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Παρασκευή, 2 Μαρτίου 2018

Turkish Foreign Policy under Erdogan’s Leadership


Ημέρα αποκάλυψης της μη φιλικής ενέργειας της συμμάχου Τουρκίας το thedayaftergr ενημερώνει τους αναγνώστες του, στην Ελλάδα και κυρίως στις γείτονες και μεγάλες χώρες για, την αμφιταλαντευόμενη και  με άγνωστη μαθηματική κατάληξη, εξωτερική πολιτική της Τουρκίας στη νέα χιλιετία. Καλή ανάγνωση και καλή και σύντομη επιστροφή στον Έλληνα Αξιωματικό και Έλληνα Υπαξιωματικό μας.

Abstract 

Turkey for the first time in its modern history since its foundation as the Republic of Turkey in 1923 is ruled by an Islamic political party AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi/ Justice and Development Party) from 2002. Based on its all-time strategic landscape it is privileged with unique advantages in the same time with vital challenges. The “post-modern” era have found it with a dazzling and frightening as well Turkish Foreign Policy (TFP) towards allies and enemies. What remains to be seen is if this seemingly “lone wolf” state attitude will lead it to glorious days or its self-destruction. Indeed, global and regional states trace TFP both jealously and gluttonously either to join it or to extinguish it.

Introduction

  Although AKP has strived in the new millennium to conceive and implement a TFP in a different way the “state interest” and its voracious pursuit has been again its utmost goal. Appearing to be chasing its tail Turkey seems to tilt between West and East based on an unstable triangle that is shaped with West at its left down angle, Russia at its upper one and East at its right down one all as centripetal forces. US, Russia and Iran respectively are enforcing power to drag TFP to their side with NATO, EU on its left, Israel on the bottom and Kurds on its right as transnational, national and stateless entities that are regulating TFP center of gravity.
    President Tayyip Erdogan and leader of dominating political party AKP since its ascendance in power in 2002 applies a TFP based on his academic ex-advisor, ex-Minister of Foreign and ex-Prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his beliefs and insistence on a resurgent “central power” role for Turkey in the new World of globalization and ambiguity.
Whether TFP is a new approach of “critical geopolitics” or a renewed one of “classical geopolitics” adjusted in the power politics of post Cold-war era through bargaining remains to be seen. In a similar way the TFP phenomenal distance from West towards Russia and Middle East is arguable regarding its strategic depth and viability. This paper will focus through critical geopolitics and a de-constructivist manner of examining texts and discourses contained in essays and politician’s statements on identifying the pragmatic extent of TFP tilt towards any other side of the West, the carefully hidden or not thoughts of AKP political elites in exercising TFP and an estimation for the final position of TFP’s center of gravity so as not collapse.

