Erdogan's Speech Reveals Frustration Over Mosul

In a speech at his palace on Wednesday, Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan struck out at foreign efforts to “restructure the region,” and warned that Turkey would not watch quietly from the sidelines. During the speech, Erdogan struck at the U.S. for keeping Turkey out of the operation to retake Mosul and thinking it could “shape [Turkey’s] future with the hands of terrorist organizations,” an apparent reference to U.S. support for Kurdish militant groups in Syria. Erdogan seemed to promise a more forceful regional foreign policy, saying that Turkey “will not wait until the blade is against our bone and skin” to act.

The Cipher Take: This speech follows a series of angry pronouncements from the Turkish government in the past few weeks. Primarily, these statements have been directed at the Shi’a government of Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi, who has criticized Ankara for maintaining a military base at Bashiqa airbase without Iraqi central government approval – the base was approved by the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in Erbil. This latest speech is more wide-ranging, warning “foreign powers” against restricting Turkey’s sphere of influence, and accusing them of fueling the terrorist threat posed by ISIS, the PKK, and the PYG amongst others. As Erdogan steps up talks with Putin, which he claims will set the groundwork for a ceasefire in Aleppo, Turkey’s disaffection with U.S. and NATO efforts in the region bears close watching.


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