Tensions around Turkey.
The Eastern Mediterranean is the pivot of volatility in Europe. This is where Islam confronts the various Christianities, where climate change refugees challenge racism and homeland security, and where Russia dabbles in discord. This is a fault line in geopolitics – the muslim link extends to Bosnia and the Balkans to the North. Refugees will continue to challenge the most discordant member states of the E.U. – monoracial Hungary and Poland.
In the midst between Africa and Europe, lies Turkey, its President Erdogan’s leadership growing desperate in the face of a crumbling economy and a new reckoning over corruption in Istanbul. Erdogan had seen oil in the Aegean as his economic panacea and his mighty construction programs his means of holding power in Istanbul (see this column 12/6/2019). But his prospects have dimmed. Turkey’s ancient enemy and Aegean competitor, Greece, continues to build an alliance against his oil ambitions that now includes Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Libya. At home, Erdogan lost control of Istanbul in the elections earlier in the year and the new Mayor Imamoglu is demanding a reckoning for malpractice, corruption and profiteering by Erdogan’s friends when in power.
Expect to see more maritime clashes in the eastern Mediterranean. Expect increasing tension in Istanbul. The Turkish President may be cornered – he is certainly dangerous. In the absence of the United States – Russia is the interested bystander.
Have a good day, James