The Turkish bubble
Turkey is heading for yet another deep crisis. Fears for the Turkish economy in international decision-making centers are running very high and it’s only considered a matter of time now before the bubble bursts. The fact that the Erdogan system issues its own loans outside the institutional banking framework speaks volumes. This may prove to be the Turkish leader’s Achilles’ heel because it could turn his own supporters against him. Those who know the neighborhood well wouldn’t be surprised at any scenario, even one of civil war or a situation similar to that in Venezuela. If something like that were indeed to happen, then it would lead to an increase in paranoia, and risky behavior. There are also big questions regarding Turkey’s geostrategic policy and security. Of course the West does not want to lose Turkey. But the rift is deep and it’s only getting deeper. Germany has taken its forces out of Incirlik and moved them to Jordan. There’s solid information indicating the US is preparing to do the same and that it has secured somewhere to set up a new base in the Kurdish-administered part of Iraq. There is uncertainty and distrust when it comes to Turkey’s intentions. The failed negotiations before the Gulf War, which forced the Americans to ignore Turkey in their plans for this operation, have been regis- tered in Western institutional memory Here, then, is where the classic question of whether Greece can and, if so is willing to fill a portion of the void left by Turkey. Words seem to suggest Greece can do this, as repeated statements from the defense minister have indicated. But do the prime minister and other responsible ministers agree with this? The extension of the agreement for Souda seem to show that certain difficulties remain. At some point decisions have to be made. The US secretary of defense may find himself in Athens asking for direct answers. At that point, the Greek side must have decided what it will ask for in exchange and what it can offer. Prolonged bargaining is common in the East but is often counterproductive. In the meantime, it would be good for us to be prepared because if Turkey enters a maelstrom of internal turmoil, the risk of an incident in the Aegean will increase. Turkey’s behavior has already worsened in this respect and suggests it is openly seeking a skirmish in the Aegean. Athens has carved out its red lines, which are indeed more convincing when they come via military channels and not politicians’ statements. The margin of error is small and the risk of an accident is huge. Turkey’s management structure has collapsed and its political leadership finds itself constantly uncertain and frustrated.