Arab, regional and global countries are leading a comprehensive strategy to combat terrorism, root out extremism, block terrorist activities and limit their spread in the Middle East and the world at large. These countries have made strides in fighting terrorism militarily as well as on the intellectual and cultural levels, and have achieved victories that greatly contributed to the containment of terrorism, drying up its resources and trim down its capabilities. However, these moves have collided with challenges and counter policies from countries in the region, which continued to put a spoke in the wheel of counter-terrorism process, mainly these by the Turkish President Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party.

The fact is that Turkey has openly given up the anti-terrorism coalition is due its inability to maintain a balance between supporting and fighting terrorism, and its inability to move forward with this contradiction and hiding its support for terrorist groups, especially as this would limit its terrorist activities. Consequently, Turkey refused to cooperate and participate in fighting terrorism and moved forward in supporting terrorism and countries sponsoring it, and that is why it turned its attention to Iran after the acquisition of Qatar through the Muslim Brotherhood.

But the question here is how Turkey turned suddenly from an enemy to a friend of Iran?

Turkey, led by President Erdogan and the Justice and Development Party (AKP), has chosen to take the side of the Syrian people, who revolted against the Syrian regime after decades of failing to run the country, even though Erdogan used to be a close friend of Bashar al-Assad! This is not surprising if we know that the Muslim Brotherhood’s doctrine states that positions can be reversed if ambitions so require. However, Erdogan did not like the idea that this revolution might succeed and bring another regime to rule and run the country. Therefore, his intervention aimed at occupying parts of the Syrian territory as well as controlling the Syrian sovereign decision, i.e. to control Syria completely as a first step towards restoring the dream of the empire of his Ottoman ancestors. Thus, the Turkish regime began to form terrorist groups, and it established training bases for them to be sent later to Syria to fight the Assad regime. However, the military intervention by another party, with the same ambitions and expansionist goals, the Iranian regime, in the Syrian equation has thwarted Erdogan’s plans and their forces started to fight over the bodies of the Syrian citizens until they reached a deal to split the prey between them after the mediation of Russia and Qatar. The two parties have been able to conclude an expansionary terrorist agreement at the expense of the Arab countries and this is what can explain the sudden change of Erdogan’s position towards Iran.

Erdogan had to withdraw from any move that might affect his illusion of creating a Turkish empire at the expense of the Arab states. The plan was to spread chaos and fighting in the countries of the region to the extent that Turkey can intervene under various pretexts to spread the Ikhwani thought and controlling peoples either by poisoned ideology or by force and intimidation. And this requires creating and deploying terrorist groups in these countries, especially after the victories achieved by the international coalition in eliminating ISIS. That is why Turkey has turned to Iran and Qatar to form a coalition that would openly support terrorism.

The AKP’s policies have led to disastrous consequences for Turkey, especially after Kurdish groups have seized a large part of the border between Turkey and Syria and began threatening to form a Kurdish state in those areas. In addition to that, Ankara lost most of its strong allies, where Erdogan’s allies confined to Qatar and Iran, especially after building hostilities with Arab countries having influence and strength in the region such as the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and others. Erdogan’s policies also led to economic problems that are worsening day by day. Turkey is now subjected to severe criticism that has even turned to sanctions by the international community because of the freedom repression and the large number of arrests and violations of human rights. The Turkish government’s policies have led to a marked increase in Turkey’s regional and global isolation and the creation of new enemies, leading to a deterioration in the security situation and the continuation of terrorist operations.

This situation has prompted the political parties in Turkey, which realized the danger of the Erdogan and AKP policies, to take a firm stance and call for changing the policies of the Turkish government and to stop dragging the country into crisis with the neighboring countries. Turkish public opinion also considers that the government is responsible for many terrorist attacks and that its wrong policies have led to insecurity and instability. It is therefore necessary to stop such policies immediately before Turkey slides into the abyss of security chaos and the difficult economic conditions and social problems.

Therefore, the Turkish opposition to Erdogan will expand further in the coming months, despite all the oppressive methods and arrests by the security forces against opponents, for many reasons, the most important of which is the deterioration of the economic situation, which led to a decline in the economic growth, high unemployment and low foreign investments. Additionally, the political instability because of the war waged by Erdogan’s party against the opposition political parties and the resulting divisions and differences in positions and opinions. The third reason is the insistence of the ruling party to move forward with its political mistakes, which led to the further isolation of Turkey and brought more problems and crises.

Al  Mezmaah  Studies & Research Centre

14  January   2018