Turkey’s Aspiration To Create Its Own NATO

By Theodore Shoebat

Turkey’s foreign policy has less to do with dealing with the things foreign and more to do with making foreign things Turkish. The goal of Turkey, as we have been saying on this website for over a decade now, is the revival of the Ottoman Empire as part of the ideology of neo-Ottomanism. The Turks want to establish a Turkic union, or really the creation of a Turkish NATO, consisting of a confederacy of Turkic countries alongside Arab countries that were once under Ottoman control. Turkey’s military presence in Syria is not about fighting terrorism — this is merely the pretext — but about expanding the power of Ankara and ultimately establishing empire. If this were not the case, then Turkey would not be building banks, flying its flag in government buildings, utilizing Turkish curriculum in schools, or having Syrian rebels pose in front of a flag of the Ottoman Empire, in Syria. This is exactly what has been occurring in Syria with this conspicuous Turkish imperialism. As we read in a report from the Greek City Times:

Although Erdoğan claims to support the unity of the Syrian state, this has not deterred him from illegally opening Turkish banks in northern Syria, putting the Turkish lira into circulation, flying the Turkish flag on Syrian government buildings, using the Turkish education curriculum in Syrian schools, or from having Free Syrian Army commanders pose with maps of the Ottoman Empire.

You can see in this photo a Free Syrian Army rebel in front of a map of the Ottoman Empire, spanning all the way into the Balkans:

Turkey wants to form its own NATO — or really its own hegemony — and signs of this are already seen in the Turkic Council, or an organization of Turkic countries, consisting of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkey and Uzbekistan. What is fascinating is that Hungary is listed as an observer state of the Turkic Council since Victor Orban is actually a pan-Turanian who believes that Hungarians and Turks have ethnic ties. Victor Orbin believes that “Hungary can offer the Turkic Council a connection to Europe.” Orban has even described Hungary as “Christian Turkish lands.” Orbin has also affirmed that Turkey is at the foundation for Hungary’s security: “Turkey’s stability is an assurance of Hungary’s security. Hungary’s foreign policy is to be framed in a triangle of Istanbul, Moscow and Berlin.” Orbin was the most vocal political official within EU who was against the EU’s taking in of migrants, but he is also a major supporter of Turkey, not just policy wise, but on an ideological level as well.

Orban and his ilk subscribe to the racial ideology of Turanism, or the belief in the superiority of the Turkic races. In 2012, Orban described Hungary as “half-Asian” and stated that Hungarians are the type of people who will unite together only by force:
“Cooperation is a question of force, not of intention. Perhaps there are countries where things don’t work that way, for example in the Scandinavian countries, but such a half-Asiatic rag-tag people as we are can unite only if there is force.”
In June of 2017, Viktor Orban delivered a speech at the Hungarian-Turkish Business Forum in Ankara, to talk about the importance of relations between Hungarian and Turkish industrialists. In his speech, Orban talked about both the racial relations and the need for deeper economic ties between Turkey and Hungary:
 Turkey is in a good location, and although there are now wars on its borders, strategically it is in one of the world’s most important locations. It has an enormous private sector. Why should it pay any attention to the Hungarians – aside from friendship and the intellectually intriguing question of common origins lost in the mists of ancient history? Why should any member of its business community divert their gaze to Hungary? I believe that there is one fact which even the most successful Turkish businesspeople would be wise to consider: Hungary is a country of ten million, and we are capable of generating exports worth 110 billion dollars; meanwhile Turkey is a country of eighty million, which is capable of generating exports worth 145 billion dollars.
Later in the speech Orban again brought up a common racial origin between Hungarians and Turks:

To sum up, we have the legend of common Turkish-Hungarian origins. We have mutual respect. We have an outstanding political and personal relationship between the leaders of the two countries. We have an enormous Turkey and a strengthening Central Europe. And we have a Hungarian investment and business environment without rival in Europe.

