Turkey's ambitions exceed its actual capabilities: Turkologist comments on Ankara's foreign policy
08:55, 30 January 2024
YEREVAN, JANUARY 30, ARMENPRESS. Turkologist Ruben Safrastyan, commenting on Turkey's foreign policy, believes that the country's ambitions exceed its actual capabilities. In an interview with "Armenpress," the turkologist noted that Ankara, however, is taking steps to align its ambitions with real opportunities.
According to him, while Turkey remains a middle power, it aspires to position itself as one of the most powerful states in the world.
"By giving the green light to Sweden on NATO membership, Turkey essentially struck a deal with the US and was able to get what it had been pursuing for about three years. The approval of Sweden's membership served as a pretext in that deal, but it fundamentally concerned the ratification of the supply of forty American F-16 fighter jets.
The Turkish army already has about eighty such fighters, and the American side should also modify them. It is important for the US that Turkey continues to be its faithful ally in the Middle East because its geographical position and the presence of a combat-ready army are of great importance from the point of view of implementing NATO's plans in that region," said the expert.
According to Safrastyan, Turkey has also achieved its goals with Sweden, as official Stockholm has started to impose stricter conditions and restrictions on public speeches by Kurdish exile figures in Sweden, thereby abandoning its policy of allowing people the opportunity to freely express themselves and carry out actions.
"Turkey's decision was not a surprise for Russia, which is in conflict with the North Atlantic Alliance. From the beginning, it was clear to everyone, including Moscow, that Ankara would sooner or later take that step, and, by and large, could not prevent new members from joining the alliance. Turkey was just trying to address its problems during that entire period. It is no coincidence that the official reaction of the Russian side was quite calm," said Safrastyan.
Referring to the question of whether the Turkish side's political maneuvers in the South Caucasus are not excluded, considering the frequent mention of the so-called "Zangezur Corridor," which is opposed by the Islamic Republic of Iran, the turkologist noted that although Ebrahim Raisi, during his visit to Turkey, spoke against the inadmissibility of red lines and border changes in the region, official Ankara will continue to pursue its policy. The goal is for Turkey and Azerbaijan, by violating the territorial integrity of Armenia, to establish a direct land connection between each other.
"Turkey's pressure on this matter will persist, and Iran is unlikely to engage in confrontation or a military clash with Turkey at this stage, as it seeks to avoid conflicts and potential attacks outside its territory. Rather, one can anticipate adventurous actions from Azerbaijan, given its alliance with Turkey and shared interests. The 'Zangezur Corridor' is primarily strategically vital for Turkey because it establishes a connection to the Turkish-speaking countries of Central Asia, significantly increasing its political influence all over the world.
The annual GDP of Turkish-speaking countries amounts to more than one trillion dollars, which is equally significant. On the other hand, Turkey strives to play a significant role in the London-Beijing logistics axis, connecting a substantial part of the world economy in the future," Safrastyan explained.
Nevertheless, according to him, there is a simple reality that should not be overlooked. As much as Turkey is trying to participate in the implementation of logistics mega-projects, it has not been able to complete the construction of the 200 km section of the railway that should connect Kars with Azerbaijan through Nakhichevan.
"They have been talking about it for years, but it is not being built. Turkey is now attempting to address the issue with the assistance of Azerbaijan, with which it signed an agreement for joint financing last year, actually involving the funds generated from the sale of oil and gas by Azerbaijan. According to Safrastyan, the winners of the tenders are already known, and preparations will commence soon.
Turkey sometimes harbors rather great ambitions, but sometimes they do not have enough resources for their implementation; in other words, Turkey's ambitions exceed its actual capabilities," Ruben Safrastyan concluded.