03.08.2016 Author: Viktor Mikhin

The Failed Coup in Turkey – the Region Faces New Realities

453453453Hardly had the failed coup attempt come to an end when numerous facts emerged that allow us to make far-reaching conclusions on the new realities that have formed in the region.

First, for example, is the news that the international media have actively broadcast that the UAE played a rather active role in the Turkish coup. Just a few days ago, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of the UAE, Mohammed bin Zayed Al-Nahyan made an announced visit to Doha, where he held secret talks with the Emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani. Moreover, neither the UAE nor Qatari media covered the event and the Qatari television channel, Al Jazeera, was no exception. Famous Turkish journalist, Ismail Basha, pointed out that the purpose of Al Nahyan’s visit was to persuade Qatar to act as mediator in negotiations between the UAE and Turkey on settling relations. According to some media reports, the UAE authorities financed the military coup in Turkey, which is evidenced by published details of the conspirators’ plan.

If this assertion is true, there is no doubt that the UAE, which cannot be considered an independent player on the world stage, particularly in the Persian Gulf area, are backed up by other countries, in this case, Saudi Arabia and the United States. In particular, the TV channels Sky News and Al-Arabiya, sponsored by Saudi Arabia, spoke out in support of the insurgents and the coverage of events in Turkey showed Sky News and Al-Arabiya journalists pleased to report on the success of the coup, and that President Erdogan intended to flee the country. A further argument supporting the idea of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the coup is demonstrated by the fact that Riyadh took 15 hours to react to the events in Ankara and Istanbul while many others immediately expressed their condemnation for the attempted uprising.

Riyadh does not like Erdogan’s policy aimed at upping Turkey’s role in the region and creating a new Ottoman Empire, which, as per history, would include most of the Arab states. Ankara is conducting an increasingly independent policy in Syria: it is not coordinating its plans with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United States, which are the main financial donors and weapon suppliers to various groups of terrorists. It is these countries that are responsible for the transformation of the once prosperous Syria into a scorched land akin to a cemetery. Will the leaders of these countries accept the responsibility for their criminal activities or will everything be reduced to false apologies as it was with Iraq. Apparently, the impunity of a number of states, especially in the West, will continue to provoke the growth of terrorism in various regions of the world, and their victims will not be the Western leaders, but ordinary citizens destined to pay for the “game” their leaders are playing.

Having failed to benefit from the so-called Turkish coup and losing its position in the region on all counts, Saudi Arabia, by way of its Minister of Foreign Affairs, Adel al-Jubeir, proposed that Russia enter into economic cooperation with the Persian Gulf countries provided that the Russian Federation refrains from supporting the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The minister stated that Saudi Arabia and Russia are of the same opinion of what the outcome of the Syrian conflict should be; their differences lie in the means by which it should be achieved.

Meanwhile, inside Turkey there is increasing anti-American sentiment due to the widespread assumption that the United States had a hand in organising the coup. For example, the Voice of America correspondent ​​in Istanbul was forced to flee from an angry mob at least twice. Public anger was also provoked when two American politicians expressed their approval of the participants of the uprising as it was still ongoing. One of them was Congressman of California, Brad Sherman, the second – the senator of the State of Virginia, Richard Black.

The world’s media is pointing out that NATO did not even warn Turkey, a NATO member, about the potential threat. A number of experts drew attention to the fact that the events in Turkey, which is a “significant and very active” member of NATO, took place a little over week following the NATO Summit in Warsaw. The largest military-political structure that has every means of ensuring security at its disposal did not say a word about the potential threat not only to Turkey’s security but the regional security as a whole. A question arises then: was the problem of regime change in Turkey discussed and planned at the summit given that Erdogan has been increasingly “struggling to free himself” from NATO’s grip?

Interestingly, the failed coup attempt has led to changes in the policy of a number of states – Russia, Turkey and Iran. The Iranian news agency, Fars, received confirmation from official sources in Ankara of the fact that Turkey was warned by Russia and it is unclear what the results of the events would have been if the intelligence hadn’t been received from Moscow. Iranian media also reported that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were aware of the coup but chose not to share this information with their ally, Erdogan.

Oddly enough, the failed military coup attempt has led to a dramatic improvement in relations between Russia and Turkey. Both Russian and Turkish media have dropped any negative material about each other. It was more about establishing friendly relations now. A clear example of this was the unusually rapid restoration of air travel to and from Turkey and a sharp increase in Russian tourists to Turkish resorts.

The unsuccessful coup attempt has also led to a possible tripartite alliance between Russia, Turkey and Iran. “We intend to cooperate with Iran and Russia to solve regional problems together and significantly reinforce our steps towards returning peace and stability to the region,” said Erdogan.

The two Islamic states of Iran and Turkey alone have a total population of 150 million people and play a significant role in the affairs of the region. The West, as history has demonstrated, has sought to prevent an alliance between these countries for over three centuries, pitting them against each other or against Russia.
Now, however, in the new reality, the establishment of a tripartite alliance with Russia will allow Iran and Turkey to strengthen their position in the Muslim world. After that, the Cooperation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf and its leading member, Saudi Arabia, will lose its dominant role in the region and will no longer dare to threaten the interests of Ankara and Tehran and, under the pressure of these circumstances, will cease to be hostile towards Russia.

Viktor Mikhin, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

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