Kemal Okuyan, the General Secretary of the CC of the Communist Party of Turkey (TKP) and soL columnist, wrote an article on the future of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his quest for personal salvation in the contemporary international political environment.
S-400 missiles cannot protect Erdoğan
There are those who say, "Don’t go there," to Erdoğan. A series of claims ranging from "They will arrest you there," to "He won’t have bodyguards; apparently, an assassination is being planned."
The destination is New York City in the USA, where the United Nations General Assembly will take place. It is, of course, not very probable that the USA will detain Erdoğan in relation to the Zarrab [Reza Zarrab, who was arrested in the United States over evasion of sanctions] case in an international meeting that has a special status. However, it is important that this possibility is now being widely spoken about. A segment of the people talking about the issue are really worrying about their Reis ["the chief", referring to Erdoğan], another part of them knows that Erdoğan’s job will be much more difficult the more these issues are discussed. Think about it, a leader for whom it is inconvenient to go abroad!
Since it is not possible to say, "The USA wouldn’t do such things", there are other reasons for why we consider it as a slight possibility that the USA takes such a step.
This is a slight possibility because the negotiation continues.
Erdoğan is a person who is capable of enduring unmanageable situations, who still has substantial social support, who doesn’t have any principles, whose 180-degree rotations are not questioned by his supporters, who utilises religion as an extremely effective instrument and who knows that the fragmentation within the international system is his unique chance for salvation.
The value he has is high; he holds the cards that might provide important opportunities to people with whom he collaborates. In the economic sphere, there are very few leaders in the world who have granted such a looting opportunity with so few rules. This lack of rules is a great blessing for international monopolies. Even three large contracts might be sufficient for strong imperialist countries to forget how bizarre Erdoğan is.
That was so in the past; it is so now; today it is useful to consider that the harsh polemic between Erdoğan and Germany, the contract with Russia for the purchase of S-400 missile systems and the rising tension with the US are elements of a grand negotiation.
From the perspective of Erdoğan, this negotiation has a unique subject: His own security! Erdoğan wants the guarantee of not being liquidated. He is sure about the existence of those who are "serious" about this issue in the USA and Germany; he wants to invalidate them through a new manoeuvre.
If he cannot take what he wants, he will lean more to Putin! That is to say; it is possible that he leaves the negotiation table falling into the arms of Putin.
Short tides put aside, it is very difficult. It is difficult due to the strong ties of the Turkish economy with Germany and other NATO countries; it is difficult due to the shadow of NATO in State institutions and the bureaucracy, despite their fragmentation; it is difficult due to the pro-Americans within the AKP [the Justice and Development Party, the ruling political party of Erdoğan]; it is difficult due to the importance of Turkey for the USA and NATO.
Turkey’s rupture from NATO, however, is only possible with a revolutionary government that is determined to dismantle all these difficulties. Erdoğan, as we have always said, is not revolutionary; he is the opposite!
We can even say that Erdoğan, by walking towards Putin in order to save himself, is also heading for a fall.
However, it is still probable that Erdoğan’s worries about his salvation might make Turkey enter a period of real turbulence in this international environment, and what is worse; it is within the bounds of possibility that, if he considers it inevitable, he might stage his finale by pushing the country into a war.
The American and German front is trying to render Erdoğan into a re-governable actor, this is clear. However, it is also clear that they have pretty much lost their hopes. In particular, the “coward” German State’s fight against Erdoğan with all its institutions and political actors should be interpreted as evidence that a new deal with him will be extremely difficult.
And they are surrounding him step by step, this reactionary politician that they have created. The price that Erdoğan must pay is increasing day by day.
What about Putin?
What Putin’s Russia has been looking for was a Turkey that harms Russian interests as little as possible. There are serious difficulties in maintaining a relationship of alliance between Turkey and Russia in today’s balance. But Erdoğan’s quest for "personal salvation" has made Moscow confront a situation for which it was not quite prepared. However, everyone should know that Russia cannot take Erdoğan, whose dirty laundry is well-known, under protection at some point. Here, Islamism is the last topic that he might consider as a problem. In the past I had also thought that Putin would prefer a "secular" Turkey because Russia has always had trouble with Islamist movements in its own land and in neighbouring countries. The problem was real, but we were forgetting that Putin was developing a policy of "my Islamists". Chechnya is a part of Russia, and this region is ruled by an Islamist government led by Kadirov, who is Putin’s man. Putin does not at all care about the darkness in this region as long as they are his Islamists, not those of the USA or Germany.
Then why can Erdoğan not become Russia's new Islamist?
As I have said, this is theoretically possible, it is also possible with regards to the morals of Putin. However, Putin is not in a strong enough position to protect a leader who is accused of being a dictator by the dynamic social segments of the country, whose record on Syria are all well known by everyone, who is facing real trouble for corruption.
Besides, it is too little too late for Erdoğan to reassure anyone else. The most important fact is that Erdoğan’s own team has started to lose confidence in him.
The time is closing in.
While the USA was taking away the bodyguards of Erdoğan, the down payment for the S-400 system was being made. The S-400’s can protect Russia but for Erdoğan these arms are not sufficient, not bulky enough and even dangerous. He might even say, "Give back my bodyguards and take back the S-400’s!"
He is to decide that.
What about us?
If our people do not paddle their canoe independent of all the sinister powers mentioned in this article, if it does not provide an alternative to this utterly nonsensical darkness; the problem of Erdoğan, now a global issue, will fall down and crush our laborious people.