“Turkey needs to be strong militarily, because it has bad neighbours.” – Tayip Erdogan
Let’s take a look at Turkey’s “bad” neighbours:
- To the north of Turkey and across the Black Sea is Russia, that for the present at least, has a very good relationship with Turkey, despite having one of its planes unjustifiably shot down by the treacherous Turks. Russia supplies Turkey with most of the natural gas it uses in its industry and homes. Cooperation between the two countries includes contracts for Russians to build nuclear power stations in Turkey, build a gas pipeline going through Turkey and supply Turkey with advanced anti-aircraft missiles. Russian visitors to Turkey make up a very large proportion of that country’s income from tourism. Threats from Russia against Turkey: zero.
- To the east, Turkey has Georgia and Armenia. Zero problems with Georgia. In fact, Turkey had supported that country when, egged on by the west, it tried to challenge its Russian neighbor. Armenia is another story. The Armenians suffered in the hands of the Turks/Ottomans in the form of a genocide that led to the slaughter of over a million and half Armenians. Armenia commemorates that tragedy, but it is in no way strong enough to threaten her powerful neighbor and NATO member and to “exact revenge” for that crime against humanity, more than a century later.
- To the southeast is Iraq, a country destroyed by the U.S.-led coalition that included Turkey, on a false pretext. A country still struggling to clear its territory from the terrorists that arrived there through Turkey, which not only offered these terrorists safe passage, but also training facilities, hospitalization and even R&R facilities to rest their weary bones.
- Next to Iraq on Turkey’s border is Syria. A country currently being invaded by Turkey, which is bombing and killing Syrian citizens as part of the U.S. coalition operating illegally in that country.
- Further to the south, across barely 40 miles of water, is Cyprus. An island of less than a million people that in recent history had been bombed with napalm by Turkey when that tiny democracy did not even have a military to defend itself. Ten years later, Turkey, with a green light from the U.S., invaded the island, killed thousands of its citizens and currently occupies about 40 percent of its territory. The current Turkish occupying force on the island numbers 43,000 troops, which outnumbers the Cypriot National Guard of 18 year-old conscripts by more than 4 to 1. Cyprus has neither a navy nor an air force to constitute a threat to Turkey and its population of 80 million.
- To the west is where Turkey’s concern lies. That’s where Greece is to be found; a country and a people the Turks fear irrationally. Hundreds of thousands of Greeks have been slaughtered by the Turks throughout the 20th century, including Greeks that lived for centuries in Constantinople and Smyrna (Istanbul and Izmir), with millions more turned into refugees. Moreover, Greece has been brought to its knees economically by its own western “friends, partners and allies” and it’s struggling to get back on its feet after years of inhuman austerity measures imposed on her. The same Greece that faces military threats from Turkey, including daily violations of both Greek airspace and territorial waters.
These are Turkey’s “bad neighbors” that Erdogan is so fearful of and for whom he’s building the strongest military in the region to defend himself against.
On the main gate of the military academy in Ankara stands the inscription: “For the Turk, the number one enemy is the Russian and then the Greek.” These are the two peoples the Turks fear the most.
Opinions expressed are those of the author alone and may not reflect the opinions and viewpoints of Hellenic Insider, its publisher, its editors, or its staff, writers, and contributors.