The coronavirus pandemic spread to Turkey at a time when regional political tensions and military conflicts were at a pinnacle. This was enough to escalate uncertainties regarding the future. The ongoing chaos in Syria and Libya was the prelude to a new disintegration in our region. Turkey prevented the terror corridor formed in Syria from reaching the Mediterranean, but a major humanitarian crisis was taking place in Idlib. A likely disaster was prevented in Idlib, the Syrian opposition’s last stronghold, with the Turkish army’s intervention before the pandemic broke out. In the meantime, Libya was beginning to disintegrate. The Syria-based chaos was an example of how our region was being taken under control from within, and even attempting to battle the emerging problems presented grave consequences. However, a series of deals Turkey made with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA) signaled a new era. The civil war in Libya could gain new dimensions unlike anything else.
Turkey was a direct party to the Libya issue as well. Traditional colonialist states such as France that have been biding their time to reign over Libya were consolidating their presence in Africa, while also striving to confine Turkey within the borders of Anatolia. Thus, this was an important indication of determination both in terms of Libya’s future and the Turkish presence in the East Mediterranean. The operations conducted by these states were a great plan explicating why Khalifa Haftar was being directed by France. Turkey held all channels of negotiation open until the last moment, but Haftar’s forces backed by France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) had reached Tripoli. Even the deals signed between Turkey and Libya could lose significance. Turkey was at a crossroads. It had to demonstrate that it did not fear military interventions in far regions. The phrase “Nothing will ever be the same again” was numerously repeated during the pandemic. Especially at times when tensions particularly concerning Libya peaked, this phrase was proof of Turkey's determination. The crossroads signaled a visible divergence from past practices of politics. While Turkey was struggling along with the whole word against a global problem like the pandemic, it was also fighting for survival. As the relentless fight against the pandemic was ongoing within, the great disintegration that would simultaneously affect Africa, the East Mediterranean, Cyprus, Syria, and Anatolia had to be stopped as well. The crossroads would also determine whether we were a great state or not. Turkey had already proved that its claims in Idlib to protect its region were not baseless, but whether it had the capacity to intervene in distant regions was a question yet to be answered. The disintegration in Libya could have left Turkey helpless in the entire East Mediterranean. However, in the counter-attack launched in Tripoli, backed by Turkey, Haftar’s forces were defeated. This also meant defeat for France, as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
The popular pandemic discourse that nothing will ever be the same was hinting at the history of colonialism. Organizations that gained a stronghold in our region with the support of imperial centers started to shatter. The coup attempt on July 15, 2016, can be considered a starting point for this. The Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) had betrayed our region. Haftar and the UAE were no different to FETÖ. They too were acting in collaboration with dependent organizations such as the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) terror group and its Syrian wing, the Democratic Union Party (PYD). Armenia’s attempt to form a new atmosphere of chaos in the South Caucasus once Haftar’s defeat in Libya was clear is telling. They had also served imperial centers. This is a fact determined by the direct statements made by the Armenians. The involvement of the PKK-PYD terrorist groups in the war on the Armenian side should be discussed in the context of colonial history.
While the pandemic wreaked havoc worldwide, they tried to drive Turkey into chaos and a quagmire in the South Caucasus that would have deadly consequences. It is likely that they could not see that the Azerbaijan Turks had undergone an enviable preparation process. It was now time for colonial powers to be caught off guard. They forced Turkey into a bottleneck and rendered it helpless against a diverse range of powers across several regions, but they were unable to achieve their goal. In an unexpected move, Azerbaijan started to rise as a regional power in the South Caucasus. This shows that Azerbaijani Turks are ambitiously preparing for the new era. It must also be noted that this is a new concept in Turkic history.
The dependent organizations that have become accustomed to taking control over Turkey and the region from within, upheld their national hostilities during the pandemic as well. This thus shows that what we have left behind is not a year but a long colonial era. There could be no other explanation for the flagrant attacks by dependent organizations.