Turkey‘s String of Pearls

Michaël Tanchum: Turkey's String of Pearls: Turkey's Overseas Naval Installations Reconfigure the Security Architecture of Mediterranean-Red Sea Corridor, AIES Fokus 4/2019



Turkey will soon preside over an arc of blue-water power projection extending from Northern Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean to Qatar in the Persian Gulf that fundamentally alters the security architecture of the Middle East. Deftly combining soft power initiatives with the construction of coastal military installations in Sudan on the Red Sea and in Somalia on the Arabian Sea, Turkey has created a ‚string of pearls' that directly challenges the power of Egypt-Saudi Arabia-United Arab Emirates alliance. With the military entrenchment of Turkey in the Horn of Africa, the Turkey-Qatar versus Egypt-Saudi Arabia-UAE competition has created an incendiary fault-line that now encompasses the entire Eastern Mediterranean-Red Sea maritime corridor.

Backed by Qatar, Turkey's maritime expansion is also a response to Egypt's trilateral strategic partnership with Greece and the Republic of Cyprus, an alignment supported by the UAE and Saudi Arabia. In this complex web of rival alliances that spans the Aegean and Arabian seas, any one of the previously localized conflicts could ignite a wider regional clash.

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