The Erdogan International Adventure continues, this time with an initiative to lead the world’s Turkish-language states. Just as Erdogan’s rejection of Israel’s foreign policy reliance on force challenges the regional superpower and his effort to achieve a compromise between the U.S. and Iran challenges the global superpower, Erdogan’s effort to carve out a Turkish heritage zone of influence challenges whatever pretensions Moscow may have of reasserting control over Central Asia. Erdogan is challenging a disunited group, of course, and it is not clear that either Washington or Moscow has concluded that his challenge need be met with a frontal rejection.
A Russian perspective, for example, recently noted the shared interest of Russia and Turkey as “Black Sea superpowers” acting as cross-national bridges:
на планете формируются новые центры силы. Один из них — как раз Турция, которая вместе с Россией сегодня принадлежит к числу “черноморских сверхдержав”.
Nonetheless, he is pushing against an increasingly large set of resistance forces. His recent domestic political victory may well help, but he needs a foreign policy victory. The ratio of political meetings full of rhetoric to actual solid accomplishments is verging on the embarrassing. If the above-cited opinion represents Moscow’s perspective and were Washington to adopt a similar attitude, then Erdogan would indeed be on the way to making history, but that, in both cases, remains highly questionable. Erdogan’s rhetoric may be a breathe of fresh air, but somewhere he badly needs to deliver.