Will Turkey’s expanding military footprint constitute a challenge for India in 2021?
Recently, quoting a Greek journalist, the Indian media reported that Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdoğan was planning to send some 2,000 Syrian jihadists to Kashmir. This is probably an exaggeration, given that there is no dearth of jihadists in South Asia who can infiltrate into Kashmir.
However, given the spate of Turkish interventions recently in conflict zones far and wide, it is not impossible that Turkey may in 2021 instigate conflict in South Asia, which may necessitate dispatching some militants here.
Take the recent conflict in the South Caucasus. Azerbaijan could win back parts of territory it had lost to Armenia more than two decades ago in large parts because of Turkish military assistance. It was a win for both sides because the victory consolidated the rule of President Ilham Aliyev in Azerbaijan, while earning Turkey much-needed financial resources — Azerbaijan’s defence procurement from Turkey in 2020 was $123 million.
Recently, while in Baku to celebrate the victory, Erdoğan described Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan as part of Turkey’s quest for its “deserved place in the world order.” If regaining former (Ottoman) glory is one driver of Turkey’s current foreign policy, then the quest for resources is another.
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