• 2 days U.S. On Track To Unseat Saudi Arabia As No.2 Oil Producer In the World
  • 2 days Senior Interior Dept. Official Says Florida Still On Trump’s Draft Drilling Plan
  • 2 days Schlumberger Optimistic In 2018 For Oilfield Services Businesses
  • 3 days Only 1/3 Of Oil Patch Jobs To Return To Canada After Downturn Ends
  • 3 days Statoil, YPF Finalize Joint Vaca Muerta Development Deal
  • 3 days TransCanada Boasts Long-Term Commitments For Keystone XL
  • 3 days Nigeria Files Suit Against JP Morgan Over Oil Field Sale
  • 3 days Chinese Oil Ships Found Violating UN Sanctions On North Korea
  • 3 days Oil Slick From Iranian Tanker Explosion Is Now The Size Of Paris
  • 3 days Nigeria Approves Petroleum Industry Bill After 17 Long Years
  • 4 days Venezuelan Output Drops To 28-Year Low In 2017
  • 4 days OPEC Revises Up Non-OPEC Production Estimates For 2018
  • 4 days Iraq Ready To Sign Deal With BP For Kirkuk Fields
  • 4 days Kinder Morgan Delays Trans Mountain Launch Again
  • 4 days Shell Inks Another Solar Deal
  • 5 days API Reports Seventh Large Crude Draw In Seven Weeks
  • 5 days Maduro’s Advisors Recommend Selling Petro At Steep 60% Discount
  • 5 days EIA: Shale Oil Output To Rise By 1.8 Million Bpd Through Q1 2019
  • 5 days IEA: Don’t Expect Much Oil From Arctic National Wildlife Refuge Before 2030
  • 5 days Minister Says Norway Must Prepare For Arctic Oil Race With Russia
  • 5 days Eight Years Late—UK Hinkley Point C To Be In Service By 2025
  • 5 days Sunk Iranian Oil Tanker Leave Behind Two Slicks
  • 5 days Saudi Arabia Shuns UBS, BofA As Aramco IPO Coordinators
  • 5 days WCS-WTI Spread Narrows As Exports-By-Rail Pick Up
  • 5 days Norway Grants Record 75 New Offshore Exploration Leases
  • 5 days China’s Growing Appetite For Renewables
  • 6 days Chevron To Resume Drilling In Kurdistan
  • 6 days India Boosts Oil, Gas Resource Estimate Ahead Of Bidding Round
  • 6 days India’s Reliance Boosts Export Refinery Capacity By 30%
  • 6 days Nigeria Among Worst Performers In Electricity Supply
  • 6 days ELN Attacks Another Colombian Pipeline As Ceasefire Ceases
  • 6 days Shell Buys 43.8% Stake In Silicon Ranch Solar
  • 6 days Saudis To Award Nuclear Power Contracts In December
  • 7 days Shell Approves Its First North Sea Oil Project In Six Years
  • 7 days China Unlikely To Maintain Record Oil Product Exports
  • 7 days Australia Solar Power Additions Hit Record In 2017
  • 7 days Morocco Prepares $4.6B Gas Project Tender
  • 7 days Iranian Oil Tanker Sinks After Second Explosion
  • 9 days Russia To Discuss Possible Exit From OPEC Deal
  • 9 days Iranian Oil Tanker Drifts Into Japanese Waters As Fires Rage On
Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani

Claude Salhani is the senior editor with Trend News Agency and is a journalist, author and political analyst based in Baku, specializing in the Middle…

More Info

Turkey's New Role in Mideast Worries Many

Turkey's New Role in Mideast Worries Many

After losing its empire to the Western powers at the close of WWI in 1918, Turkey is now making a comeback in the region, a policy that has many people questioning the wisdom of Prime Minister Erdogan’s policies.

Indeed, after continuous delays in being granted entry into the European Union Turkey had little choice but to turn eastwards once more. A move that was quite predictable in view of the EU’s stance vis-à-vis Turkey.

But the reappearance of Turkey in Arab politics has many asking if Ankara’s politics are wise, or is Turkey about to become dragged into more than it bargained for?

