Wars and Empire


Q: Can Turkey be drawn into the conflict and, if yes, what effect will this have on Iran, Central Asia, and NATO?



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Q: Can Turkey be drawn into the conflict and, if yes, what effect will this have on Iran, Central Asia, and NATO?

A: It seems Turkey has been drawn into it already. Or rather, Turkey has volunteered to be drawn into it. Iran and Russia, of course, share a very hostile attitude towards any expansion of Turkish influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus. Turkey and Pakistan, on the other hand, may finally find each other after a long period of mutual hostility. They both share a similar geopolitical importance as potential guardians of the West. They are among the most important rim land nations, to borrow a phrase from classical geopolitics. This means that they are also the most important barriers on the way of a heartland empire to aspire to sole Eurasian hegemony.

Turkey has sought to advocate its interests in Central Asia, where most of the Turkistani nations are ethnically Turkic (that is, Uzbeks, Turkmens, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz and Uighurs, while Tajiks are Persian). At the beginning of the 1990's Turkey tried to play the ethnic and linguistic cards and the Central Asians were quite enthusiastic to embrace "the Turkish model" - that is, a Western orientation and secular state. But the Central Asian states are still dominated by communist nomenclatures with strong ties with Moscow.

Turkey's economic problems and generally overly cautious foreign policy have greatly undermined its capacity to advocate its own and Western interests in Central Asia. Moreover, the Central Asian dictators have interpreted the "Turkish model" in most peculiar ways, being often closer to the Chinese model than the Turkish one.

I think Turkey is again trying to prove how pro-Western it is and how loyal it is to NATO. The West has usually been much less loyal to Turkey. When it comes to NATO's influence in Central Eurasia, once Afghanistan is pacified and US presence probably strengthened through Uzbekistan (though it is one of the notoriously disloyal allies of any Western interest, much resembling the role played by Saudi Arabia), it is time to come to Georgia's rescue again. The West had better not be too late in coming to the aid of Georgia and Azerbaijan, which are both under serious Russian pressure right now. If the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline can be completed, then it could be time for a major reform in Iran as well.



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Pakistan's Nice Little War






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