The broader Realignment of Military alliances.
The shift in military alliances is not limited to Turkey. Following the rift between Qatar and Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) is in disarray with Qatar siding with Iran and Turkey against Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Qatar is of utmost strategic significance because it shares with Iran the world’s largest maritime gas fields in the Persian Gulf. (see map below)
The Al-Udeid military base near Doha is America’s largest military base in the Middle East. In turn, Turkey has now established its own military facility in Qatar.
The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
A profound shift in geopolitical alliances is also occurring in South Asia with the instatement in 2017 of both India and Pakistan as full members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Inevitably, this historic shift constitutes a blow against Washington, which has defense and trade agreements with both Pakistan and India. “While India remains firmly aligned with Washington, America’s political stranglehold on Pakistan (through military and intelligence agreements) has been weakened as a result of Pakistan’s trade and investment deals with China.” (Michel Chossudovsky, August 1, 2017)
In other words, this enlargement of the SCO weakens America’s hegemonic ambitions in both South Asia and the broader Eurasian region. It has a bearing on energy pipeline routes, transport corridors, borders and mutual security and maritime rights.
Pakistan is the gateway to Afghanistan and Central Asia, where US influence has been weakened to the benefit of China, Iran and Turkey. China is involved in major investments in mining, not to mention the development of transport routes which seek the integration of Afghanistan into Western China.
Where does Turkey fit in? Turkey is increasingly part of the Eurasian project dominated by China and Russia. In 2017, Erdogan had several meetings with both president Xi-Jingping and Vladimir Putin. Erdogan has been contemplating becoming a member of the SCO since 2016 but sofar nothing concrete has emerged.