TFP Doctrine

TFP “post-modern” doctrine has been founded on Ahmet Davutoglu academic theory often dubbed as “neo-Ottomanism” misleading analysts. His book “Strategic Depth” published in 2001 includes his vision and his rapid political ascendance in AKP gave him the privilege as a theorist to implement his theory in the practice of International Relations. As Prof. Ioannis Grigoriadis argues Davutoglu’s in his view Turkey engulfs Middle East, Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia, Caspian, Mediterranean, Black and Gulf Sea political space and has to claim and secure a global strategic role. He abandons the concept of Turkey as a static bridge between West and Islam with Turkey as pure geopolitical spatial tool on the hands of strong states and he seeks for a proactive policy analogous with the historic and geographic depth of Turkey since its post-Ottoman Empire establishment in 1923.(1) He mentioned “a comprehensive civilizational dialogue is needed for a globally legitimate order” and urged for a move from TFP traditional “threat assessment approach” towards “an active engagement in regional political systems in the Middle East, Asia, the Balkans and Transcaucasia”.(2)
          Also, Davutoglu identifies as two prerequisites the domestics politics and Turkey’s relations with its neighbors. For the former he concentrates on the Kurdish issue and the centripetal relation between the Islamist and secular characteristics of Turkey society while for the latter he desires a “zero-problem” TFP towards Syria, Iraq, Iran, Armenia, Greece – Cyprus and Israel specifically. For 2023 and the 100th anniversary of the foundation of Turkey Republic Davutoglu envisions through his ambitioned TFP as Turkey a full member of the EU, in full peace with its neighbors, an effective role in setting orders in regions where TFP foresees national interests and finally an active role in all global affairs while been among the top ten economies in the World.(3)
            Grigoriadis sees contradictions on TFP’s practical enforcement mostly in Iran’s insistence on nuclear exploitation and the risks Turkey assumes by approaching Iran IR affairs along with the necessity of a EU membership for the attainment TFP’s strategic potential, a democratic inclusion which as indispensable as it seems remains a significant self-confrontation when faces the Kurdish opening and the absence of a major overhaul of state-religion relations in Turkey manifest. Moreover, he finds quite good to be true the best-case scenario for TFP where Turkey’s unobstructed political expansion in the region and World will allow her to live her dream.(4)
            According to Prof. Erkan Ertosun many considers that TFP is rooted on Turgut Ozal’s period (1983-93) which was based “on implicit neo-realist assumptions that TFP has to be responsive to changes in the external environment”.(5) Following Hermann’s theory, he attributes TFP change to “Ozal factor” as “leader-driven” who developed his own bureaucratic network and then focused on changing the concept of Turkey’s Westernization through a differentiation within the status quo. A gradual alteration through his own active and risky positions, a multidimensional policy in accordance with Turkey’s pluralist identity and new methods for exercising TFP.(6) He equalized the Western bloc, the Eastern bloc of that time and the Middle Eastern countries in his prioritization for TFP.(7) In the same time, he mentioned the crucial role of maintaining Turkey’s credibility in the West by gaining value both from the latter and the Islamic countries.(8) When British documents were revealed Ozal’s FP appeared though “radical a realistic solution to Turkey’s problems along with Ozal’s political personality as persuasive”.(9) Ertsosun finds that though Ozal’s turned northwards and eastwards he did not bring an “international orientation change” as he remained embraced mostly with Western allies.(10)

