One of the most significant facts revealed by the crisis in Syria is that we know almost nothing about the country itself.
When Bush and his neocons invaded Iraq, we found out we knew little about that country, too.
And after tomorrow [August 17], when Iran turns upside down, we will discover how superficial our knowledge was about a country we have been dealing with for centuries.
Our curiosity about the captivating, complicated, frightening and beautiful countries around us is almost nonexistent.
Our diplomats try hard not to be posted to Iran and the Arab countries. Unless there is a war, our media doesn’t care about them. You can’t find a single book about these countries in our bookshops. Think-tanks dealing with these countries are in their infancy. Even the information our National Intelligence Service has on them is shallow.
Ottomans ruled the Middle East and the Gulf for centuries. Still, no Turkish institution has in-depth knowledge about any of these countries. That is why Turkish public opinion is ill-informed and vulnerable to manipulation.
That is why many people mistakenly perceive Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s policies — which are dragging us into a ring of fire — as an effort to glorify Turkey.
Before Davutoglu became foreign minister, Turkey had a possibly boring but solid, time-proven, effective and well-defined Middle East policy. Turkey remained neutral in intra-Arab and Arab-Israel conflicts while firmly maintaining that Israel should return the land it took from Arabs and that Palestinians should have their own state.
Turkey wasn’t a Middle Eastern country, but we had links with the region. Because of its position, Turkey could have played the role of mediator in the Middle East without having to be a party to its conflicts.
Davutoglu obliterated these principles. He made Turkey a part of the region’s daunting and intractable issues. He made Turkey a Middle Eastern country that looks at the world from a Sunni perspective, forming a Sunni axis with Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Once again, he made Turkey subservient to the interests of the United States and Israel in the region. Gaining membership to the European Union disappeared from our agenda.
Turkey, which was until a couple of years ago mediating between Syria and Israel, Iran and the West, is now an adversary of those countries. We have drawn daggers with Iraq. Although we are indirectly serving Israel by trying to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, we are not exactly on good terms with that country either. Our only “friend” in the region is the Iraqi Kurds.
A seasoned diplomat defined Davutoglu’s basic characteristics as “naïveté, romanticism, a lack of knowledge and a refusal to consult and learn.”
Turkey will pay heavily for this.
The new outlook of the terror perpetrated by the Kurdish Worker’s Party is the first poisoned fruit of this policy. And as long as Davutoglu remains where he is, it certainly won't be the last.
Davutoglu is an unmitigated disaster for Turkey.