A dispute continues to deepen between Ankara and Baghdad over the presence of Turkish soldiers near the Iraqi city of Mosul.
Тhe spat erupted after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took the country and the region by surprise last month by calling into question the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne, which defined modern Turkey’s borders.
He declared Turkey had been blackmailed by foreign powers into giving up vast swaths of territory that were once part of the Ottoman Empire. Although Erdogan focused his criticism on the loss of Aegean islands to Greece, it is Turkey’s southern borders he had in mind, according to visiting Carnegie Europe scholar Sinan Ulgen.
“The message should be seen more of a signal in relation to Turkish polices towards the south, Syria and Iraq. I read it as a backdrop to a policy that tries to build domestic support for a more long-term presence, particularly in Syria, by pointing out, at allegedly past historical mistakes," Ulgen said.
Really, if Russia and Turkey have come to some sort of arrangement to pull Turkey away from NATO (perhaps a "pact" at the expense of third parties?), Russia could force Syria to give up territory to appease Turkey while not harming Russian interests in bases in western Syria--which Turkey would accept--to exert influence in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
And Iran could probably make Iraq suck it up if the Kurds pay the price of Turkish demands--especially if Turkey is friendly to Iran (tip to Instapundit) and provides them overland access to Iranian strongholds in western Syria.
Iran really just needs western Syria as an access point to supply Hezbollah in Lebanon and doesn't have hope of getting influence in Iraq's Kurdish regions anyway--so why not let Turkey strip away some of Iraq?
Really, although Turkey and Russia have a long history of warfare which should keep Turkey in NATO, since the collapse of the Soviet Union, Turkey no longer has a direct land border with Russia, which gives Turkey more room to maneuver and cut deals with Russia to expand Turkish influence without risking a Russian invasion.
And the ongoing Erdogan purge of Turkey's government, military, and other institutions of people who can be described as pro-Western (if the coup had as much support as the purge indicates, the coup would have worked) certainly helps Erdogan shift Turkey's focus south and east.