Turkish Foreign Policy
As Dean Talcott Williams argues, Turkey was founded after the Ottoman Empire collapse as a state where law, order and sound administration would exploit countries’ unique characteristics for global stability, a world paradigm for Muslims based on the exploitation of abundant resources both tangible and conceptual due to its geographical and cultural potential. He dreamed of a society in a uniform civil status, a successful representative system of rule with a high self-rule level of existence.(11)
            Prof. Joerg Baunder finds in AKP’s TFP two different role concepts. The past and abandoned one of “defensive nationalism” and the latter and existing one of “regional power” with the most salient sign the aim for change from “a bridge between EU and the Islamic World” to “be the owner, pioneer and servant of the new Middle East”.(12) He delimits three distinctive TFP’s periods, one with many traits of civilian power (2002-2005), shift towards the Middle East with conflicts towards EU and the United States (2005-2010) and a regional power concept only after the Mavi Marmara incident (2010) which marked a hostile engagement with Israel.(13) The latest one was adopted by economic and military resources (capability), a sufficient number of states in the region to rally around TFP (influence) and TFP’s recognition by other states in the region (perception).(14) President Erdogan in the course of his so-called “Arab spring tour” in summer 2011 explicitly encouraged the new political forces in the Arab states to follow the Turkish model of economic development and type of secularism that is most identical to the “Anglo-Saxon or Western model”.(15) In the same spirit as Kemal Kirici stated in 2012 went furthermore arguing that Davutoglu’s aspiration is “an integrated Middle East where people and goods can move freely from Kars to the Atlantic, actually reminiscent of the vison of the founding fathers of the EU”(16),  Erdogan’s statement in 2010 that “Turkey is becoming a global power”(17) was translated in UN Security Council to the mutual objection with Brazil to sanctions against Iran and a TFP’s self-conception as a “revisionist power” referring to “reconfiguration of the global governance institutions”.(18)
            Philip Robbin argues that Turkey is a double gravity state that “feels the contrasting gravitational pull of the norms of behavior of at least two regions, but fins it difficult to reconcile these sets of claims”.(19) He states that TFP cannot serve a global “core role” as there is neither power nor strength to sustain such pursuit.(20) He distinguishes more a “double gravity state”: a plausible yet volatile actor on the edge of the subsystems of continental Europe and the middle East.(21)
            Prof. Birol Baskan argues that TFP after Arab Spring has not become as much sectarian as it is conceived in discourses. He sees a balanced TFP in “the new Arab Cold War” towards Saudi Arabia and Iran with an outstanding trade increase with both key regional players in reality. Instead, he considers Ahmet Davutoglou as a Civilizationalist who found in political Islam values superior to Western civilization accepting modernization in a limited spectrum mostly referring to technology and science without the same tendency for other characteristics such as values, institutions and laws.(22) As Fukuyama failed in his prophecies for the “end of the history” and Huntington for the inevitable “clash of civilizations” he attributes to Davutoglu the conviction that Islamic civilization will take the vital role to save the Western civilization.(23) Overall, TFP’s spiritual leader was more than clear at the 6th Al-Jazeera forum in Doha, Qatar, March 2011: “The future has not only arrived. It has been delayed. The two abnormalities in the last century, colonialism and the Cold War, are restored and any turbulence such as the developments in the Middle East and Arab Spring are nothing else than natural reflections of the natural flow of history.”(24)
Authors Aghayev and Aktas acknowledge the complexity of the relations between Russia and Turkey as the highest in modern IR.(25) As history reveals, moments of total confrontation and full partnership as it was Bolsheviks-Kemal commitments against Entante countries and Britain’s has reached nowadays a respective paradox. The prerequisite for Turkey to secure its energy sustainment radically seems to prevail.(26) Strong TFP’s lure towards Vladimir Putin’s Russia develops indeed. A Treaty in 2010 between the two countries for building up a nuclear power plant Akkuyu in Mersina, intense bilateral trade due to the EU sanctions against Russia and the agreement to reach the volume of $100 billion till 2019, S-400 powerful defense systems procurement from Turkey as well as monetary interdependence consist of a nexus which is totally against Turkey participation in NATO and EU integration aspirations of Western disengagement from Russia. Syria War has proved to bring the two countries to both limits of hostility and embracement putting in great risk TFP’s orientation and accuracy.
Authors Kang and Kim are examining the nature of TFP engagement and alignment with Iran by adopting structural realist theory of alliance and finding out that both are more bandwagoning with the U.S instead of balancing against it. On the one hand, as long as Turkey remains NATO member they don’t see any logic of balancing with Iran against the United States.(27) 
On the other hand, Iran coming back from isolation and its dire economic situation has made Iran and Turkey alignment feasible. Even growing Salafism regionally along with the two countries isolation made them see each other as new possible allies for stability.(28) Not to disregard that TFP is reliant upon Iranian hydrocarbon sources if not want to end up over-depended to Russia gas.(29) The authors conclude that for US to continue its “pivot to Asia” a new balance in the middle East is the requisite policy with Turkey and Iran elevation of relative importance as needed with a simultaneous reduction of “special relationship” with Saudi Arabia and Israel.(30)

