Why Erdogan needs a crisis with Greece

Ω Heraklis Roupas

Despite the fact that, for diplomatic reasons, Turkey's ongoing proclivities are characterized as tactics, the reality is quite different. Its overall strategy in recent years highlights an aggressive blueprint, with the ultimate goal of encircling Greece, through the extortionist formulation of a broader bargaining chip, based on the reorganization of the region's energy map and and not only that.

Its involvement in Syria with the aim of drawing up regional bargaining power in Libya for the same reason and under the guise of the illegal Turkish-Libyan memorandum should not be misunderstood as a bluffing, or as tactics. The disarray of the international political scene, due to the economic consequences of the pandemic, the inability for EU members to coordinate in time, the problematic situation in the US (which is in a "sensitive" pre-election period), the moves and actions of Russia in redefining its international strategy, as well as those of China, seem to be leaving room for the aggressive plans of expansionist Turkey.

This planning, for the first time in decades, seems to be showing that creating a situation of a "confrontation" with Greece is a one way street. If we take into account the fact that the country is heading for a new crisis and its armed forces are being reorganized (slowly but surely), every analyst concludes that Turkey considers the time to be ideal for the aggressive development of its existing maximalist approaches.

Consequently, we are no longer in the age of incentives and disincentives. This era has passed irrevocably. The strategy of a bluff no longer exists, ending the argument that some kind of negotiation is possible in order to appease Turkey, as some analysts and top politicians have wrongly argued.

Turkey's aggressive policy is a one-way street

Those who do not realize that a confrontation is being seen more closely than in the past should analyze the overall development and cultural model of Turkey over the last fifteen years. Only then will they realize that Turkey's aggressive policy is the only way for its economic and historic survival. Unfortunately, we are obliged to show that we have a corresponding policy as a country, without the alternative plan for an illusion of appeasement.

The general geopolitical changes create the need for aggressive moves on the part of the Turkish government, with the aim of maintaining in every way the existing model of a peculiar social homogenization, but also the development of Turkey. Developments are forcing it into extreme reactions, in order to create opportunities in the emerging new milieu of world trade and beyond.

The divergence of the developmental culture that has developed in recent years can hardly be supported any longer, unless it can accrue comparative advantages by acquiring energy sources, through a provocatively demanding international revisionist strategy. This policy starts with Greece, but extends to Libya, Yemen, Somalia and Iraq.

Turkey still has the potential to compete with low-production cost countries such as China, but this path will not be sustainable for a long time. Modifying the model of globalization (as it has been until now), into a new type of "hybrid" agreement with a small number of players, may lead to the destruction of Turkey's developmental structure, with unpredictable consequences for its internal structure.

The new Islamic bourgeoisie

In this context, given the low level of its workforce by the model that Erdogan has chosen to promote, sustaining Turkey's growth rates can be made possible by extreme productive policies, such as armaments programs (and not only) targeted at third parties, friendly countries, with a common philosophy and culture.

The need to maintain the socio-economic model of the last 10-20 years (by promoting social groups of a critical mass), creates the need to keep them in the forefront at all costs. It is this need that has shaped Turkey's overall revisionist foreign policy. This is the main reason why its unpredictable strategy does not follow alliance-building norms.

Turkey's development, as well as Erdogan's support base over the past 15 years, has been characterized by marked differences in both geographical targeting and the political-religious agenda. Emphasis was placed on strengthening areas outside the historical influence of the conservative Kemalist establishment. The choice of Anatolia, compared to the Kemalist coast, served this dimension. A new model of state development and operation, collective and Turkish-centric, was developed in these areas.

In the context of the "Islamic economy", the project was baptized "moral capitalism", giving a dimension of coherence and common vision, but mainly of cooperation and mutual aid. Characteristics that are necessary in any country that is trying to rebuild from the ground up, or to form a new base of social and economic culture. The "tigers of Anatolia", through their overall connection with the "Islamic Association of Entrepreneurs", have emerged as a new bourgeoisie, quite distinct from the erstwhile traditional "Kemalist capital".

Bursting the Turkish "bubble"

Every development cycle, however, with the characteristics of Turkish economic development, is followed by a sharp recession, or by many from the bursting of the "bubble". In addition to its geostrategic problems with Syria, Turkey is at the end of its development cycle. As a result, it is easy to see why such a possibility needs to be given a new "basis of cohesion" by Erdogan (even if it raises historical controversy and extreme challenges) so that the generation that he has promoted remains strong.

Erdogan's strategy, however, has evolved in the context of globalization, as such existed until a few years ago. Today, this framework is leading to a comprehensive overhaul through hybrid crises and bilateral trade and economic agreements. In this new economic environment, Turkey cannot survive. Relations that have developed, both internally and externally, are in danger of being wiped out by a general global revisionism.

Its only way out is to create, through the imposition or involvement in other forms, Islamic economic zones, adapted to its own economic model. Above all, however, the existence of new energy sources in order to replace the gradual reduction of the competitiveness of the Turkish economy. From the perspective of "hybrid" geopolitical balances and economic reading of new data, the existence of new energy sources is an issue for Turkey's survival.

More specifically, it is an issue of Erdogan's political survival and his socio-political philosophy. This is the reason why some form of confrontation with Greece should be expected as the most likely scenario. It may now be Turkey's goal in the one-way street in its "game" of new balances. It is up to the Greek government to save time with the aim of developing both its diplomatic campaign and the strengthening of the armed forces.

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