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Monday, June 25, 2012
US/Israeli Handyman Turkey Provoke Syria: Byzantine at Heart? An Illusion for the 21st Century Ottoman Empire?
Turkey spearheading NATO attacks on Syria in an attempt to provoke the last to react and then justify a subsequent brutal reaction by NATO is a credible scenario.
Yet, this is unlikely to be Gul’s goal. Turkey is not interested in an occupied Syria being controlled from Brussels. Why should Turkey share its colonial cake?“Elementary, Dr. Watson!”The trajectory of the abovementioned fighter is of enormous interest, since it pinpointed Turkey’s main interest. It flew just south of Hatay. In 1938, Hatay—a small territory on the Mediterranean coast—became independent from the French mandate of Syria as the Republic of Hatay.Following a referendum in 1939, Hatay decided to join Turkey, forming the singular panhandle shape that can be seen on the maps of Turkey. Syria still doesn’t recognize that event as legitimate. In the last year, this area had regained strategic importance after the break-up of the Turkish-Israeli alliance due to the Freedom Flotilla Affair.This break-up is shaping the exploitation of the newly discovered gas reservoirs in the Eastern Mediterranean Sea. In Greece’s Fadeaway: Iran and Israel Battle over Cyprus, I analyzed the new regional alliances fighting over the large reservoirs of gas (and more, see Gas, Oil … Uranium) in the eastern side of the Mediterranean Sea.
In November 2011, Cyprus announced it would explore its undersea natural gas wells in cooperation with Israel; this was the trigger for Netanyahu’s visit to the island in February 2012. The agreements announced between the countries—including military ones—indicate that Israel has shifted its main ally in the area from Turkey to Cyprus.Turkey has announced that it would not allow underwater drills in Cypriot waters, clearly citing military preventative actions. The Turkish intervention is the result of Cyprus being divided between the Republic of Cyprus in the south and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.Thus, two clear bands had been created around the gas field issue: Turkey-Lebanon-Northern Cyprus-Iran, and Israel-Cyprus.
Later on, in April, Greece joined the Israeli led alliance; this is important since Greece is a major worldwide player in oil transport. The USA—technically Turkey’s ally in NATO—has conducted the “Noble Dina” military drill with Israel and Greece in the gas fields area.Led by the U.S. Sixth Fleet, Noble Dina involves simulations of combat against submarines, air battles and protection of offshore natural gas platforms.
What will NATO do if a war erupts between these two alliances? Both alliances have announced that the gas fields are casus belli. In June 2012, Israel announced the beginning of a feasibility study regarding artificial islands that would facilitate its control over the fields.Considering this, the Turkish provocation acquires an additional dimension that clearly transcend NATO.Lebanon and Northern Cyprus are Turkey’s actual access points to the gas fields. Turkey would like to expand its access to the Mediterranean Sea, as well as to facilitate its communications and transport with Lebanon, which in the next years may become a regional power replacing the troubled Syria.The provocation of the fighter remains a provocation under this scenario, but its goals slightly shifts. Slicing Syria in order to annex the Latakia Governorate to Turkey—as it was done with Hatay in the past—will open a land corridor between Turkey and Lebanon as well as increase Turkey’s access to the gas fields. Byzantine at heart, the Rising Ottoman is planning to renew its historical empire.
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