Senior Turkish diplomats in the region admit that the situation in Syria, in which Turkey is now directly concerned has Ankara “very worried.” And with just cause.

Turkey shares a long border with Syria and like its neighbor to its south has large numbers of minority groups, including Alawites and Kurds, both of which play important roles in Syria. The danger of having the conflict extend into Turkey is something that is very present in the minds of Turkish leaders.

Having taken a clear stand in the Syrian conflict in favor of the opposition fighting the regime of President Bashar Assad now places Turkey as one of the many actors in this conflict that is taking on new forms day by day and with no predictable outcome on the horizon.

Already Turkey has had one of its warplanes shot down over Syria earlier this summer and a number of its citizens were abducted in Beirut two weeks ago.

“The situation is difficult to predict,” the diplomatic source said, in reference to the current unrest in Syria. To say the least, it is highly unpredictable. And so too are Turkey’s role and political ambitions in the Middle East.

Right now Turkey and Iran are vying for a leadership role in the Middle East, trying to win the hearts and minds of the Arab countries. In view of the current lack of traditional Arab leadership there is an open position to be filled.

Egypt, Syria and Iraq, the more traditional leaders in the Arab world are currently preoccupied by their domestic problems.

Oil-rich Saudi Arabia and Qatar have been trying to pick up the slack but they come with a handicap: the Gulf countries, while they have the necessary cash on hand thanks to the oil revenues they nevertheless lack the charismatic clout andhistoric political appeal needed to draw in the masses from the street that leaders from Egypt and Syria and to a lesser degree, Iraq, were capable of drawing in the past.

And much like Turkey, they too, have come out in full support of the Syrian opposition. As a result neither Riyadh nor Doha can be seen as honest brokers in the Syrian conflict.

In their efforts to stake their claim in the Arab world both Ankara and Tehran are reaching out through new media projects aimed at the Arab world. Iran has invested millions in television broadcast in Press TV, in English, and Al-Alam, in Arabic, and is pressing ahead with plans for even more broadcasting channels in Arabic based in Beirut. Similarly, Anadolu Agency, Turkey’s government run news agency is enlarging its Arabic service, opening up bureaus across the region and hiring staff to report in Arabic.

While the voices objecting to Iranian involvement may be muted, many in Turkey question if bringing Turkey into the fray of Middle East politics does not simply extend the conflict, or as some foresee, reviving old wounds from the days with the Ottoman Empire ruled the Levant and beyond.

Memories in this part of the world tend to linger. As a young Kosovar Albanian once said to me, “We used to be Christian but now we are Muslim.” Somewhat confused I asked him, what exactly did he mean by “we used to be Christian?”

“Of course,” he said, “Seven-hundred and fifteen years ago we were Christians.”

By. Claude Salhani for Oilprice.com

Claude Salhani, a specialist in conflict resolution, is an independent journalist, political analyst and author of several books on the region. His latest book, 'Islam Without a Veil,' is published by Potomac Books. He tweets @claudesalhani.




Back to homepage


Leave a comment
  • Philip Andrews on August 31 2012 said:
    Memories; 2000 years ago the Greeks were Romans. They stil call themselves that...

    There is still some ambiguity over whether that Turkish olane was shot down over Syria or over the Med; Syrian waters or international?

    Memories and ambiguities are it seems what the ME is all about, much of the time...
  • Taiwandoger on September 02 2012 said:
    This is a reply to Philip Andrews,
    Dear mate the Greeks never call themselves as Greeks, this is inaccurate, this was imposed by Turkish and still works today and maintained by Greeks for tourist promotion reasons. The Greeks call themselves Hellenes in everyday modern Greek language, as they did 4500 years ago in ancient Greek. Please also note that the Greeks you like to call them are now Christians but 5000 years ago believed in the 12 gods of Mount Olympus, Christians today they are, but Mount Olympus is still standing there as well as the island of Patmos were St. John conceive the book of revelation.
    Cheers mate.

Leave a comment




Oilprice - The No. 1 Source for Oil & Energy News