Over the past month, the last of 2017, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk with many security analysts, strategists, former generals, politicians and bureaucrats as well as active Members of Parliament.

My purpose was to update myself with their long-term forecasts, expectations and what they anticipate in terms of global and regional strategic developments.

I must say that I was quite intrigued to say the least. Some have what sounds like far-fetched conspiracy theories others base their global outlook on actual developments and credible academic papers.

A senior academic has said, “Looking at the next three years, we are set to see major challenges in the Western Civilization and an emancipation of the East. With populist politics fuelling the global crisis in the forefront, proxy-wars within the hybrid framework is going to intensify, not only in the Syrian context but spill over to Europe, China/Asia Pacific and East Africa.”

Another scholar argued that “Cards are being reshuffled and soon to be dealt anew. Global players have reassigned the role of the subcontractor back to the United Kingdom, since the United States has rising costs and increased nationalistic tendencies. The effects of this “changing of the guard” will start to be felt this year. The US president and the Pentagon are working towards different goals. The EU, on the other hand, will try and keep Germany in charge. Former Soviet Republics and Warsaw Pact members who have been admitted to the EU will revaluate their relations based on their national interests.”

A former senior diplomat pointed out that “China, India and Turkey will predominantly shape the Eastern Civilization. Turkey continues to exist in both opposing civilizations and makes efforts to be the key country and culture during the transformation.”

Interestingly, a retired General said that, “The two main adversaries of the Cold War Era, the US and Russian Federation, the successor to USSR, were forced to form strategic partnerships since they will share a common fate post the civilization exchange, and they have already started jointly operating in the Middle East. They have successfully followed up on their overlapping interests and common strategy in Iraq and Syria, and currently they are working on Iran to complete the cycle. They are using the sectarian divide of Islam to complete their operations.

“The rising civilization is best characterized by its “anti-imperialistic” and “secular” qualities. Mustafa Kemal Ataturk carefully cultivated this culture when he defeated imperialism both in wars and negotiation table. He also dusted off the stale and hackneyed old Turkish culture. The Republic of Turkey is the result of these endeavours. What is heart breaking are efforts towards transforming this newly achieved culture back into its decayed and out-dated old self as in the Neo-Ottoman doctrine” says a sociologist and polling company director.

Cryptic as it may sound, another retired General said “Sooner or later, the majority of Turkish people will internalize this ethos and the newly born Eastern civilization will bring peace and prosperity to the region. But for that to happen China must let go of its imperialistic tendencies and India must be at the forefront of technological advances that will serve peace.”

A certain gentleman who is very active in international business match-making specifically for infrastructure projects pointed out another angle of coming days, saying, “The 2018-2021 period will act as the age of transformation for the civilizational relay. The Balkans, Eastern Europe, the Black Sea, Caucasus and the Eastern Mediterranean with the Republic of Turkey at its centre bind the region of the transformation, which also follows the new Silk Road, One Road – One Belt Project, reaching from Shanghai/Hong Kong to London.”

The sociologist and poll company director continues saying, “All our upcoming national strategy centred relations, be it those with the UK and Germany; the USA, Israel and Russia; India and China; Muslim countries; and neighbouring countries, must have the creation of a new civilization at its centre.”

A former Turkish Armed Forces officer, now a businessman who is very knowledgeable about the regional dynamics and well versed in the intricate and delicate issues between Turkey and Russia says,  “It goes without saying that our priority should be advancing our domestic unity and solidarity, and harmonization of the Turkish culture. The most important strategic asset in this period of chaos is the water and farmlands. The strategic cooperation between Turkey and the Ukraine in this regard is most desirable. Similar collaborations must be carried out in other sectors such as agriculture, animal husbandry, aerospace, aviation, defence and software technologies” and goes on to argue that  “This cooperation may extend over to Eastern Europe via Ukraine, and to the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean via Turkey. Furthermore, the two countries working together may spread it over to the Balkans, the Black Sea and Caucasus to turn it into a full-fledged block. This block then will help Turkey coalesce with Turkic Republics and form the Eastern Civilization with the inclusion of China and India.”

A more government oriented active bureaucrat stated his hopes by saying, “2023 will not only be the 100th anniversary of the Republic of Turkey, it will also be the beginning of the Eastern Civilization illuminating the World. Despite all efforts to the contrary, we are on course to achieve this ultimate goal.”

We are entering an interesting era where a variety of people, although in opposite political or ideological camps, seem to be aligning themselves in or at least not differing too much in their expectations, forecasts and opinions for the future.

Ankara, Turkey. Never a dull moment and not a boring day. Happy New Year!