December 28, 2018
In order to secure their position in the Middle East, Saudis have no choice but to adapt their policies according to regional developments and fix their ties with Turkey
The Trump administration’s sudden decision to withdraw the United States’ forces from Syria drastically changes the balance of power in the Middle East. Emerging as a regional power in 2011, Turkey’s political influence in the region is now indisputable. Despite innumerous attempts made to halt the ascent of Turkey’s regional power and the resultant political and social traumas that Turkey went through in the last decade, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political uprightness together with his unyielding against-all-odds attitude and principle of “standing for the right” has concluded this stretch in favor of Turkey.
In 2011, Turkey was shining on the world stage as a democratic Muslim country that was being administered by a conservative and pious leadership, prioritizing the freedom of thought and faith, and promising economic growth and welfare. Seen from the Arab streets, Turkey has been a true role model. Living under the yoke of dictators for decades, the Arab nations had been struggling in the midst of desperate living conditions, authoritarian rules and political corruption. The rich resources of many of those countries had been exploited either by a military or royal oligarch or by Western colonialism itself. Inspired by the image of the new Turkey, Arab people took the streets and eventually rebelled. In other words, it was not the Western democracies, but the democracy of Turkey as a Muslim country that inspired the Arab Spring.
When the Syrian civil war erupted, numerous national and international attempts had been made to halt the rise of Turkey as a regional power. In retrospect, the last decade has been a success story for Turkey which has reappeared in the Middle East as a regional power after reversing the most unfavorable conditions to her advantage.
In 2011, Turkey was shining not only with her growing economy, but also with the demilitarization of politics. Yet, while we were celebrating the end of a long-standing military tutelage over the Turkish democracy, nobody was aware that Turkey was falling to the grips of yet another tutelage construct, i.e. the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ).
Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s attempt to integrate Iran into the new world order concluded with the rise of Iran as an imperial regional power. Appearing as the main rivals of Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) actually took Turkey’s working democracy as a threat for their authoritarian systems of rule. They certainly wished for the success of FETÖ’s failed coup d’état.