Between Russia and USA
After USA, Turkey has the second largest army in NATO and is one of the most important strategic partners of USA. In the same time, the greater part of Turkey‘s natural gas supply is provided by the Russian company GAZPROM, the minor part comes from Iran. So Ankara is on a very peculiar political crossroads, cooperating with countries that are at enemy with each other. What is more, the serious political crash of the relationship between Turkey and Israel in 2010 shows that both countries insist hard on their strategic policy, no matter whether USA like it or not.
The Turkish ambitions
Many strategic analyses show that Turkey has the ambition of reviving the Ottoman empire, that definitely will not be supported by many countries in the region as long as they had enough of the Ottoman rule centuries ago. Strange enough, just several years ago Ankara and Damascus had good relationships, but the Turkish prime-minister Erdogan somehow changed his mind and made Turkey the biggest supporter of the Syrian opposition. It is clear that Ankara is becoming allies in the countries where the Sunni Islam is dominating – Saudi Arabia and Qatar, which means that Turkey wants to be a factor in the world of Sunni Islam. Syria, governed by shiites, is not suitable for Turkey to cooperate with. And what is more, the Syrian opposition is constituted of Sunnis. The ambitions of obtaining nuclear weapon, though not so loudly outspoken, show that Ankara is seeking more than local dominance.
The Kurds have always been a problem for Turkey and they are one of the biggest peoples without its own country. The number of Kurds in Turkey is estimated around 18 million, and in the world they are about 38 million, concentrated in Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria. With the local conflict aggravating, the Kurds in Turkey get encouraged to fight for autonomy. If Kurds become independent and have their own country, Ankara will get in a serious trouble, as long a war between many countries will be quite possible.
To draw a conclusion, we can say that the game played by Ankara is dangerous not only for Turkey itself, but for the whole region, hiding the risk of a large-scale conflict.