خالد الزعتر
كاتب ومحلل سياسي

Turkey and its military bases strategy

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The Turkish policy in the Middle East in general and the Arab region in particular cannot be viewed far from the “new Ottomanism” project, which aims to work to consecrate the Turkish military presence in the areas that Turkey considers to be within the areas of influence and historical legacy of the Ottoman state, and this is what reveals Mainly, the Turkish military deployment plan in the region through the establishment of military bases, which rose at an accelerated pace after the arrival of the Justice and Development Party, which drafted the “Neo Ottomanism” project, as Turkey did not have military bases outside its territory before that except for the military presence in north Cyprus, which dates back to the year 1974.

The Turkish expansion in establishing military bases and achieving military deployment in the Middle East region is part of a project based on several axes within the “Neo-Ottoman” vision: the first of which is the transition from soft power that was based on employing the Muslim Brotherhood as a tool for it, after the resounding fall of this group, to political employment and investment in terrorist and mercenary organizations, as is happening in Libya and Syria, to enable Ankara to find a base for it on Syrian and Libyan soil. The second is the Turkish policy, which Turkey is working on implementing in northern Syria in particular. And the third is the expansion of the strategy of establishing “military bases”, which Turkey sought to expand its establishment in Iraq, northern Syria, Somalia and Qatar, in addition to a failed attempt on the Sudanese island of Suakin, and now works to establish a military base in Libya within the framework of the strong relations that link Ankara with the Sarraj government.

Turkey’s transition from “soft power” to “hard” is an attempt to employ the military factor and adapt it to serve its political goals and create a tool “to consecrate the Turkish occupation” through which Ankara hopes to work to use it to restrict the political and military decision of the state that hosts the Turkish military base and to work later to employ this presence to fully control this decision and employ it in the service of the Turkish interests. This is observed in the Qatari case, where the Turkish base that was established in Doha played a role in influencing the Qatari political decision and forming pressure on the Qatari regime to finance Turkish plans and projects in the Arab region, and to support  the Turkish economy which suffers from continuous crisis.

Consequently, Ankara’s main goal of “expanding the establishment of military bases” in the Middle East is to try to find alternatives to the excruciating failure of its strategy of political expansion through the Brotherhood’s arms, especially after the fall of the Brotherhood in Egypt in 2013, and thus Turkey moved from working to achieve political control to achieving Military control, through military bases.

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