The West watching on as Erdoğan steps up as key regional player - Kathimerini

Turkey is cooperating with Russia to consolidate its status in the region, as Europe watches on and Washington remains indifferent, Greek newspaper Kathimerini said on Wednesday

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is growing into a key player as geopolitical changes unfold in the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean, leading to Turkey acquiring regional superpower status, it said.

Erdoğan is threatening action in the war-torn countries of Libya and Syria. Turkey’s strongman issued a warning to Damascus on Tuesday not to violate the latest brokered ceasefire in Syrian rebel-controlled Idlib province, where Turkish forces are deployed as part of a previous agreement struck with Moscow to enforce a de-escalation zone.

The Turkish president on the same day vowed military action in Libya, warning the Libyan National Army (LNA) commander Khalifa Haftar that continued attacks on the Ankara-backed and U.N.- recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) would result in Turkey "giving Haftar the lesson he deserves".

"Erdogan has managed to be involved in everything: He is considered a key factor in any Libya developments and he is treated as a major player in geopolitical readjustments in the wider region,’’ Kathimerini said.

Libya’s GNA Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj, an Erdoğan protégé, will survive in the near future, it said, keeping effective the maritime delineation agreements that Ankara has signed with him.

The Libya-Turkey deal, signed on Nov. 27, asserts the two countries share a maritime border, ignoring the territorial waters around the divided island of Cyprus and a number of Greek islands, including Crete.

Greece, Cyprus and Egypt, which seek to build a pipeline carrying gas to Europe across those waters, have all objected to the agreement.

Protesting Turkey’s international law violations does not appear to be enough to curb Ankara’s aggression, Kathimerini said, especially when "most of the space on the chessboard is occupied by power, interests and fear".