Relationships between our President Trump and other world leaders is paramount to the safety of the world, to the growth and continued prosperity of our country and others. Communication, understanding, and cooperation are vital parts of a world community. We’re fortunate to be able to speak with a man who has been in a position to talk with, and understands world leaders and can articulate their positions of world events. You’ll find a wealth of insight in his most recent book, GameChanger.
Our thanks to Erbil Gunasti for his time and insight into our country and his home country of Turkey. We pick up from Part 1 of our 3 part series.
RB ~ Likewise, you share a personal relationship with President Trump, currently serving in his administration as well. Do you see a more in-depth awareness and concern on his part for this part of the world, and the military, economic or social importance it holds for the US?
BG ~ President Trump will focus on international relationships in the second term. He has nothing else to accomplish at home. Wall will be built throughout the southern border. Infrastructure will be improved, fight against the opioid crisis will continue but the focus will be on bilateral relationships. That is how the economy in America will grow.
Turkey is a leading Muslim country. But there is also Indonesia that will become the fourth biggest economy in the world. Then there are five other Muslim economies that will replace 5 former Western European economies in the top 20 economies of the world. So, it is simple arithmetic. The growth for America will come in selling more to these fast-growing 7 new economies in the world which are all Muslims.
In other words, Trump has to push the alliance of civilizations between Christianity and Islam in his second half as well. In the meantime, Trump also has to confront those in America that are pushing for the clash of civilizations between the two biggest religions.
Trump as the leader of the Christian world must take the lead and make sure that there is an alliance with Islam and that goes through Turkey since it has the most appeal among Muslims.
That is why I also argue in the GameChanger that America must abandon S. Arabia and Egypt and let the Arabs sort out their domestic problems and find their rightful place in the world without the interference of the Western world to their affair. After all, net energy exporter America does not need to depend on the Middle East oil. Plus, the next source of energy is coming out of the Eastern Mediterranean where Turkey has the biggest cost line hence, it will have the biggest hydrocarbon reserves. So that is all the more reason to ally with Turkey and explore the riches there together for the good of the planet.
I think Trump understands this much better and faster than many other people within or outside the government. So, I expect him to make strides towards that end only because I believe he will have that foresight.
RB ~ Many people view Turkey as a middle eastern country with camel filled streets lined with hookah bars and open markets. It’s previous capital, Istanbul, and current capital, Ankara (since 1920) are representative of both ancient cultures and modern, cosmopolitan influences. What makes this such a crossroads for travel, trade, and influence – its geographical location? It’s a political environment or cultural attachments?
BG ~ Turkey is the “land bridge between Asia, Africa, and Europe. There is no other way to end up in Europe without walking through Turkey. Most people do not travel by plane, so they have to use the Turkey land bridge.
But Turkey is also a “gatekeeper.” Do you know that today there are ten million refugees waiting inside and just outside Turkey for a sign to start walking? And when they get that sign, they will walk to end up in Europe, with the EU in their mind and some will venture to America as well from there.
In the past silk road went through Turkey coming from Asia ending in Europe. Now the most viable “Belt and Road Initiative” of China is passing through Turkey as well. Turkey is building a 10 thousand km long high-speed train network, second only to China’s 30 thousand km. No country in Europe has a 1 thousand km high-speed train network. That in itself is the testimony, how the East has risen in the past 20 years when the West decayed. That is also a testament to how the geostrategic location of Turkey is ensuring that it stays vibrant and relevant as it has always been throughout centuries.
For example, it is also important to note that thirty percent of Europe’s energy needs to go through the Turkish pipeline coming from Russia, Azerbaijan, Iran, Iraq, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. Let’s not forget either that of the four waterways that make this region important to the world trade, two of them are in Turkey.
These waterways are also lifelines for countries like Bulgaria, Romania, Ukraine, and Georgia. If for example, on that note, Obama had a little brain, he would not have made that mistake of ignoring Turkey. That is how the West lost Crimea to Russia or for that matter how Russia also took N. Ossetia from Georgia six months or so earlier. So, the presence and influence of Turkey matters in far more ways than one.
