Turkey To Annex Northern Iraq And Syria?


If it was a bad year for Russia, then the close of 2015 was even worse for Turkey. The country suffered four separate Islamic state-related terror attacks in 2015, claiming the lives of 193 people and injuring at least 750 in a wave of violence that began in January. Allegations of corruption, crackdowns on opponents of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the mediasphere, and flaring jingoism have piqued the attention of the international community.

Add to this, the recent poke in the posterior delivered to the Russian Bear by dint of an air-to-air missile. In riposte, Moscow was quick to condemn Erdogan’s government of collusion with Islamic State across its southern border in Iraq and Syria. The foreign policy outlook of the ruling Justice and Development Party has often been referred to as "Neo-Ottomanist" in nature, harking back to the influence, customs and culture of an Ottoman Empire that endured for 624 years.

A degree of this Neo-Ottomanist doctrine is founded in irredentism - the belief that territory of another country should be annexed and returned to its previous possessor for ethnic or historical reasons. Thinly-veiled snippets of irredentist thought in Erdogan’s recent speeches give us an insight into the possibility that Turkey could make a move to occupy troublesome territories in the northern stretches of Iraq and Syria. This would both subdue terrorist movements and reclaim land over which the current Turkish state held a bygone dominion. It would also help to quell disquiet caused by controversial damn projects on the Tigris and Euphrates rivers whose sources originate in eastern Anatolia.

Annexation of this terrain could bring the vast reserves of Iraqi Kurdistan into a Turkish orbit, making the nation the 10th largest holder of crude oil on Earth.


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