Turkey’s Middle East Interests Differ From Those of US, Israel

Article Summary
Departing from Turkey’s historic approach of nonintervention in intra-Arab disputes, Ankara is engaged in a campaign to oust Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Metin Munir argues that Turkey is too keen to please the US and Israel, and that its regional standing will suffer as a result.

I didn’t succeed when I sought an answer to this question from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. A Ministry spokesman said, “We don’t want any country to attack another in this region,” but he couldn’t say where Turkey would stand in case of an attack.

The Ministry website has nothing to say about Iran policy. Iran is the only country missing from the page on the Middle East and North Africa. But my tour of the website wasn’t totally futile. In the opening page I saw an axiom summarizing Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu’s policy: “There is no line but the field of diplomacy, and that field is the entire world."

Davutoglu, for whom sticking his nose into everything means “foreign policy,” has abandoned Turkey’s traditional approach that has served it well for years in the Middle East. We didn’t abandon that policy (which simply meant not getting involved in the intra-Arab and Arab-Israel conflicts) because it was a bad policy. It was discarded because it didn’t satisfy Davutoglu’s ego.

Along with that we forgot about our policy of improving relations with Iran and started adopting positions against Iran in order to please the US.

If you lift the icing off the cake of foreign policy and look underneath, what do we see? Turkey with Qatar and Saudi Arabia forming a Sunni bloc in the Middle East. We actively intervened in the Syrian crisis by confronting a Shiite bloc made up of Iran, Iraq and Syria. Let’s say it outright: For the first time in the history of the Republic, Turkey is actively taking sides with those who are trying to oust a regime in a neighboring country.

Facing Turkey is not only Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who is fighting for survival. There is also Russia, which will face vital losses should Assad be deposed, as well Iraq, Iran and its Lebanese ally Hezbollah. Assad and his supporters will do anything possible to destabilize Turkey. We are slowly seeing what they are capable of doing. As we make life difficult for Assad, he and his friends will do the same to us. If Turkey takes a position alongside the US and Israel against Iran, the situation will worsen. We will be stuck deeper in the Middle East swamp. Dogs of terror unleashed by an irate and hurt Iran will bite us wherever they can.

Despite all that, you can be sure that Turkey will be on the side of US and Israel. The basic mistake of Davutoglu in the Middle East is not understanding that our interests in the region don’t overlap with those of US and Israel. Whatever is good for them is bad for us.

AKP’s foreign policy reminds one of Turkey’s entry to World War I as an ally of Germany, thus heralding the demise of the Ottoman Empire. Davutoglu too is producing policies without calculating the risks properly. The beehives he is stirring with his stick have no honey in them, but they do have bees to sting you.  

Found in: usa, turkey’s middle east policy, turkey, syrian crisis, syrian, syria, israel, davutolgu

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