Turkey reviving hinterland in Middle East, challenging UAE, Saudi status quo

Turkey is expanding its influence in the former territories of the Ottoman Empire in the face of efforts by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia aiming to protect the status quo in the region, Daily Sabah columnist Batu Çoşkun said on Wednesday. 

Turkey’s grab for influence in the eastern Mediterranean is "sanctioned by the continuation of a Turkish hinterland that reaches across all former Ottoman territories" and has been encouraged by the decline of Arab nationalism, Çoşkun said.

Turkey exists in the Middle East to serve the nations of the former empire to prosper economically and socially, mostly in the form of aid through Turkish agencies and Turkish institutions undertaking a variety of social initiatives, he said.

"Turkey’s foreign policy does not suffer from a moral deficit like that of the UAE’s, whose officials hide behind Arab nationalism in their attempt to uphold the status quo," he said.

Many Arab and African countries that were once ruled by the Ottoman Empire have been more receptive to Turkey's outreach activities under Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. State institutions have expanded their presence in the region, focusing on charity, education, and restoring Ottoman heritage sites.