Sunday, 13 December 2015

Turkish foreign policy

Norman Stone is right to say that Erdogan`s recent "adventurism" does, indeed, "amount to an extraordinary departure" for Turkish foreign policy since 1923, but he strangely failed to mention how the events of the late 1870s substantiate his argument about Turkey`s dangerous provocation of Russia (Erdogan`s dreams of empire are perilous for his country,07/12/15). The role of principal thorn in the side of the Turks, then, was taken by Balkan nationalists, particularly after the obscene mistreatment of the Bulgars which brought about Russian intervention to protect fellow Slavs, a situation not too dissimilar from that of today. Russian victory in the ensuing war in 1878 meant Britain, under the Tory Disraeli, sticking her imperial nose in, especially when the San Stephano peace did not suit her own territorial ambitions, and when an international affair looked as though it would be settled without the involvement of the British. Disraeli may have returned home from the Congress of Berlin a hero, but his misreading of the political situation, and understimation of the strength of opposition to foreign intervention, led to the early 20th century Balkan wars, and ultimately the first world war. Historians say how Disraeli "backed the wrong horse", but the lesson, surely, is to stay well away from the betting ring!

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