New Eastern Outlook 12.03.2016
While the ceasefire in Syria agreed upon by Russia and the US is being successfully implemented, the possible Turkish intervention in Syria that at some point seemed imminent is being gradually pushed aside from the front pages of the international media. Yet, everyone understands one thing – without Washington’s approval, Ankara would never dare to intervene even if it was supported by Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Qatar. Yet, those three states have found themselves in no position to embark on a new military adventure due to the dire internal conflicts provoked by the Saudi oil dumping strategy and aggravated by their involvement in the protracted bloody conflict in Yemen.
Under these circumstances in the last few days, Erdogan’s rhetoric has been getting less and less aggressive, which is of little wonder since he has managed to spoil Turkey’s relations with both the US and other NATO states. Moreover, there’s growing dissatisfaction within Turkey with Erdogan’s undeclared war on the Kurds who constitute over 30% of Turkey’s population. In fact, a full-scale war on the Kurdish population is being waged now in southeastern Anatolia, where Turkish soldiers and policemen are dying by the dozens, while the Turkish president is still trying to deal with Syria’s Kurds who have gained enough power to respond adequately to nearly any threat. Erdogan’s bet on the Syrian Turkomans has also failed, since they preferred to make peace with the government of Bashar al-Assad, instead of fighting the legitimate Syrian authorities as Turkey’s President demanded them to. Thus, Recep Tayyip Erdogan has put the country he was entrusted with on the brink of disintegration.
And that’s exactly where the effect of Russian sanctions are kicking in, which were imposed by Moscow against Ankara in response to the downing of a Russian warplane over Syria. With the vacation season approaching rapidly, Turkey will find itself deprived of 3.5 million Russian tourists that had been visiting Turkey every year. The panic in the tourism sector of the Turkish economy has been on the rise recently with countless hotels in Antalya, Bodrum, Marmaris and Fethiye being put up for sale. After all, Russians are not the only ones who won’t go to Turkey this year. Europeans too, are going to be repelled by the massive exodus of migrants from Syria and Iraq that are being shipped to the EU via the Mediterranean and Aegean seas. It’s just too dangerous to go to Turkey these days. And the fact that ISIS has been planning new terrorist attacks in Turkey doesn’t make it any more attractive for foreign tourists either.
The agricultural industry is also in a diminished state, since it is based on feeding tourists and exporting its products to Russia, and none of these options are available currently. If the political and socioeconomic crisis in Turkey becomes worse, it won’t take long for Erdogan to be impeached. But he will be most certainly replaced by his faithful ally – Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu or his old contender – the former President Abdullah Gül who is being heavily supported by the US.( Expand - or click the title to go to the page and commentsCollapse )