TFP towards West

Huge Pope, author of the book “Dining with al-Queda: Three Decades Exploring the Many Worlds of the Middle East”, admits that Turkey does not fit neatly into anyone’s conception of the world order.(31) Turkey with an important secondary role to play in many major areas for US, is unusually vulnerable to being misunderstood, especially when themselves are sending wrong messages about what they really want. For him TFP’s intentions in both incidents, Israels’ Gaza blockage and Iran support in UN, were misjudged and there are no sighs of Turkey approach to any Islamist. TFP is still vitally linked with EU as trade proofs and collaboration with U.S. remains essential. TFP’s tactics towards East should not misunderstood due to the threats that are gushing from many regional sources.
            Editor of The International Spectator Nathalie Tocci elaborates on the perception from EU regarding Turley’s regional activism in the 21th century. As she identifies national interest as the factor to determine real TFP she acknowledges the normative chapeau that Davutoglou’s doctrine provided to a plethora of state and non-state actors for deeper ties with its neighbors.(32) After two decades of TFP’s enforcement she discerns Turcoskeptics and Turcophiles inside EU with the former to project for Turkey a useful ally role than a member of EU club. This leaves out benefits from strategic assets for EU, a “go it alone” TFP option, and unexploited its neighborhood embracement with EU more to blame for it.
            Billi Park in International Affairs refers to Wal Street Journal Ian Lesser’s article “Our non-ally Ankara” arguing that Turkey “had long ago stopped acting like an ally of the US or a friend of the West”.(33) With Turkey’s prospect of EU membership close to zero Park considers not only Syria the trigger for Turkey’s distance from West but also a harsh rhetoric against Israel and a role of conduit for Iranian sanction-breakers and circumventors.(34) Clearer than ever, Erdogan has stated in November 2013 in regard to Turkey’s application to Putin to be incorporated into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) “include us in the Shanghai Five and we will forget about the EU”.(35) Even worse Park raises the question of Turkey as part of the Middle East or just of its Muslim Brotherhood referring to TFP’s stance in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere in the region.(36) Lastly, she discerns an AKP instinctive tendency towards “illiberal democracy” practiced by Vladimir Putin and other in Eurasia that counts for TFP entrenchment and sometime resentment towards West an US.(37) With this “splendid isolation” and no precedent for the expulsion of a country from NATO she sees a stalemate, hopelessly unpredictable. 
Prof. Mert Bilgin analyzes Turkeys’ official energy strategy correlating market characteristics, and geopolitics and TFP. Based on Turkey’s regional transit hub role, with Bosporus and Dardanelles, two international crude oil pipelines from Iraq and Azerbaijan to Ceyhan and a possible natural gas pipeline discussed with Russia he fully associates despaired needed Turkey’s energy agenda for great future with less quantitative and multifaceted dimension of TFP. He concludes that a centripetal energy strategy converged with a respective TFP one could function to foster regional and global cooperation with the former in balancer’s role.(38)

Turkish Youth
   Prof. Sabri Cifti in her paper based on a youth survey in Cumhuriyet University in central Turkey shows the correlation between student’s social identity and attitudes toward TFP. “Middle Easternization” has come up in students discourses while the significant role of youth in the Arab Spring raise their possible role in the future Turkey. 37% out of 800 students believe that TFP is in the right track, 31% in a wrong and 32% neutral. 54% agree that Turkey should be the leader of the Muslim World, yet 28% disagree; 29% oppose EU membership.(39)
            In reference with their identities and perceptions of TFP 28% identify as “Muslim first and then Turk”. 8% defines themselves “Muslim only” and 7.5% “first Turk/Kurd and then Muslim” along with 7% “Turk”. In their international context 33% are both European and Middle Eastern, 21% only Middle Eastern and 12% only Europeans.(40) No clear and strong association is observed between identity in relation to the international context and TFP.(41)
            When prescribing future goals in TFP, university students assign greater weight to the EU and the Turkic world. Notions such as balance of power, geopolitics, and economic interests appear more than accounts describing new directions in TFP as an axis shift or Middle Easternization.(42)

