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- Written by Fatih
- Category: World News
This has had a huge impact on U.S. foreign policy. With Washington no longer able to depend on the status quo in Tunis, Cairo, Manama, Sana’a, Damascus or Tripoli, regional leadership in the Middle East has been thrown up in the air. And Erdogan has been leaping for it ever since.
Turkey’s tremendous economic growth over the past several years has shattered Israel’s monopoly on regional markets. With a flourishing, globally competitive technology and manufacturing sector in Istanbul, Turkey has usurped the market share in many industries throughout the Middle East. Ankara and Tel Aviv were bound to clash over investment, trade matters, and energy. Recently Israel and Turkey have sparred over drilling for gas off the coast of Cyprus. Both countries are dependent on the region for its oil and gas supplies. Both are eager to dominate that dependence.
With a rapidly growing economy that risks overheating, Erdogan is desperate for reliable and cost-effective energy sources for Turkey’s increasingly entrepreneurial and productive population. The Turkish Prime Minister came to power based on his ability to manage the country’s economy. With the risk of inflation, Erdogan cannot afford for energy prices to go up, especially as the winter months approach.
The question is, can the Turkish prime minister afford to take on Israel, a staunch ally of the United States on energy and, more significantly, regional leadership? Doesn’t Ankara, or more specifically Erdogan, fear falling out with Washington? Apparently not. In fact, there seems to be no end to Erdogan’s confidence that the US and Israel need him more than he needs them.
After all, Turkey holds the strongest diplomatic cards in resolving the conflict in Syria and seems to be the only country that can pressure Bashar al-Assad. Turkey is also the only country in the region that can push back against Iranian influence. Indeed a recent poll of Arab nations revealed that Turkey now tops all favorability ratings in the region, while Iran rests at the bottom. Turkey is solidifying American dependence by upping its NATO role. Ankara is planning on hosting an early warning radar as part of NATO’s missile defense system. And Turkey has become one of the most valuable markets for Israeli businesses.
In other words, try as they might, the old players of the Middle East, particularly Israel, are slowly succumbing to the Turkish prime minister and his party’s dream of dominating the Middle East. What Erdogan plans to do with this new power - whether he will pull the breaks himself or catapult head on into battle with one or more of Turkey’s neighbors - remains to be seen. But this much is certain, Turkey’s neighbors better be wary of angering the growing new superpower of the region.
By Elmira Bayrasli, Aslan Media Contributor
*Photo Credit: World Economic Forum
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