Erdoğan's delusions of grandeur risk Turkey’s further isolation - analyst

Turkey’s looming Libya intervention is the latest example of Ankara’s delusions of grandeur embodied in its ambition to become a regional and global power, but it may prove to be a colossal failure and end with further isolation, wrote analyst Simon A. Waldman in the Israeli newspaper Hareetz on Monday. 

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s plan to send troops to Libya is the latest sign of Ankara flexing its muscles in the region, said Waldman, an associate fellow at the Henry Jackson Society and a visiting research fellow at King's College London.

Since 2016, Turkey has opened military bases in Qatar and Somalia, launched three military offensives in northern Syria and sent drilling ships and warships to waters off Cyprus, escalating tensions in the eastern Mediterranean. 

Turkey’s latest move is to expand its claimed territorial waters through a deal with the U.N.-recognised Libyan government in Tripoli and increase its military presence in Libya.

Such policies “highlight Ankara’s delusions of grandeur in its quest to become a regional and global power,” but they are “hampered by the fact that the country is no more than a medium-sized power with limited means at its disposal,” Waldman said. 

Turkey’s involvement in Libya may prove to be a colossal failure, Waldman said, as Libyan strongman General Khalifa Haftar has the support of Russia, Egypt, Sudan, Jordan, France and the United Arab Emirates for his assault against the Tripoli government.

While Turkey does not have the means to counter such overwhelming support for Haftar’s troops, it risks falling out with Russia over Libya at a time when the Turkish government has few alternative allies left, with the exception of Qatar and Hungary, the analyst said.