KT edit: Turkey's dangerous game

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Published: Tue 8 Sep 2020, 8:51 AM

Last updated: Tue 8 Sep 2020, 10:53 AM

Turkey's growing assertiveness in the Middle East and the Mediterranean could isolate the country at a time when its economy is in troubled waters. Its currency has been losing value fast, foreign reserves depleting at a pace not seen in emerging markets before, inflation is pinching household budgets, and a lot of people are without jobs. Then again, the Recep Tayyip Erdogan government's focus is not on domestic issues. Instead, it is going all out to make its power felt across and beyond the former Ottoman territory, which it now considers its zone of influence. By threatening military action against Greece, Turkey is flexing its muscles in the eastern Mediterranean, asserting itself as a regional power. The country has already been challenging the Eastern Mediterranean order by redefining maritime boundaries through a deal with Libya's Government of National Accord and conducting drilling operations in contested areas of Cyprus. In the Middle East and North Africa region, Turkish footprints are seen in Syria, Libya, and Somalia. 
Come to think of it, such tactics help divert attention from domestic woes and also strengthen Erdogan's image at home. He is eyeing the next election in 2023 and wants to project himself as the greatest leader in modern Turkey. But will that work when Turkey's foreign policy is at odds with its neighbours and undermines Nato? No country is an island, but it is hard to explain to a man who is putting his personal ambitions over and above his people and the country.

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