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.
Years ago I was only joking when I wondered if we could con the Turks into taking back the Arab Middle East, but Erdogan might be serious.