Turkey’s Erdoğan lost the plot by provoking three conflicts – op-ed

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has bitten off more than he can chew, is now isolated in three separate conflicts and facing opposition from a host of countries, freelance journalist Gwynne Dyer wrote in an op-ed published by the Japan Times on Tuesday.

Turkey’s involvement in the conflict in Syria, where it has backed rebel groups and helped foreign fighters enter the country to fight President Bashar Assad, took a sharp turn on Monday when eight Turkish military personnel were killed in a bombardment by Assad’s forces.

That conflict brings Turkey on opposing sides against Russia, a main backer of Assad’s government. It is also facing off against Russia in Libya, where Turkey backs the U.N.-recognised Tripoli government against the Libyan National Army, which has the support of the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and France as well as Moscow.

Libya has become a key battleground for Turkey since it signed a maritime jurisdiction deal with the Tripoli government in November that is crucial for a third conflict, in which it faces off against Greece, Cyprus and their European partners in competition for eastern Mediterranean energy resources.

The Turkey-Libya deal marks out an extensive maritime zone for Turkey that overlaps with Greek and Cypriot claims and lies in the path of a gas pipeline to Europe planned by Greece, Cyprus and Israel.

“One small and successful war might benefit Erdoğan by mobilising Turkish nationalism, but three at once? Against Russian and Syria on one front, France and Egypt on another, and Greece plus France and perhaps other NATO members on a third,” Dyer said.

“He used to be a fairly competent strategist, but he has been in power too long (17 years) and he has lost the plot. This is megalomania.”