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09/30/2019

In Washington’s Web: Turkey’s role in countering America’s attack on China

In Washington’s Web: Turkey’s role in countering America’s attack on China

Washington has begun to spin its web of influence in the areas where China meets the West, particularly in Hong Kong, the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region and Kashmir. The US is looming over these troubled regions like a spider, waiting for its victim to be rendered helpless.

Although the US has begun to pivot heavily toward China, it has not yet abandoned its fight in the Middle East and maintains a foothold in northern Syria. While the issue of Kurdish autonomy may not seem to be directly related to the US’ anti-China efforts, the terrorist state Washington is attempting to establish in the Northern Syria is ultimately meant to be another obstacle for Beijing’s ambitious One Belt One Road Project in the medium and long term. Washington is willing to pursue this course of action even though its former ally, Turkey (alongside other countries in the region), regards it as hostile and a threat to regional stability. 

DESTROYING CHINA’S GATEWAYS INTO THE WEST

China is well on its way to bringing the historical silk road into the present via the One Belt One Road Project. The project is accompanied by an ideological vision that runs directly contrary to the unipolar model which has been the dominant geopolitical framework since the end of the Cold War.

The statement “We see the end of Western hegemony in the world, the circumstances are changing,” is perhaps emblematic of this change. This phrase was not uttered by some Chinese functionary, but by the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and in that sense, it could be read as a leading Western government’s partial concession to the emerging and irrefutable rise of China.

Donald Trump, on the other hand, continues to row against the current and desperately try to slow Beijing’s march to the top. Under his leadership, the United States has made efforts to undermine and control the geographical bridges between China and the West, exploiting issues such as the Chinese government’s conflict with the minority Uighur population, the on-going crisis in Kashmir and the mass protests in Hong Kong. 

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Looking at a map is enough to reveal the strategic importance of the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region: the area is located on the border between China and Central Asia.

Similarly, Kashmir, which is divided into three between Pakistan, India and China has geographic access to the Arabian Sea via Pakistan. The Arabian Sea plays a crucial role in the vital petroleum trade.

Hong Kong, on the other hand, is a city where Chinese culture has historically merged with the West to an extent. As a result of the area’s relative autonomy, Western values and influence have considerably more purchase there than in the mainland. This is also part of why the ongoing protests in Hong Kong have found such resonance among western audiences.

Three of China’s most important pathways to the West have been subject to provocations and chaos due to underhanded efforts by the United States.

The US’ has been relentless in exacerbating and drawing attention to ethnic tensions in China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region to weaken its rival, bringing other nations into the mix in order to assert political pressure, even Turkey. However, as President Erdoğan’s latest statements on the issue show, Turkey’s inclination is to preserve relations with China rather than buy into the US’ propaganda efforts. 

The Kashmir issue represents a potential point of contradiction between China and Pakistani in regard to moving forward with collaboration on the One Belt One Road Project. The United States has attempted to fan the flames of these tensions to damage China’s relationship with potential regional partners.

The United States has funded and supported the demonstrators in Hong Kong openly and to a considerable degree. Leaders of the demonstrations have been seen meeting with American diplomats, while US flags unfurled at the demonstrations themselves clearly indicate the political forces backing them.

CHINA’S TRIAL

While China is waging a historical war on three fronts, it is also testing the future of a Beijing-based system.

The government is trying to find its own solutions to its ethnic issues, its own strategy to quell the cultural conflicts at the heart of the marches in Hong Kong and a mutually beneficial regional balance in Kashmir agreed on by the countries in the region.

Beijing has been tasked with fighting the United States’ economic pressure and continued efforts to dominate the rest of the world, as we are witnessing in Washington’s ongoing obstinate attacks on Iran.

AN OPPORTUNITY FOR TURKEY

As the emerging multipolar world experiences its birth pains, Turkey’s recent falling out with the US has presented it with an opportunity to find new alliances while advancing its interests in Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean Sea.

With the United States ready to sacrifice its former ally’s security by backing the idea of a Kurdish state in Northern Syria, Ankara has obvious impetus to join forces with Beijing, who also sees Washington’s plot as a threat to the Belt and Road project. 

The Turkish Republic cannot solve its issues or maintain its security if it remains a puppet of the United States, especially since Washington is showing no signs of reducing its support for the PKK and YPG terrorist organizations.

The path forward is obvious: Turkey must agree to enter into dialogue with the Syrian government in order to facilitate further partnership with Damascus and Beijing.

The way to swat the American spider whose legs stretch from Hong Kong to Northern Syria is through establishing strong regional alliances, and Turkey can play a central role in making it happen.

 
Onur Sinan Güzaltan
Political expert, geopolitical analyst, journalist (Turkey)

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