Turkey a potential World War III flashpoint – expert

Turkey and its border with Syria could become the cause for World War Three because a shift in the country’s diplomatic orientation may have dangerous ripple effects, academic and military expert Robert Farley said in an article for the National Interest.

Turkey’s estrangement from the United States and the European Union, as symbolised by the near-collapse of U.S.-Turkish relations in the past year, could herald a significant shift in the balance of power in the region, he said.

“Turkey is an immensely important country, and its disposition affects the outcome of conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Iran, the Balkans and the Caucasus,” Farley said.

The country’s reorientation towards Russia, symbolised by its purchase of S-400 missiles, may change the "ledger of power" and risk in Nagorno-Karabakh as well, a territory disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan that is located near Turkey’s eastern border, he said.

“Such developments could affect how the southern European states think about their commitment to NATO,” Farley said. “This unpredictability could cause either Moscow or Washington to miscalculate the strength of their own hands.”

He also listed North Korea, the Gulf, Taiwan and Ukraine as potential flash points that might develop into full-scale war.

Farley is a senior lecturer at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky.