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Erdogan's Ottoman dream causes storm in Red Sea

Turkey’s unexpected military-cooperation deal with Sudan and leasing of Suakin Island have rekindled Ottoman fears in the region.
Sudanís President Omar al-Bashir welcomes Turkey's†President†Tayyip Erdogan at Khartoum Airport, Sudan December 24, 2017. REUTERS/Mohamed Nureldin Abdallah     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RC1F19ED0F80

The Gulf-Egypt axis now has another reason to question Turkey's ambitions in the region: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the first leg of his late-December Africa tour, went to Sudan to ask if Ankara could lease Suakin Island. Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir agreed to Erdogan’s request.

Erdogan adamantly rejects claims that Turkey is scheming to build a military base at Suakin. But the island, which once served as an Ottoman forward outpost in the Red Sea, could easily assume military features that would provide Turkey with a third military base abroad, in addition to those in Qatar and Somalia.

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