Conclusions
-  Ozal’s Turkey’s pluralist identity and multidimensional TFP seems to have been the base on which Davutoglu and AKP built and implemented their own “post-modern” Turkey theory of existence in the globalization era.
-    Ozal’s TFP though too radical remained realistic in a split ideological world as well which gives a sign for Davutoglou’s TFP real core chemistry.
-    Davutoglu has provided the theoretical TFP background for Erdogan’s political domination in Turkey. The latter’s political decisions in 2003 towards US invasion in IRAQ, in 2010 engagement with Israel, in UN Security Council regarding Iran nuclear program and nowadays military procurements from Russia and Iran secret relations put in doubt TFP’s proclaimed goals and the veritable ones.
-    No matter TFP’s preference towards a gobal “central power” it resulted more to a “regional power” in the second decade of 21th century due to centripetal forces in the implementation of its pro-2010 TFP ambitions.
-     Energy starving Turkey needs power to accomplish its TFP’s over-ambitioned goals which leads to old times IR theories, too risky to be handled by Turkey in the Middle East’s contested and sensitive space.
-    Political Islam is above ethnic nationalism, not sectarian as granted, and in this way, it can provide holistic alternatives for self-governing with TFP in a presumed prominent role.
- TFP under AKP has sustained fundamental differentiations causing confusion for its true intent and putting in danger its credibility. It has transformed from a visionary academic theory to a risky experiment with unknown end not excluding that predicted in the end of WWI and relative Treaties. 
-  Especially after Arab Spring, Erdogan’s tilting TFP has produced centripetal forces affecting negatively the ‘model’ Turkey state that has been emerged in 20th century and needs to be amended somehow again.
-  Turkey-Russia history cannot exclude a vital relationship between the two states in all areas including military armaments. The same for the opposite.
-   In any way a TFP’s embracement with Russia will risk ending up to a fatal TFPs “absorption” in a new “near abroad” Russia defined space.
-   TFP’s flirting with Iran is considered ephemeral and too early to create a concrete ideology and an alternative governmental system against democracy.
-   TFP’s stronger alignment with Iran against people’s will risks to separate them and trigger abnormal actions domestically.
-    EU accession, “civil power” and de-militarization in the first decade served AKP to prevail the Kemalist elite and military and permitted afterwards the change in TFP towards Muslims states in the Middle East, Iran and Russia nowadays.
-  Scholars are more prone to believe that TFP has distanced quite enough from West and EU near to a “no-return” point.
-   EU authorities should embrace TFP’s regional and global aspirations in their common interests and address them by facilitating Turkey’s accession in the EU pending the latter’s compliance with the membership’s criteria.
-     EU countries, Israel and Kurds will remain regulators of TFP unless Turkey wants to sail in “no cartographic IR waters”.
-    A global strategic relationship with he United States seems to be the only viable solution for Turkey if it doesn’t want the TFP triangle that now rebalances adventurously to collapse and finds itself in the ruins.
-   Youth survey has shown a divided future for Turkey between the dilemma of Europe and Middle East with the latter more prevailing leading to unknown series of self-harassments if intensifies.
-    TFP has to be in accordance with its state architecture and foundation pillars’ strength that were erected back in 1923. Any exaggerations will put in danger its own sturdiness and finally risking its own state existence in the “post-modern’ era.



Citation...


1.     Grigoriadis, N.Ioannis, “The Davutoglu Doctrine and Turkish Foreign Policy”, ELIAMEP, Middle Eastern Studies Programme, Working paper No8 April 2010, p.4.
2.      Baudner, Joerg, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, Insight Turkey, Vol.16, No.3, 2014, pp.87.
3.     Grigoriadis, “The Davutoglu Doctrine and Turkish Foreign Policy”, p.9.
4.     Grigoriadis, “The Davutoglu Doctrine and Turkish Foreign Policy”, p.10.
5.     Ertosun, Erkun, “Change and leadership in Foreign in Foreign Policy: The Case of Turgut Ozal’s premiership in Turkey, 1983-1989”, Mediterranean Quarterly, Volume 27, Number 2, June 2016, pp. 47.
6.     Ertosun, “Change and leadership in Foreign in Foreign Policy: The Case of Turgut Ozal’s premiership in Turkey, 1983-1989”, p. 49.
7.     Ertosun, “Change and leadership in Foreign in Foreign Policy: The Case of Turgut Ozal’s premiership in Turkey, 1983-1989”, p. 59.
8.      Ertosun, “Change and leadership in Foreign in Foreign Policy: The Case of Turgut Ozal’s premiership in Turkey, 1983-1989”, p. 61.
9.     Ertosun, “Change and leadership in Foreign in Foreign Policy: The Case of Turgut Ozal’s premiership in Turkey, 1983-1989”, p. 65.
10.   Ertosun, “Change and leadership in Foreign in Foreign Policy: The Case of Turgut Ozal’s premiership in Turkey, 1983-1989”, p. 66.
11. Wiliams, Talcott, “The American idea in the Near East”, Kurdish life, Number 61, Winter 2007, p.1.
12.  Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.80.
13. Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.83.
14.  Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.85.
15. Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.92.
16. Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.93.
17. Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.94.
18.  Baudner, “The Evolution of Turkey’s Foreign Policy under the AK Party Government, p.95.
19. Robins Philip, “Turkey’s ‘double gravity’ predicament: the foreign policy of a newly activist power”, International Affairs Vol.89, No.2, 2013, pp. 381.
20. Robins, “Turkey’s ‘double gravity’ predicament: the foreign policy of a newly activist power”, p. 382.
21. Robins, “Turkey’s ‘double gravity’ predicament: the foreign policy of a newly activist power”, p. 382.
22.   Baskan, Birol, “Making Sense of Turkey’s Foreign Policy: Clashing Identities and Interests”, The Muslim World, Hartford Seminary, 2016, pp.150
23.  Baskan, “Making Sense of Turkey’s Foreign Policy: Clashing Identities and Interests”, p.150.
24.  Baskan, “Making Sense of Turkey’s Foreign Policy: Clashing Identities and Interests”, p.151.
25.   Aghayev Elvin, Aktas Hayati, “Prospects of cooperation between Russia and Turkey”, European Researcher, Series A, Vol 8, No.2, 2017, pp.98
26.   Aghayev, Aktas, “Prospects of cooperation between Russia and Turkey”, p.99.
27.   Kang, Kim, “Turco-Iranian Alignment: Balancing or Bandwagoning with the US?”, pp. 24.
28.   Kang, William, Kim Jaechun, “Turco-Iranian Alignment: Balancing or Bandwagoning with the US?”, Journal of International Affairs, Vol.23, No.1, June 2016, pp. 27.

