Perhaps it’s our right as an Arab nation to name the Mediterranean Sea the “Arabian Sea” since nine Arab countries overlook it, similar to the name of “The Arabian Gulf”, which is overlooked by six Arab Gulf states. And we should all defend our right to the goods that pass through the Mediterranean Sea as a trade route, a reservoir of fortune, and a lake of peace.
Throughout history, the Mediterranean has been a significant route for merchants and travellers from ancient times. It has allowed trade and cultural exchange between the emerging peoples in its basin, but the expansionist policies led by Erdogan currently will take us back centuries. Turkey pushes things to escalate, whether by the violent statements made by Erdogan, or through military manoeuvres in the Mediterranean, or the start of the exploration activities for gas and oil in areas of tension with Greece.
The waters of the Mediterranean, which may ignite from one moment to the next with a war between hundreds of military forces, at one time carried the Phoenician ships that transported wood from the coasts of Lebanon and Syria to Europe. This is the difference between civilisations that turn the seas into a lake of peace, and the leaders who want to turn the sea into a volcano.
The Turkish-Greek disputes over the Mediterranean gas have flared up again due to some extremist Arab governments, like when the Government of National Accord in Libya signed an agreement with Ankara, according to which the maritime borders with Libya were re-demarcated. What did the Libyan people get in return? Nothing but more extremist mercenaries. On the other hand, countries like Egypt, Lebanon and Tunisia were extremely late in realising the oil and gas wealth available in the eastern Mediterranean.
It is clear that the US is not dissatisfied with the escalation of the conflict in the Eastern Mediterranean and may even intervene to fuel it, as it is participating in Turkish manoeuvres on the one hand and lifting the Greek’s arms embargo on the other. Russia is also pleased with what is happening, and Turkey is seeking to enter Russia – a sworn Nato enemy – in this struggle.
What does Erdogan imply by tearing up the current maps? And what does the Turkish parliament member, who is loyal to Erdogan, imply by publishing and printing this map of Turkey – that blatantly includes parts of Syria, Iraq and other countries? To the rest of the world it proves that they are pursuing a dangerous policy of brinkmanship that has so far been the hallmark of Edogan’s regime.
All this portends a great war and even opens the door for countries like Russia to claim its Tsarist legacy, as it has already done in Crimea and elsewhere. Italy may claim tomorrow its Roman legacy, Germany its Germanic legacy, and other countries could follow.
Erdogan wants to present himself as the global leader of the Muslims, and he has entered alliances with Islamic countries such as Malaysia and Pakistan and is taking advantage of faltering countries in North Africa, starting with Libya, and then moving gradually towards Tunisia. However, Erdogan’s era will end, his popularity has declined, and the Turkish economy is in a very poor state, so he resorts to nationalist ideas that flirt with the dreams of all Turks, including Turkey’s right to claim countries like Cyprus, Syria, and others.
Our Arab nation has entered into many dangerous situations since the beginning of the last century, and I no longer know which one is riskier than the other, but we still maintain hope that we stand as Arabs next to each other. A hope that we may ignite now, so that successive generations may transform it into a reality; a hope of love and peace for all as our nation has always been.