Previous, related posts:
Turkey and the EU
Turkey and geostrategy- again
(This blog is old; even the 2008 post feels like yesteryear!)
Two additions to what I wrote about Turkey so far:
First, I edited this to the oldest of the three blog posts:
edit 2013-05: I should add that the Pan-Turkic ideology (a nationalist party got about 1/8 of the votes in the 2011 elections) could put Turkey into a rival position to Russia in regard to influence in Central Asia (Turkic languages there). The West's encroachment has been stopped in Belarus (as long as the dictatorship doesn't crumble) and Ukraine (where any national election can change the trajectory entirely). Russia would not exactly be happy to face a Turkish challenge on its southern flank.
The mentioned Turkish nationalist party is this one.
The news people in Germany have decided to largely ignore Belarus, Ukraine, Transnistria or the Pan-Turkic nationalism. The occasional report about the dicatorship in Belarus or the domestic political struggles in Ukraine is always boring and it's much more likely for a German to learn that anything ridiculous happened in the U.S. or Australia than to learn anything about major developments in the Russian periphery. Balloon boy et al. The rare reports from the Ukraine are typically carried by the news people's ability to use a photo of the good looking blonde politician in their article.
As I see it, Russia has lots of long-term challenges and challengers in its periphery, and they will no doubt not give way easily, as they are very much interested in strategic depth.
Second, the Alawites story.
|(c) NordNordWest and Supreme Deliciousness|
(To mention the author is a copyright requirement,
but some authors of pics at wikipedia have outright ridiculous names.)
The Alawites are about to lose power in Syria, being a small minority and apparently unable to defeat the majority Sunni rebellion. Turkey's turn against the Assad regime - with which it previously had a 'good neighbour' foreign policy strategy - is also a turn against one of the minorities in Turkey.
A move against a minority is often a turn towards more authoritarian/assertive and less cooperative grand strategy and political culture.
This could become a small piece of a decades-long shift towards a Sunni- and Turkic language-oriented policy and construction of a bloc in the Middle East and Central Asia. The plan to join the EU bloc is on ice, after all - and continued NATO membership doesn't really restrict the political freedom of action since (almost) nobody seems to pay attention to Article 1 of the North Atlantic Treaty anyway. Basically, they can conduct their foreign policy with whatever ambitions they like and still stay under NATO's protective umbrella.