Neo-Ottomanist Invasion Proceeds – V. U. Arslan
Currently, 4 regions in Northern Syria are in the hands of Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and TAF-led armed groups.
Policy shift from former Foreign Minister Davutoglu's “zero problems with neighbours” to "Turkey does not fit within existing borders" is related to the AKP's spotting of new opportunities in the Middle East. The turmoil in the Middle East meant new possibilities and neighboring Syria in particular was fragile. The opportunistic character immediately came to light: “We cannot close our eyes to what is happening in this ancient Ottoman land” and so on…
The opportunities were utilized. Failure to overthrow the Assad regime was a fiasco; but the AKP "utilized" new opportunities that emerged as time went on. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) militia, which remained unprotected and moneyless over time, were recruited as mercenaries and turned into the armed unit of the TAF. The USA's retreat from the region and the alliance with Russia opened new doors, and eventually conditions were matured to get a slice of the cake from Syria.
One of the most important aspects of the expansionist policy of AKP is related to the Kurdish national movement. The TAF, which can organize pinpoint drone attacks to the Qandil region (the headquarter of PKK) in Iraq, also showed its strength in Idlib. The TAF, which uses the technological facilities very well, has turned the military balances in its favor to a great extent. Indeed, the national aspirations of the Kurdish people in Rojava have been heavily damaged. The Rojava arch in the east-west direction, which was supposed to be a new experience, is now almost a dream. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), which lost the Afrin and Tel Abyad - Ras al-Ayn lines to the AKP-guided FSA and saved Kobani and Qamishli regions only through the Russian intervention and concessions to Damascus, is dependent on the USA. The SDF was left alone when things got complicated but it was used to be celebrated by the West while fighting against ISIS. The SDF holds vital oil regions for Damascus on behalf of the USA. Damascus is on its beam ends and the AKP front is happy with this. For now, they are not in a position to worry about US weapons and oil revenue going to the SDF. Because the balances in the Syrian field are reversed, this time the USA is needed as a balance power against Russia. In short, the current deadlock in the Syrian land will serve the goals of the AKP.
With the AKP's intervention, the balance of power has changed a lot in Libya. The FSA, together with the Tripoli-based Islamist militants, repelled the Haftar troops that push for Tripoli and launched a counterattack. Thus, the Tripoli-based GNA has secured the coastline in the west of Tripoli as well as securing Tripoli. It was once again the TAF drones that made these advances possible. Aerial footage of demolition of military equipment sent by the UAE to Haftar are constantly served to the media. Apart from that, the TAF's military experts are also on the field. News of secretly buried TAF officers and members of the National Intelligence Service in the last months had made tremendous impact in Turkey. In short, Haftar and his allies seem helpless. Even though the news of 8 Russian warplanes coming from Syria and the threat of a "big air strike" from Haftar’s officials is reflected in the press, it is quite possible for the TAF to attack in Libya with F-16s as a response. Sisi, who is the most disturbed by the progress of the Tripoli-based GNA, will consider “overtrumping”, but after this point, he has any more options. Pantsir air defense system of the UAE was ineffective against the TAF drones. What else can Egypt provide for the Haftar troops? The best scenario that they can compromise on is that Russia pull the wires and an agreement on a divided Libya. But in this case, the agreements signed by the GNA, which the UN recognized as a legitimate government, would mean the consolidation of AKP’s conquest in the northern Africa.
As seen, an objective assessment shows that the expansionist policies of the AKP has made room for itself in the Middle East under the current regional conditions. Well, is this “room” guaranteed? In my opinion, international balances are quite favorable for the AKP, but the main problem is internal: the economic crisis and social opposition. At least half of the country is not pleased with the AKP government and moreover, the AKP is losing its ground little by little. Although this expansionist sub-imperialist policy is “successful”, there is no increase in the AKP's social support. The AKP has polarized the country so much that Erdoğan’s sub-imperialist "successes" have received little attention other than his own base.
As long as the AKP remains in power, it will not give up this Neo-Ottomanist expansion policy. However, the economic situation is disastrous. Sources allocated to military spending put a strain on the weak economy. Oil revenue which is supposed to come from Libya is not piece of cake and it is certain that it will not be coming today or day the after. As a result, high taxes taken from the laborers and those derived from cheap labor in Turkey is spent for this military purposes. Hence, this expansionist policy is the enemy of the working class. A consistent anti-imperialism requires opposing this aggression.