At a time when intense debates take place regarding Ankara’s belligerent foreign policy, the term ‘neo-Ottomanism’ is frequently heard.
Today, it is widely believed that the neo-Ottomanism is the foundation stone of the foreign policy approach adopted by the ambitious Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
Under the aegis of Turkish strongman, Erdoğan, Ankara embarked on an assiduous campaign of establishing a ‘Turkic NATO’ with a united ‘Army of Turan’. As a matter of fact, Erdoğan envisages himself to be the military and somehow the spiritual leader of a Turkic union composed of Turkey, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan—although populated by non-Turkic ethnicity, as well as the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.
The very idea of a supranational Turkic Army is largely founded on the geographical symbolism of Turkey’s view of Turan, as an ancestral and mythological homeland for modern Turkey, uniting all Turkic peoples in Central Asia.
Against the background of the bloody hostilities in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Turkey appeared as the staunch ally of Baku, Erdoğan began to vociferously express his grandiose dream of creating the Army of Turan.
Following the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey sought to demonstrate to the Russian allies that Moscow has literally disappointed and abandoned Erevan during the course of war whereas Ankara, like a Big Brother, led Baku to victory and triumph.
The evil motives for Erdogan’s assertive apply of military tactics – military support to Turkic nations– in his overt neo-Ottoman agendas in the Caucasus and Central Asian states is understandable since the militarism has always had a long-standing history within the Turkish society and in the implementation of Ottoman expansionist attitude before and during World War I.
At the end of the last October, to fulfil Erdoğan’s schemes to create a ‘Turkic NATO’, and also to boost military cooperation in the region under the Ankara’s auspices, Hulusi Akar, Turkish defence minister, visited several Central Asian countries, including Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.
The spokesperson for the Turkish Defense Ministry said following Akar Central Asian tour that all parties concurred to further expand their military cooperation soon.
At the same time, the Turkish media outlets noted that Ankara’s efforts to expand military cooperation with the Central Asian ex-Soviet states marks a significant, historic milestone on the path to a unified Erdoğan-led army of the Turkic peoples, which will realize a dominant Turkic hegemony throughout the world.
But it would be remiss to ignore Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s deep fear to test Russia because he completely understands how the conflict with Putin could turn out badly for him. History reminds the Turkish dictator that it was the Russians who soundly defeated the Ottoman Empire in several battles, as a result of which the Ottoman Empire, the ill man of Europe, ultimately crumbled. The irony of Erdoğan neo-Ottomanism lies in the fact that the very idea of unifying the Turkic peoples under the banner of the Great Turan, was a central part of the ideology of the ‘Young Turks’ who led the Ottoman Empire to its final doom.