29.   Bilgin, Mert, “Turkey’s Energy Strategy: Synchronizing geopolitics and Foreign policy with Energy Security”, Insight Turkey, Vol 17, No.2, 2015, p.76.
30.  Kang, Kim, “Turco-Iranian Alignment: Balancing or Bandwagoning with the US?”, pp. 28.
31.  Pope, Huge, “Pax Ottomana? The Mixed Success of turkey’s New Foreign policy”, Foreign Affairs, Vol.89, No.6, Nov/Dec 2010, pp.161.
32.   Tocci, Nathalie, “Turkey’s neighborhood policy and EU membership: Squaring the circle of Turkish foreign policy, International Journal, Vol.67, No.1, Winter 2011-12, pp.68.
33.   Park, Bill, “Turkey’s isolated stance; an ally no more, or just the usual turbulence?”, International Affairs Vol 91, No.3, 2015, pp. 581.
34. Park, Bill, “Turkey’s isolated stance; an ally no more, or just the usual turbulence?”, p. 587.
35.  Park, Bill, “Turkey’s isolated stance; an ally no more, or just the usual turbulence?”, p. 591.
36. Park, Bill, “Turkey’s isolated stance; an ally no more, or just the usual turbulence?”, p. 592.
37. Park, Bill, “Turkey’s isolated stance; an ally no more, or just the usual turbulence?”, p. 596.
38.  Bilgin, Mert, “Turkey’s Energy Strategy: Synchronizing geopolitics and Foreign policy with Energy Security”, Insight Turkey, Vol 17, No.2, 2015, p.80.
39.   Cifti, Sabri, “Social Identity and Attitudes toward Foreign Policy: Evidence from a Youth Survey in Turkey”, Int.J.Middle East Stud.45, 2013, p.32.
40.   Cifti, “Social Identity and Attitudes toward Foreign Policy: Evidence from a Youth Survey in Turkey”, p.33.
41.  Cifti, “Social Identity and Attitudes toward Foreign Policy: Evidence from a Youth Survey in Turkey”, p.35.
42.  Cifti, “Social Identity and Attitudes toward Foreign Policy: Evidence from a Youth Survey in Turkey”, p.39.





Bibliography

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Robins Philip, “Turkey’s ‘double gravity’ predicament: the foreign policy of a newly activist power”, International Affairs Vol.89, No.2, 2013, pp. 381-397.

Tocci, Nathalie, “Turkey’s neighborhood policy and EU membership: Squaring the circle of Turkish foreign policy, International Journal, Vol.67, No.1, Winter 2011-12, pp.65-80.

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