Summaries of the presentations of KEDISA event: “Geopolitical turbulences in the wake of the failed coup in Turkey” -26 October 2016

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Dr. Konstantinos Grivas, Associate Professor of Geopolitics at the Evelpidon Military Academy
Powerful Forces  rivals of the US promote the multipolarity of the International System. The autonomy of the Medium Powers is increasing. There are many levels in the anarchic international system of states in one of which the Turks are moving. Turkey claims a self-power status with its own objectives and agenda without being controlled by anyone, as it is trying to control and enforce a policy of divide and rule. The extreme revisionist policy pursued by Turkey towards Greece and other countries is an inevitable consequence of the geopolitical changes in the international system.Turkey claims a role of Eurasian-semiglobal power and falls in the same category as Russia and China without having, of course, the same power. Being such a revisionist power Turkey, only because of its prestige, is difficult  to accept today the existence of Greek islands near its borders. The key to control the Eastern Mediterranean is the Aegean. One such country is given that it will attempt to exert absolute control in the region. Moreover, Iran is a regional superpower and natural competitor of Turkey. Egypt is also a major competitor that claims a naval power role in the eastern Mediterranean. With the control of the Aegean Turkey gets a great advantage to put pressure on Russia and force a reconciliation, but also on the USA, because in case of reconciliation they will lose their geopolitical supremacy. On the other hand, the EU  is characterized by the following quote: “They’re economic giants, political dwarfs and military worms”, which means that internationally the EU may not be considered a strong player, however individual European countries may think egocentrically and act realistically. An important observation is that there are no clear relations between the countries of the international anarchic system. The countries are moving in the international chessboard according to their interests, however, the relations of the actors are not only competitive, but cooperative as well. The Turks manage well. The problem is that Greece also moves in this system, a country that nowadays suffers from many problems, but if she is able to act properly she might have a better position. The only hope for Greece is to manage to overcome the economic level and talk at a geopolitical level. We must reclaim ourselves and take place among the rivalries and the synergies of the strongest members of the international system, and move diplomatically to where we have an interest in a particular case.

Dr. Spyros Plakoudas, PhD in Strategic Studies, University of Reading

The second army, the third army and in western Asia Minor the fourth army participated in the military coup of July 15, 2016 against Erdogan in commander’s level. Over 100 names of commanders and senior officers were involved in the coup, while very capable senior officers of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) have been arrested. People who have served in NATO are extinct while others are serving prison sentences or they have sought asylum in European countries. In TAF there are Atlanticists and Eurasianistis. Turkey seeks to take a role and become a Eurasian power.

Turkey hosts the most Kurds in the region. It is estimated that they amount to 19-21% of the population. Many towns are under the domination of the PKK and of course Turkey cannot cope with them because they are in the best period of their history. Within Turkey they have 15,000 men power and along with spares in North Iraq they amount to 35,000 men. Adding to them the men of PYD, they reach the number of about 41,000 combat ready men. How does this coup affect the battle in eastern Turkey in action? Initially, due to the coup no aircraft flight is performed without approval from a highest political Head, so this alone means that orders take long to be executed resulting in operational procrastination. For this reason we observe disproportionate losses of theTurks. In addition, the administrators left cannot reconcile with the Kurds and are inexperienced. Turkey, whο initially refused to help the Western Coalition under the USA, immediately pretended the existence of a real threat and decided to intervene in arms in North Syria. But why? This threat is the Kurds in the North Syria who wish the establishment of their own autonomous Kurdish state. Turkey aggressively pursues its interests by military means, however it does not intervene alone without securing an authorization by the US and ensuring a certain military victory.

Ioannis Michaletos, Special Analyst of Security issues

The acts of terrorism aim to break the morale of the civilian population. If we cannot analyze their tactics, we cannot confront them on the battlefield. They are seeking to oust the West from the Middle East, and the only way to do that is by terrorizing the civilian population in the West. Regarding Greece, we have a limited risk because, as a state, we do not have power and we do not exert substantial influence in the Middle East and also our country is an ideal passage of migrants, drugs, weapons and no one wants to disturb this situation so that the jihadist networks in Athens will not be affected.

Constantinos Margaritou, PhD candidate in Strategic Studies, Panteion University

In the international system new emerging powers make their appearance. These forces are trying to compete with the US leadership. They participate in global governance, they have military power and they develop an independent economic policy denying Western financial institutions (IMF, World Bank, etc.). Turkey has aspirations to join the Eurasian Alliance. Such a development would result in a radical change of the balance of power in the international system. Last August Erdogan visited Putin to apologize for downing the Russian Su-24 in November 2015 and after their meeting Putin canceled the decree of economic sanctions against Turkey overnight. This is because there were trade-offs such as the implementation of the construction of the Turkish stream gas pipeline and the implicit recognition of Turkey to be able to intervene militarily in North Syria. But Putin could not back down so easily so it is very likely that there are trade-offs from the Turkish side as well. The Eurasian Union has Vietnam as a partner and candidate countries for inclusion in Syria, Israel and Iran and there are forecasts regarding Turkey as well. Also, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in addition to India and Pakistan, has Member States that come from China and Russia’s partnership with the Eurasian Union and its allies. Also, this Organization has a security sector as well. Iran and Turkey have expressed interest in participating in the above mentioned Organization. The more Russia’s relationship with China deepens, the more the chances for Turkey to join this camp increase. After that, things will radically change for the security architecture of NATO. Turkey will not become a world power, but it will be an important pillar for the power balance in the region and will radically change the situation. We can not safely say that it will join the Eurasian security architecture but based on the current data this is the analysis that prevails.