Erdogan and his revisionist Neo-Ottoman ambitions

Over the past few weeks, Erdogan has made a number of controversial statements, which directly refer to the need to revise the boundaries of modern Turkey. It is believed that Erdogan's revisionism aimed at legitimizing Turkey's more active involvement in the region, especially in Syria and Iraq. It is possible also that the president is guided by its own domestic political interests: the bellicose statements should attract the votes of the nationalist-minded voters in the upcoming parliamentary elections.

First series of loud statements of the Turkish leaders were about Greece. On September 29, Erdogan claimed that the Treaty of Lausanne 1923, which laid the foundation of the Turkish Republic and outlined its recognized borders after the War of Independence of the Turkish people against the western intervention,  is in fact "false victory of Turkish diplomacy." According to the President, the fact that the forced transfer of control to the Greek State over the disputed islands in the Aegean Sea is a testament to the historic injustice. It is not surprising that such ambiguous statements by Erdogan immediately caused a sharp reaction of the Greek side. Greece Foreign Ministry called upon Ankara to "respect international treaties."

Attention of the President was also directed at ongoing in these days in Iraq, the operation to liberate Mosul from the hands of the "Islamic state" (IG, banned in Russia). Erdogan during another speech lashed out at Iraqi government, for having been blocking part of the country situated in the territory of the Turkish expeditionary force in a military operation. Stepping aside from the diplomatic etiquette, Erdogan held that Ankara does not consider it necessary to ask Baghdad over how to deal with its own armed forces on the Iraqi territories.

Several days later, the President noted that the Turkish people "can not now live by psychology of 1923," alluding to the need to revise the modern borders of the country, including also to itsTurkish-Iraqi segment. Nobody doubted that under the latter he implied a return to the provisions of the National Pact – a declaration adopted in 1918 by the last Ottoman Parliament, which subsequently formed the basis of the political program of the Liberation Movement 1919-1923 under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

As part of the pact, in particular, it was expected to maintain the oil-rich former Ottoman Province of Mosul under the supervision of the young Turkish Republic. However, as a result of a long diplomatic conflict, known in history as the Mosul question, under pressure from the city's colonial mistress of Iraqi territories, England, city remained outside of Turkey and was later incorporated into the Iraqi state. As a result of the signing of the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923, Turkey was forced to acknowledge the loss of Mosul.

Historical injustice, by which the imposition of borders of modern Turkey is meant, Erdogan pushes for review of basic documents and establishment of the conditions under which Ankara would return specified in the National Pact, but unjustly alienated territories. "Mosul was ours. Take a look at the history ", - Erdogan appealed to his supporters during one of his recent speeches.

It is likely that for the militant speeches Erdogan lies his desire to change the attitude of the Turkish society to the idea of ​​the active participation of the country's military in Syria and Iraq, to ​​the territory of which due to the political instability of the threats to national security of Turkey itself. According to numerous polls, the majority of the population is skeptical about any plans for Turkey's military intervention in the affairs of neighboring countries. And that public sentiment has long exerted a restraining influence on the conduct of military operations in Iraq and Syria.

Implementation of the policy of revisionism, actively promoted by Erdogan, today, is also associated with a number of foreign policy risks and limitations. We are talking about the negative reaction of the population of Iraq and Syria, which is sensitive about any Turkish interference in the affairs of the region. Steps like to send entire army units are still attached to the tragic experience of the colonial past.

The attempts of the Turkish leadership to correct the "historical injustice" can cause fear of the dominant regional political forces as well.

The historical experience of the last century suggests that Turkey may proceed from words to action in Ankara in 1930 to actively intervene in the internal affairs of the colonial Syria, while it was the French mandate. Through diplomatic maneuvering and political pressure Ankara made separation in 1938 of Sanjak Alexandretta, that was also under consideration in the National Covenant, from the Syria. In 1939, in a referendum held in the presence of the Turkish Armed Forces, Sanjak became a part of Turkey (current province of Hatay). Since then, the status of Hatay / Alexandretta has repeatedly been the subject of a dispute between Turkey and Syria.

High-profile foreign policy Erdogan can point to the fact that the real reason for such activity are connected to his own political ambitions, closely related to the ongoing debate about the new constitution and the issue of transition to a presidential system. After several months of silence in the middle of October, Erdogan once again raised the topic. Transition to the new system should become the apotheosis of Erdogan's political career. That is the issue of the status and powers of the president in the Basic Law political forces in Turkey broke a lot of copies.

Recently, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) said that its draft constitution ready for consideration in the Grand National Assembly (parliament) of Turkey. However, in order to initiate a referendum at the AKP is not enough votes in parliament: the required quota for the referendum - 330 votes, and at the disposal of the AKP - 317 seats. Manual AKP has long tried to enlist the support of deputies from the opposition National Action Party (MHP), but judging by the statements of the leaders of nationalist MHP stands for the preservation of the parliamentary system.

In these circumstances, the AKP had to prepare for early elections that may be held in the spring. The authorities want to use the political mood in the society and high ratings of the ruling party, resulting from the successful suppression of anti-state coup in mid-July.

The president is trying to create the image of a strong leader, who is correcting the "historical injustice" and relentlessly fighting against foreign enemies. Erdogan's image as a collector of Ottoman land is unlikely to add to it's foreign policy achievements, but promises to become the core of the forthcoming campaign in connection with the new Constitution of Turkey.