Has Erdogan run out of friends?
The Turkish president finds himself increasingly at odds with the rest of the world
The Trump Administration’s decision to directly arm Kurds fighting ISIS in Syria is a slap in the face to Turkey, which fears that a Kurdish victory in Syria’s north will create a Kurdish corridor stretching from the Kurdish-ruled zone of northern Iraq all the way across Syria to the Mediterranean, and act as a magnet for Kurdish separates in Turkey’s Southeast on its border with Iraq and Syria.
China, meanwhile, is fuming at Turkey for failing to act against ethnic Turkish Uyghurs from China. The Chinese daily Global Times wrote April 17 of Erdogan’s constitutional referendum, “The referendum result in Turkey that gives the president sweeping powers has caused concern among Chinese observers who predict pan-Turkism ideals might be reinforced and pose more challenges to China to counter terrorist groups like the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)…The win will likely give rise to pan-Turkism, which will make some political powers in the country sympathize or even support terrorists, separatists and religious extremists in China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.” China, like Russia, supports the Assad regime in Syria against Turkish-supported Sunni rebels.
The German government, meanwhile, continues to express grave concerns about rule of law in Turkey following a referendum that appears to have involved vote fraud on the grand scale. Erdogan flew to Sochi May 3 to meet Russian President Putin and declared that the healing process in Russian-Turkish relations was complete.
The old adage about cats applies to the parties in Syria: from the sound of them it’s hard to tell if they are fighting or making love. But it is possible that Erdogan has overreached and made too many enemies to handle at one time.