Turkey’s relations with the two big European players, France and Germany, encounter many problems. Not only Erdogan pushes the Germans of Turkish origin towards islamism, but he also encourages them not to be absorbed by Germany. That scares the Germans a lot, because they see Turkey’s rising influence over global islamism.
Germany also blocks Turkey’s entry to the European Union, for which Turkey has been begging for years. Moreover the Germans subsidized the sale of the ultra modern Dolphin submarines to Israel, which give the Israelis a chance to face the extremely powerful Turkish Navy, if they have to protect their off-shore natural gas fields in the East Mediterranean Sea. Israel has very short coastlines, and it has a very weak navy, which cannot face the strong Turkish Navy. Israel has a stronger air force than Turkey, but a country needs a powerful navy in order to protect its off shore fields. The Dolphins give the Israelis a chance against the Turkish Navy.
Moreover billion cubic meters of Russian natural gas pass to Europe through Germany, through the Baltic Sea pipelines, and that significantly reduces Turkey’s geopolitical significance. Together with the US and the EU, Turkey is trying to create the Southern Energy Corridor, which will provide an alternative to the Russian natural gas, and Germany makes things harder for the Americans, the EU and the Turks. As you can read at the following Euractiv article, titled “No EU funding for Nabucco, says Merkel”, March 2009, Merkel said that Germany was not willing to finance the Nabucco pipeline, which was supported by the US, the EU and Turkey, and there were suspicions that Germany wanted to prevent the construction of Nabucco. That brings Germany against the Americans and the Turks.
Turkey has an issue with the islamists with France too, given the millions of French Muslims and Turkey’s influence over global islamism. As you can read at the following Guardian article, titled “French Muslim women on burqa ban ruling: All I want is to live in peace”, July 2014, France recently banned Muslim women from covering their face, as it is required by the Islamic law.
Moreover France does not want Turkey in the EU either, as you can read at the following article from the state owned France 24, titled “Hollande tries to calm France’s complicated relationship with Turkey”, January 2014. At the following article from the Telegraph, titled “Turkey ‘recalls French ambassador’ over Armenian genocide bill”, December 2011, you can read that France passed a bill which prohibits the denial of the Armenian genocide, and Turkey responded by recalling her ambassador in Paris.
Moreover when relations between the Americans and the Saudis went sour, due to American support to the TAPI pipeline, and the 9/11 terrorist attack, and also due to the rising Chinese influence over Saudi Arabia, since the Chinese are increasing their imports of Saudi oil while the Americans are reducing theirs, the French took the role of protecting Saudi Arabia, in order to make more energy deals with the Saudis, and also sell them more arms. The Arabs are a traditional purchaser of French arms, and France is on the Arab side in their fight with the Iranians.
But Saudi Arabia does not accept the Islamic Chaliphate with Erdogan as the Sultan of the Muslim world. The Saudi leadership believes it is them who are the leaders of the Chaliphate and the Muslim World, in order to keep control of their oil, and there are big problems between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Therefore in their clash with the Saudis, the Turks have to face the French too, and in their clash with the Israelis, the Turks have to face the Germans too.
Therefore Turkey has a problematic relation with France too. When in 2011 Turkey saw France leading the attack against Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, she was not happy at all, because that would give France an enhanced role in the post Qaddafi Libya. France carried out the first attacks over Libya, as you can read at the following article from Washington Post, titled “France fires first shots against Libya after Gaddafi’s forces enter Benghazi”, March 2011.
French fighter jets streaking over Libya on Saturday bombed a military vehicle and walled off a 600-square-mile sanctuary over the eastern city of Benghazi in the first military engagements in support of the no-fly zone authorized two days ago by the U.N. Security Council.
Turkey insisted that the operations against Qaddafi were controlled by NATO and not France, as you can read at the following BBC article, titled “Libya: Turkey’s troubles with Nato and no-fly zone”, March 2011.
1st, 2nd and 3rd Paragraphs
At the beginning of March, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spelled out his view of Nato-led intervention in Libya.
It would be absurd, unthinkable, he said. It should not even be discussed. Two weeks later he repeated that view. Nato intervention would be useless, he said, and would have dangerous consequences.
But this week, Turkish policy towards Libya appears to have done a complete U-turn. Criticising the French government for taking the lead role in air attacks on Col Gaddafi’s forces, Turkey has insisted that command of the operation be handed over to Nato, and Nato alone. For this to happen, the agreement of Turkey – a Nato member since 1952 – is essential.
Turkey, together with Qatar, tried to provide to the Libyan rebels more support than the French did, in order to play an enhanced role in the post Qaddafi Libya. As expected Turkey supported the islamists in Libya. What is interesting is that NATO countries had different motives to overturn Qaddafi, and after Qaddafi was assassinated, they supported different political fractions.
For Merkel’s refusal to finance Nabucco see
“No EU funding for Nabucco, says Merkel”, March 2009.
For the ban of wearing burkas in France see
“French Muslim women on burqa ban ruling: All I want is to live in peace”, July 2014
For France’s unwillingness to accept Turkey in the EU see
“Hollande tries to calm France’s complicated relationship with Turkey”, January 2014
For France and the Armenian genocide see “Turkey ‘recalls French ambassador’ over Armenian genocide bill”, December 2011.