This interconnects with the pan-Asianism of Turkey; for the Young Turks declared Turkey to be the “Japan of the Near East” (I wrote an article on pan-Asianism which can be read here). Turkey will also be playing a major role in revamping Hungary’s military. According to a 2018 report from Hungarian Spectrum:

“We know little about the conversation that took place between Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Viktor Orbán during the Turkish prime minister’s visit to Budapest a few days ago, but in the joint press conference Orbán talked about improving the Hungarian armed forces with Turkish participation. He explained that because of the poor economic conditions he faced in 2010, he was forced to curtail military spending, but now the Hungarian army is on track for a major upgrade. He intends for Turkey to play a major role in this endeavor. He added that Hungary is planning to embark on developing a robust armament industry with Turkish help.” 

Also according to Hungary Today:

…Orbán said that Hungary and Turkey would raise the level of military cooperation and build “powerful ties” in the military industry. He added that in recent decades “there have been no money or energy left to develop the military” but “we will make up for that now; Hungary’s goal is to build a modern and effective national army”.”

Peter E. Uhde talks about a military plan for Hungary that is set to be in full materialization by 2026:

“Zrínyi 2026” is the name of a ten-year defense and military development program. This includes a voluntary reserve system for territorial protection, ie homeland security.”

There has been talk amongst Turkish nationalists in the media on the formation of a Turanian army, or even a Turkish NATO, in which Turkish nations will unite under Ankara. For example, in an article published on October 27th, 2020, by the Turkish daily Türkiye,  professor Cemalettin Taşkıran, speaks of how “the Central Asian Republics” are closer now to Turkey than in any point in the history of the Ottoman Empire, stating: “In Turkish history, the periods in which the Central Asian Republics got as close [as they are today] to the Ottoman state, and later to the Republic of Turkey, and in fact, gave each other such close support, are so few as to be non-existent.” He then goes on to say that

“the regaining of nearly all of the land [Azerbaijan] had lost… pleased the entire Turkic world. It would not be wrong to say that the support that Turkey gave changed the balance in the region. Will this go on to [the formation of] a Turan Army? Inshallah it will.”

The introduction of this article speaks of how the Azeri and Turkish victory over the Armenians bolsters the position in favor of a pan-Turkish military force. Its subheading reads: “It Will Be A Global Power – It Is Early But Definitely One Day.” And before this it reads:

“The success in Karabagh has brought once again to the agenda one of the West’s greatest fears: the Turan Army. Azerbaijan, which has become stronger with the military training, joint drills, and support with armed drones that Turkey has provided, has broken Armenia’s back. This picture of success that has appeared has once again brought to life the hopes concerning a Turan Army, that would be the joint military power of the Turkic states. The Turan Army, which will be a unique option for disrupting the plots in the region, will become a leading actor on every issue.”

In an article published on October 28th of 2020 by Yeni Çağ,nationalist Ahmet Gürsoy described this Turan army as “a kind of Turkic NATO,” and said that:

“Can it be? Yes. If we want it and we decide [to do it], it will be. Should it be? Yes to that too, it should be. It should be established, and the Turkic union should be wrapped up in a military organization and a concrete legal identity. This way all Turks will come under one single army umbrella and one single military personage. The dream, without beginning or end, of Turkish nationalists, is the great homeland: the Turan homeland may not be realized geographically. For this reason, we may not be able to geographically unite all of the Turks under a single flag as they were in their imperial periods. However, socially, by forming a legal identity, we can unite the whole Turkic union under a single flag, just as multinational companies are represented by the same flag in every corner of the world. The most striking and possible way to do this is the Turan Army.”

According to some prominent politicians in the Turkish parliament, there is a plan being conspired by Erdogan and his ilk to bring back the Caliphate to the center of the religious and political paradigm of the Islamic world. Cem Toker, the former head of the libertarian Liberal Democratic Party in Turkey, warned in an interview:

“There will be another referendum in the next four years… There is one more referendum left to come. I believe that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is assertive (on this point). My guess: the caliphate. We will ask the nation, ‘shall we bring back the caliphate or not?”

When asked by the interviewer on whether or not he was certain of what he was saying, Toker responded: “It’s a very, very great possibility, yes …March 3, 2024 is the hundredth anniversary of the abolition of the caliphate…”

The 2020s is going to be a very turbulent decade (to say the least).