Turkey threatens Gulf countries’ fragile legitimacy, Turkish columnist says

Many countries are unsettled by Turkey’s transformation into an increasingly powerful regional and global player under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership, according to a columnist writing in Daily Sabah on Tuesday.

France, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Greece and Israel are especially disgruntled with Turkey and are launching an “anti-Turkey campaign”, with the fragile legitimacy of Gulf countries particularly threatened by Ankara’s increasingly assertive foreign policy, Burhanettin Duran said.

“The purpose of the anti-Turkish campaign is to prevent Ankara from reaping the strategic benefits of its most recent moves in Syria, Libya and the eastern Mediterranean,” Duran said. “In other words, Turkey’s opponents do not want the country to emerge stronger from its tensions with various players through diplomacy.”

Duran said that such tensions are inevitable in an increasingly chaotic international system as the balance of power shifts. But he said that Erdoğan’s foreign policy does not rely on tensions alone, and that Turkey’s president is capable of finding common ground with adversaries. 

Duran said that while global powers such as the United States and Russia can accept Turkey’s growing regional influence, it presents a much bigger problem for countries like France and Israel, who he said are pursuing regional hegemony.

“The Gulf monarchies, which have been reduced to mere tools in Israel’s ‘silent but hegemonic’ regional policy, feel the Turkish ‘threat’ even more acutely,” Duran said. “After all, Turkey, with its democratic system, economic development and strong political leadership, severely weakens their fragile legitimacy.”