Return of the Turks as Middle East kingmaker

Joshua Walker writes:

“Enough we say, the decision belongs to the people of the brotherly Egyptian and Tunisian nations… Turkey shares the grief of these nations as well as their hopes.” So-declared a self-confident Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday in his prime-time speech on recent events in the Middle East that received broad coverage regionally. While commentators point to the protests and revolutions in the Arab world as being the most recent example of the crumbling vestiges of the Cold War, the more significant long-term global trend is strangely familiar to the Turks. Protests in Tunisia have already overthrown the rule of a 23 year-old regime and inspired a similar uprising in the form of Egypt’s ongoing protest movement. Lebanon’s continuing instability and threats of Tunisian-inspired revolutions in Yemen and even Jordan further add to the significance of the moment we are witnessing in the Arab world.

The unprecedented levels and inter-linkages of the protests against the traditional authoritarian regimes represented most starkly by President Mubarak, has brought the Middle East back to a period more reminiscent of the breakup of the Ottoman Empire and the rise of Arab nationalism than anything seen in recent memory.

The declarations and prognostications of analysts across the Arab world in the wake of these events has focused on the grassroots movements and pent-up resentments that led to the protests along with debates about the level of US involvement from twitter feeds to President Obama’s statements. However the effect of this on the regional dynamics that has ushered in the remarkable arrival of a new player to the game of Middle Eastern great-power politics and the sidelining of traditional players is equally important to pay attention to.

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1 thought on “Return of the Turks as Middle East kingmaker

  1. Norman

    The West has to except that what has been, will be no more. Israel has to except that if they want to play, they will no longer enjoy crate-blanch in the way they deal with others. The status quo is not to be on the table. The powers have to except change, not on their terms, but on the terms of the Egyptian people, the ones who carry the burdens, the ones who give their blood, sweat & tears, the ones who sacrifice in their daily toil, not for the elits, the West, nor Israel either. It’s time for those who have reaped the bounty off the labors of the Egyptian people, to stand on their own two feet, not continue to hold those who truly deserve to be heard, their chance, both in deeds & fulfillment.

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