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memri
June 24, 2019 No.
8138

Turkish Pro-Government Daily: Turkish Oil Exploration Ship Sent To North Cyprus Is 'An Ottoman Frigate, A Barbaros Vessel' And Part Of A Great Showdown Like Battles Of Lepanto, Preveza


Turkey's Yavuz ultra deepwater drillship (Source: Hurriyetdailynews.com, June 20, 2019). 

In his June 21, 2019, column[1] in Turkey's Yeni Şafak daily, which is a mouthpiece of Turkey's ruling AKP (Justice and Development) party, the paper's editor-in-chief, İbrahim Karagül, described two Turkish ultra-deepwater drillships as "an Ottoman frigate, a Barbaros[2] vessel, the protection of an empire, the protection of the Republic of Turkey." Turkey's first drillship, the Fatih, began deep-sea drilling operations under the Turkish flag in the Mediterranean in October 2018.[3] Its second, the Yavuz,[4] is set to begin operations east of Cyprus by July 2019,[5] amid EU warnings that such activity is illegal because that region is part of Cyprus's exclusive economic zone.[6]

Karagül went on to compare modern European alliances with the allied powers that fought the Ottoman Empire in World War I, and likened the current conflict over drilling in Cypriot waters to the large-scale 16th-century naval battles between the Ottoman Empire and the European powers of that time. He wrote that "the Syria war essentially broke out to open a Turkey front," adding that "the EU process is dead. The U.N.'s global influence has been eliminated."

Following are excerpts from Karagül's column, in the Yeni Şafak translation:

"Turkey's second drillship, Yavuz, departed yesterday for Cypriot waters to join its predecessor, Fatih, in the East Mediterranean. These vessels are each an element of Turkey's national struggle. They are Turkish fleet. They are part of a massive Mediterranean struggle.

"Do not consider them solely as an energy issue. Do not view them as a natural gas or oil issue either. Consider them an Ottoman frigate, a Barbaros vessel, the protection of an empire, the protection of the Republic of Turkey.

"A Millennium-Old Political Legacy Has Been Brought To The Present

"Consider it as part of a great showdown. Think of it as Turkey's game-changing legacy being propelled into action once again, the reconstruction of the multinational front aimed at eliminating this, and every location within our reach becoming battlefields of this showdown.

"Think with the destinies of the battles of Preveza[7] and Lepanto[8] in mind. It is as though the millennium-old political history has been carried over to the present and squeezed into a few years. This is the kind of struggle we are putting up.

"Vastest Coalition After Çanakkale – This Is Not A Party Issue But A Turkey Issue!

"Not only the activities happening around Turkey, every activity, every intervention, every defense from North Africa to the Persian Gulf, from the Red Sea to the coasts of the Caspian should be considered a global intervention aimed at 'stopping Turkey' and an area of resistance against it.

"The vastest international coalition after the Çanakkale war is surrounding Turkey. The Atlantic alliance is taking action, conducting overt interventions to push Turkey outside of history for a second time after World War I. This is neither a party nor a governmental issue. This is a matter of Turkey, a matter of these lands, our legacy, claims and political legacy...

"The Syrian War Essentially Broke Out To Open A Turkey Front...

"We saw that the Syria war essentially broke out to open a Turkey front. They built a hundreds-of-kilometers-long front. They established military buildups large enough for entire armies at the zero point of our border. We intervened on the west gate – they are trying to implement incredible tactics both within the country and from abroad to prevent our intervention east of the Euphrates River in Syria too.

"The Syria War Is An East Mediterranean War, It Is A North Cyprus Issue – North Cyprus Is A Mediterranean Shield

"We saw that the Syria war is an East Mediterranean war. Western fleets gathered in the region; now they are seeking new opportunities from the Mediterranean to the Iranian border to intervene again. As they flock to the great energy resources in the region, they are trying to expel us from the region.

"We also saw that the Syria war turned into a TRNC [Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus] issue. The buildup in the East Mediterranean signifies a siege around the TRNC. We saw how the 1974 Cyprus Peace Operation was a geopolitical move, how it was preparation for today, how we formed a protection shield through the TRNC. Now, they are trying to weaken and disable this shield.

"The Cyprus Case Is Closed For Us – There Will No Longer Be A Negotiation Table

"Then the Northern Cyprus case is closed. Negotiation is off the table. It is not a U.N. or EU issue.

"The TRNC is not a trump card, it is an independent state, an extremely powerful presence in the East Mediterranean. The EU process is dead. The U.N.'s global influence has been eliminated. Since Greece and South Cyprus have openly taken up a position against Turkey in the Mediterranean and Aegean, and the U.S., Israel and EU countries have done the same in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the nature of the Cyprus matter has completely changed for us.

"We are in a time in which force spoils the game. All countries that have authority in the global power domain – primarily the U.S. – are closed off to negotiations. This power struggle has spread through the whole world; there is no supranational organization left to balance this.

"Understanding Multi-Front Fights, And An Extraordinary Defense Preparation Are Mandatory

"Then there is no option other than to strengthen Turkey's hand and make extraordinary defense preparations. The age of seeking solutions under U.S. and EU patronage is over. Because the threat is coming directly from the West and targeting Turkey's existence. Sieging Turkey from the Mediterranean, the Aegean and the north of Syria, building fronts within the country are all preparations for a strong wave, an intervention.

"Turkey should prepare for spherical interventions. The area from the Iranian border, Syria and the Mediterranean to the Aegean and Balkans is being set as the outer front line. We need to prepare for the waves that will approach from the south and west. Drillships Yavuz (south) and Fatih (west) should also signify something in a symbolic sense.

"A Tough Struggle Awaits The 'Turkey Axis'

"Yet the most important front is being built within; the biggest struggle is inside the country itself. Fighting against the internal invasion is going to be the greatest of struggles. The perpetrators of the July 15, 2016 attack received dozens of life sentences. They were native agents attacking Turkey on behalf of the U.S., Israel and the West. It did not end.

"As long as the siege from abroad continues, so will the inside attacks. They are both running in perfect harmony. But the 'Turkey axis' is also entering a very keen fighting period."

 

[1] Yenisafak.com, June 21, 2019.

[2] Barbaros Hayreddin Pasha, better known in the English-speaking world as Hayreddin Barbarossa, was an Ottoman admiral of the fleet whose naval victories secured Ottoman control of the Mediterranean in the middle-16th century.

[3] Dailysabah.com/energy/2018/10/30/turkeys-first-drilling-vessel-fatih-to-launch-deep-sea-operation-in-mediterranean-this-week, October 29, 2018.

[4] Both ships are named after Ottoman sultans famous for their military conquests.

[5] Dailysabah.com/energy/2019/06/20/turkeys-second-drillship-yavuz-to-operate-in-east-of-cyprus-by-july, June 20, 2019.

[6] France24.com/en/20190504-eu-warns-turkey-against-drilling-off-cyprus, May 4, 2019.

[7] The Battle of Preveza was a naval battle that took place in 1538 near Preveza in northwest Greece between the Ottoman Empire and a Christian alliance. It was among the largest battles in the Mediterranean in the 16th century and resulted in a victory for the Ottomans, who were led by Hayreddin Barbarossa.

[8] The battle of Lepanto was a navy battle that took place off the coast of Greece in 1571 between the Ottoman Empire and a fleet of the Holy League. It resulted in an Ottoman defeat.