Last week, Erdogan and his foreign minster Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu expressed their sadness that Egypt refuses to sign a maritime agreement with Turkey but signed one with Greece.
Çavuşoğlu went onto say that Egypt and Greece do not share a sea border and their deal is unlawful. He then urged the government of Egypt to negotiate a deal with Turkey that will guarantee better outcomes than the one it signed with Greece!
Such an offer in normal circumstances with a respected country would have been accepted, as each and every country would love to have a better maritime agreement, but with the current Turkish hostile government, Egypt certainly will not risk its current deal with Greece, a trusted partner and neighbour, for a deal with an obvious enemy.
Since 2013, Turkey have become a harbour for Muslim Brotherhood members who fled from Egypt after June 2013 protests, and from Istanbul those Islamists are attacking the government of Egypt and calling their hidden terrorist cells to kill police officers and servicemen.
Furthermore, from Turkey a number of TV channels and news platforms operate with one aim, and that is to destabilise Egypt’s security and damage its economy. All these heinous systematic campaigns against Egypt are without a doubt taking place by direct orders from Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Islamist cronies who had dreams of controlling Egypt when the Muslim Brotherhood governed the country from 2012 until the massive revolution in 2013 toppled President Mohamed Morsi and ended Erdoğan’s aspirations forever.
On the other side, Egypt started to hit back strategically in Libya by setting a red line in the city of Sirte, and also by enhancing diplomatic and military cooperations with Greece.
Furthermore, just few days ago, East Mediterranean states formally established an Egypt-based gas forum, and although Turkey geographically fits within this forum, it has been excluded from it. This is another reminder of how isolated Erdoğan is in the international arena because of his offensive policies against almost all regional countries.
It is not a secret anymore that Turkey is alone. Just days ago, former Turkish ambassador to Washington Namık Tan wrote a piece about Erdoğan’s failed policies which led to what Mr Tan calls “Turkey’s diplomatic solitude.” The former ambassador believes that “Turkish foreign policy decisions are made based on short-term political considerations, aiming to save the day and for the purposes of domestic consumption.” In other words, Erdoğan risks damaging Turkey’s international relations to please his crowd, even though if such approach means a crumbling economy and international isolation.
Additionally, the EU seems outraged from Erdoğan’s continuous violations after years of silence and appeasement.
According to Deutsche Welle, Turkey could face European economic sanctions because of its illegal drilling for gas in Greek and Cypriot waters.
Such a serious approach, if implemented with Turkey’s current economic terrible status, would definitely worsen the already crumbling economy and thus impact Erdoğan’s popularity and threaten his position in the future, which could force him to step back and end his madness.
Furthermore, Arab states except the tiny emirate of Qatar, which is known these days regionally as a “Turkish colony”, have all condemned Turkey’s negative interference in Iraq, Syria and Libya. The Secretary General of the Arab League Ahmed Aboul Gheit criticised Turkey’s adventures in the Arab world and stressed that Ankara must withdraw immediately from every place it occupies. Moreover, Aboul Gheit called on Arab nations to have a unified policy to deter the Turkish regime from continuing its violations.
It is important to say today that the policy of appeasement does not work with dictators like Erdoğan as it sends the wrong message and makes him feel that he has the upper hand over all others when in fact he is very weak. Therefore, only a collective European/Arab stance would teach the dictator a lesson and end his hostile movements.
The likes of Erdoğan only understand the language of power, just like when US President Donald Trump threatened to “destroy the Turkish economy” and forced Turkey to immediacy release American pastor Andrew Brunson, who had been falsely accused and sentenced by a Turkish court for allegedly being a member of the Gülen movement, a major outlawed Erdoğan opposition organization!
Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, Syria and Libya should not be alone in this battle against Turkey, and if the international community is busy dealing with other pressing matters, the people of the region should unite and send a strong message to Erdoğan and all Turkish politicians that we live in the 21st century, and a Turkish aggression against sovereign countries will not be tolerated and will be dealt with collectively and decisively.
Abdulrahman Taleb, is a British-Arab researcher in Middle East North Africa studies.