Due to some scheduling and technical difficulties, my regular Friday column on Antiwar.com appeared today.
In it I touch on the recently begun - and adjourned - show trial of former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadžić in light of the disturbing initiative by the Turkish government to engage in neo-Ottoman foreign policy aiming to "reintegrate" the Balkans, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. I understand why many in Ankara may wax nostalgic for the times of Mehmet II or Suleiman, but there is much less enthusiasm for this in either of those three areas.
Unlike Turkey's FM Ahmet Davutoglu, I think it's precisely Ottoman rule that is to blame for many conflicts and hatreds in these regions over the past century or so. Even if we take that out of consideration, any sort of Ottoman revival clashes directly with the Kemalist ideology that underpins the modern Turkish republic.
Finally, making Davutoglu's vision a reality is impossible without the force of arms. But if he believes that modern Turks are the military equivalent of the Ottomans, he's sorely mistaken. And if the neo-Ottomans honestly think that Turkey can fill the vacuum that is likely to appear with the withdrawal of the American Empire, they are putting the cart before the proverbial horse, and forgetting where their own power and influence came from.