Former member of the AKP and Erdogan’s close friend Metin Kulunk, on August 29, 2020, took to his Twitter account to announce a map of Greater-Turkey that goes back to the era of Seljuk empire when it defeated the Byzantine Empire in the year 1071. The map includes vast territories spanning from northern Greece to the east Aegean islands, half of Bulgaria, Cyprus, most of Kurdistan, Armenia and large swaths of Georgia, Iraq and Syria.
The move clearly shows Turkey to be in an aggressive mode as it is getting clearer that Turkey is now moving towards the ‘revival’ of the Ottoman caliphate or the Ottoman Empire which came to an end a century back.
The Modern Diplomacy carries an article on September 2, 2020, by the headline ‘Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanism is knocking at the Door’ and highlights the politics involved in this policy-shift of Turkey. ‘ It refers to the aims of Turkey’s of reclaiming the territories that were held by the Ottomans before its collapse.
Turkey is all eyes on the revival of the greater Turkey. It is obvious that in the contemporary world and the international law, no state can acquire and annex lands that are declared states but Turkey aims to have economic influence on the territories that were once part of greater Turkey.
Suakin Island and Cyprus
According to some scholars, Turkey has built its largest military base in Suakin Islands (Sudan) and these islands are strategically important for the Middle East as it serves as crossroads between the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, Saudi Arabia and East Africa. Also, these islands are Sudan’s largest ports for trade with the world; Turkey’s increased presence in the Horn of Africa is making Egypt and Saudi Arabia uncomfortable.
It seems like Turkey is focused on establishing its foothold on the energy corridors such as Suakin Islands, it has increased its number of troops in the Northern Cyprus by around 30,000. It also has made maritime territorial claims off the coast of Cyprus over new gas discoveries.
TAKM, a Turkish alternative to NATO
In addition, Turkey has also increased its presence in the Central Asia by establishing economic ties with various countries. The depth of relations is evident from the making of TAKM (Turkic military force). It is perceived as the Turk version of NATO. This force includes the states of Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Mongolia’.
Turkey was first to announce to snap ties with the UAE after the formalization of UAE-Israel relations on August 14, 2020, as Palestine is also a former part of Ottoman Empire.
Cyprus is where Turkey and Greece are locked-up in a tussle. The importance of this small island is that it lies in-between Turkey and Israel. Here, Israel wants Cyprus and its waters to be registered as Greek territory, as then the European Union would intervene in the case of increased Turkish occupation in Cyprus, as Israel concerns that Turkey might use its military force (increased by 30,000 soldiers in just a year) in Cyprus against Jerusalem.
Greece is being supported by Israel, France, Egypt, US and UAE.