If relations between Turkey and Western Europe are one of the key consequences of the outcome of Sunday’s constitutional referendum, the (narrow) victory of Sunni Islamist Erdogan is bound also to have repercussions on the Middle Eastern scene. The Arab and Islamic reactions to the vote give a clear picture of the weight the Turkish “super-president” has in the region, positive for some but negative for others.
Among the first to congratulate him was the Emir of Qatar, Tamim Bin Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani. On Sunday evening, he immediately called his rock solid ally Erdogan to express his satisfaction and his desire to make “relations even closer” between Doha and Ankara. The two countries have a common strategy in Syria aimed at forcing the removal of President Bashar al-Assad. And it is expected that once Erdogan enjoys even more freedom of action, he will again take a tough line against Damascus and its ally Iran. A first test was this week when the delegations from Russia, Turkey and Iran met in Tehran to prepare for the new round of talks on the future of Syria that are expected to begin in Astana in early May.
At the end of 2016, Erdogan seemed to have taken note of the Syrian reality. He even gave up his demand for a rapid removal of Assad. But after the American bombing of the Syrian air base ordered by Trump, the drums of war rolled again. “And they are very likely to continue to do so in the coming months, because, thanks to the outcome of the referendum, Erdogan now believes he is stronger, even in foreign policy,” Ali Hashem, an analyst of the web portal Monitor, told il manifesto.