By Andreas C Chrysafis
September, 2014 (No59) ©
He came…he saw… and he spoke like a true Turkic Sultan on a mission to enlighten his subjects about the birth of a new motherland: Turkey! That man full of grand delusions is none other than Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan who was elected directly by the people and took the oath of office to become the 12th President of Turkey on 28th August 2014.
His vision to establish a Neo-Ottomanism in the lands formerly ruled by the Ottoman Empire is not something new. That has always been his dream and now that he’s a President he will try and proceed with his vision to transform Turkey into a regional power with global ambitions.
Self-assured he foresees himself as the one leader to unite all Muslim Turkic peoples (est. 150- 200 million) into a world power. Successful or not only time will tell! In fact, territorial boundaries are constantly rearranged like shifting sands in the Muslim world where nothing is what it seems.
Mr. Erdogan’s ambitions however, put him in direct competition with the Jihadist “Islamic State” (IS) which also shares similar megalomaniac aspirations to establish its own Islamic caliphate based on strict Sharia Law and ruled by a caliph – a ‘successor” to prophet Muhammad. The interpretation of the Koran may be the one unlikely source to trigger a clash between the two competing camps for the minds and souls for dominance over the Muslim/Islamic world.
On 29 June 2014, the official formation of the “Islamic State” caliphate was announced and immediately a war of brutality was unleashed against the “unbelievers”. That includes all Christians, Shiites, Kurds, Yezidis and other minorities forcing entire villages to either convert to Islam or be beheaded – even Al Qaida broke all ties with this savage group. This is a religious genocide at its worst! It is executed with a vengeance and appears unstoppable; for the moment at least!
Mr. Erdogan a devout Sunni himself has been a longtime sympathizer and a supporter of the ISIS (now Islamic State) fighting against the Assad regime in Syria. In fact Turkey has not been so clean when it comes to the recruitment of IS radicals, black market oil flow and trade activities link to the IS. The Erdogan government admitted that a great number IS Jihadists are Turkish nationals.
To insert his political influence and prominence in the Eastern Mediterranean, Mr. Erdogan has also declared Turkey’s unwavering support for the Palestinians and Hamas – a group that refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist.
Without a doubt, Mr. Erdogan’s political position puts him in direct conflict with USA-Israel. During the Israeli–Gaza conflict, he accused Israel of killing Palestinian mothers by saying: “They kill women so that they will not give birth to Palestinians; they kill babies so that they won’t grow up; they kill men so they can’t defend their country…” and warned that: “They will drown in the blood they shed”. Strong words coming from a head of an allied nation against another US ally!
Can the USA and its allies trust Turkey? That is now becoming questionable.
To put it in perspective, the Islamic State it’s the most repulsive force the world has ever known; they are ruthless, well financed and well-armed with the latest weaponry including sophisticated communication tactics to equal most advanced nations but worse of all, they fear no death and are willing to die for martyrdom.
Thankfully Cyprus is an island but even so, it’s smack in the middle of this geopolitical and religious Armageddon taking place in the region. The Islamic State considers the island – and part of southern Turkey – as part of the old Islamic caliphate of the Levant Region. This puts Cyprus in harms way but even more so with the presence of 400.000 Anatolian Turkish settlers, which Erdogan supports. They play a vital part of Turkey’s geopolitical expansion in Cyprus.
On his official arrival in the occupied north recently – and illegal under international law – Mr. Erdogan spoke of two nations. His speech was designed to provoke rather than to encourage the ongoing bi-zonal, bi-communal federation talks (BBF) for reunification of the island.
In fact he never mentioned once those BBF negotiations but he spoke (for the first time) of two separate countries and warned that: “Turkey will not allow Turkish Cypriots to be incorporated within the Greek-Cypriot state. Everyone must know that Turkey will never accept a Greek Cypriot government turning Turkish Cypriots into a minority”.
He repeated those same provocative statements to the Greek Prime Minister Mr. Antonis Samaras at the NATO summit in Wales. He reiterated that the only solution acceptable to Turkey would be based on two founding states. The Turkish President insisted that: “it would be impossible for his country to accept a solution that did not entail two states and political equality”.
His confrontational manners irritated the Greek PM and triggered a heated debate recognizing that Turkey was never serious for a peaceful solution. In fact, the pseudo-negotiations were none other than Ankara’s cunning charade aimed to deceive and Mr. Eroglu, the current Turkish Cypriot leader is the main protagonist of the entire sham. Mr. Samaras also demanded that Turkey stops its continuous military provocations in the Aegean.
Based on such official revelations, it becomes obvious that Ankara aims to keep its trophy irrespective of what the EU, UN or the Turkish Cypriots say or do; they are as equally trapped! The President’s admissions couldn’t be clearer and proves that the bi-communal negotiations have been a ploy and farce from day one.
Cyprus fell straight into Turkey’s political snare. For forty years it has been nibbled away bit by bit and now has come the time for the final blow and seal the trap.
Obviously the Cyprus government condemned those statements and as always, issued “a complaint” to the United Nations. Irrespective of what the UN says, Ankara’s message is written on the wall for everyone to see. Turkey does not intend to remove its troops and settlers from the occupied north unless pressured to do so.
Mr. Erdogan’s statements on the Cyprus issue not only astounded the Cyprus government but also the USA, which was anticipating a positive breakthrough soon after the elections.
Today, Cyprus finds itself in a new quandary again; where does it go from here?
As a start: it will be wise to drop its current policy of complacency when dealing with Turkey and the Turkish Cypriot leadership and replace it with an offensive long-term strategy. It will also be prudent to forge new dynamic alliances with others to face the enemies of the future; the Islamic State is certainly one of the most dangerous ones. It can flare up from within the occupied area of Cyprus and Turkish Cypriots stand to be swallowed up by the tide.
Repeating the mistakes of the past can no longer be tolerated, justified or excused. Radical changes are necessary to avoid further deterioration. Isolating Russia for example was one of those political mistakes that should have never happened; the government could have abstained! Instead, it decided to vote in favour of the EU trade embargo against Russia to the detriment of its own country and citizens – just like it did with EU-Troika.
Turkey is not stupid and immediately jumped at the opportunity and filled that agriculture trade gap; and why not? Cyprus has now lost that Russian market forever and stands to lose much more such as the finance and tourist trade – and so did EU-Greece for that matter!
Exacerbated, most political parties including the Archbishop of Cyprus have been actively calling for policy changes and finally put a stop to the ongoing charade of the bi-communal talks. There is also a growing movement calling for Cyprus to opt out of the Euro and reassess its entire EU relationship and put an end to the political and economic hemorrhage; a relationship that has not produced the desired results of economic and political stability but rather produced the opposite.
Now that Turkey is being shaped into a Neo-Ottoman nation and the Islamic State keeps growing like poisoned weeds, the Cyprus government has a duty to reassess its priorities.
The choices are stark: continue to protect the banking institutions and EU economic colonization or, introduce sweeping policy changes for the protection and benefit for all Cypriots and the country!
Andreas C Chrysafis
Author – Writer – Artist