Yet there is one more aspect of Turkey which is vitally important because Turkey plays the role of a “pressure valve” for more than a billion Muslims in the world. Istanbul was the seat of the last Caliphate that the modern Republic of Turkey abolished it in 1924. Muslims of the world, in disarray, ever since, yearn for a center to focus on and leadership both spiritual. Instead, the wonder like a flock that lost its shepherd, when the Ottoman Empire that lasted 7 centuries and gloriously converted into the modern Republic of Turkey after WWI. So, Turkey today exerts cultural, spiritual, religious, philosophic and now with it is soon the be, projected, the fifth-biggest economy and military in the world, power, and presence in for the Muslim ummah (community) worldwide. Turkey presents a great attraction for Muslims and others around the world as a viable center or leadership.
RB ~ And does Turkey’s connection with the west put it more at risk for political, military and economic retribution from its neighbors?
BG ~ No. Turkey is a domineering regional economic and military power. Turkey has more than 12 overseas military bases in half a dozen countries from the Balkans to North Africa to the Red Sea to the Persian Gulf to the Horn of Africa but also a presence in northern Syria and Iraq. Let’s not also forget how Turkey and six other Turkic states across Central Asia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus are working in cohesion towards a common good.
In other words, Turkey is not only is working on a Turkic union but also a Muslim union. On that path today Turkey has trade relationships with almost all African countries which Turkey had only embassies in the North African countries much of the 20th century.
On that note, Turkey has lots of leverages, economically speaking. For example, Turkish Airlines is the biggest airline with most destinations in the world. It ranks right behind the U.S. and Chinese airlines which are the biggest in the world. Turkey also was number 6th biggest tourist destination in the world last year and was expected to pass Italy before the Corona crisis – now for sure to pass it and more as early as next year.
Meanwhile, Turkey is also expected to reach economic parity with the likes of France, Germany and the UK in the next ten years. Coupled with its military might that was only on land, now it is in the seas, air and soon to be announced on space, it is a one, two punch no other country can counter in the region.
And what Turkey is able to do in cyber warfare today, no one knows it yet but the latest technologies on drones and swarming drones proved that Turkey has one of a kind technologies, reflected in the battlefields in Syria and Libya. None of these are reported in the Western media so no one knows about them but leaderships in the Western capitals are very aware of them and they are worried of losing Turkey which is not affordable for the West.
So, to answer your question: No, there is no challenge for Turkey from its neighbors, and that also includes Russia. Rather Turkey is flexing its muscles across the board from time to time, like when it does operations in Syria and Iraq, but also in Libya, and exacting results from everybody regularly.
Today, no Western warship can enter to what Turkey carved out in the Eastern Mediterranean as “Mavi Vatan” without Turkey agreeing to it. In a sense, what China did in the South China Sea, Turkey did it in the Eastern Mediterranean, not only by flexing its naval and drone muscles which are very sophisticated but also applying the international laws of the seas very effectively.
RB ~ Your latest book, GameChanger, Trump Card: Turkey & Erdogan, makes so many important points related to the US, Turkey and the world, all interconnected in so many ways. Turkey is predominantly Muslim (about 96-98%) and yet as such is an important alley to the US and our fight against radical Islam. According to a survey from 2019, it appears that religious “adherence” is becoming less important. Does this represent an opening up to western ideas and ideals, and is this a result of the growing US/Trump – Turkey/Erdogan alliance?
BG ~ Like in America today, most countries are split in two between nationalists and the globalists. So, Turkey has its share of powerful pious communities but also those that adhere to the globalist ideology. So, from that perspective, Trump and Erdogan as two pious and nationalist, homeland first leaders, believing in free and fair trade, they will work together against the globalists. They found each other they will not let it go because both leaders have paid their dues, both of them faced globalists. Remember on 15 July 2016, there was a coup d’état attempt against the Erdogan regime in Turkey that failed! What did Trump say after three years fighting against globalists in America? He said that this was a takedown attempt against an American president that should have never happen again.
I say chickens came home to roost. The same globalist Americans that tried to bring down Erdogan with a coup d’état when Obama was president, came home to take down President Trump. That is the real work in the second term of the Trump administration: to unite nationalists like Turkey or for that matter Japan against the globalists like Germany and China. Though China already left the globalism and preaching Chinese nationalism now that it is very powerful and will get even bigger and more powerful thanks to our globalist presidents falling asleep from 1992 to 2016. In other words that is where the focus of America should be in conjunction with like-minded leaders and countries from Turkey to Japan. It is an alliance of two countries, but other countries are sure to make that alliance bigger and better under the leadership of America, the only superpower in the world, still.
RB ~ Turkey is somewhat of a linchpin to the long-term success and freedom of Europe. You make the point in your book that “Turkey can save the Western Civilization if Erdogan and Trump work together.” What did you mean by that?
BG ~ Demographics.
I mentioned earlier there are 10 million refugees waiting to walk to Europe today but prevented by Turkey. In the next 30 years when the world population will increase by 2 billion at least 5 percent of them will become legal or illegal refugees heading Western Europe. When they arrive in Europe, will there be Christian white Europe as we know it today? Will not more major cities in Europe have Muslim mayors?
If America and Turkey do not work together, why would Turkey care about what would happen to Europe tomorrow? What is in it for Turkey if Europe becomes Muslim. Nothing.
Today Turkey will only respect working with America, not with any European country on equal footing because Europeans still think they can impose their will on Turkey. As a result, Turkey continues to walk away from the Western Alliance to the detriment of the balance of power that America needs to establish against China.
RB ~ In the renewed development of our two countries, are Trump and Erdogan fighting similar battles and oppositions in their desire to make their countries stronger and better again? We know in America the battle Trump fights against the liberal forces of Socialism and yes, Communism. Does Erdogan face similar overt and covert opposition to keep the freedom base they have or are his different?
BG ~ Yes, they are both fighting against globalists.
The globalists of the world are seeking a clash of civilizations between Christians and Muslims so that they can weaken one another for the globalists to impose their will on everybody.
The real fight at this time in America is not against socialism or communism yet. It is with globalism that is trying to weaken, as I put it, the pillars of America that made America the sole superpower today.
Globalism is like cancer around the globe. They are for abortion or anti-religion as far as most people are concerned. But globalists are also against the dominance of Dollar, hence the dominance of America in the world.
Hence, for example, I argue in the GameChanger, if America and Turkey were to work together, Dollar will remain the reserve currency of the world because when most of the world prefers Dollars over Yuan or whatever new currency that Dollar will transform itself into like Krypto currency when progress dictates.
In short, so long as America joins forces with the Muslims as a Christian nation, there is no challenge they cannot overcome whether it comes as an economic, military or technological challenge. Muslims will join forces with a Christian America if Turkey like a country in a leadership role is on the same page with America. Considering one-third of the world will be Muslim and 7 of the top economies will be Muslim, that is lots of leverage to have against the rising eastern powers.
RB ~ Over the decades, Turkey has suffered under the weight of immigration woes. In 2011, a mere 252 Syrian refugees arrived in Turkey. Recently, masses of Muslim immigrants were attempting to make their way from war-torn Syria into Turkey, and the physical conflicts were displayed across the world with battles, regions on fire and chaos taking center stage. That number now hovers around 3.6 million and Turks are becoming wary of increasing numbers and support for these masses. Erdogan finds himself dealing with the problems at home similar to Trump’s foreign immigration and southern border battle. What’s the solution for both leaders to remain a humanitarian while also looking out for their own countries and sovereignty?
BG ~ America has to build the wall as big as it can on its southern border. Turkey built its border with Syria already and building another one between Iraq and Turkey but also Iran and Turkey. Walls do not resolve the migration problem but without one the problem is exacerbated. So, they must be built.
As for Turkey, it has the role of pressure valve for the Muslim masses that eye Turkish land bridge on their way to their promised land in Europe. Turkey will continue to regulate the flow of refugees to Europe for the sake of Europe but also the world at large. 100 million has to end up eventually in Europe. Turkey is the only country that will make it happen smoothly over a period of three decades or so. Without Turkey cooperating, they will come faster like a flood and devastate Europe. Nothing good comes out of that for no one. Turkey knows that but the globalist Europeans want chaos so that they get what they cannot get otherwise.
Again, our thanks to Mr. Gunasti for his time and valued insight. In Part 3 we take a look at radical Islam, immigration and the US as a world power.
Updated information Stratfor report posted HERE.
A review of Erbil’s vast web presence will give additional input into his background and the basis for his views.
For updates follow @VideoRon on Twitter
© 2020 Group AMC, Inc.