Turkish Foreign Policy Has Gone Bankrupt

Turkey once dreamed of creating a new Ottoman empire. However, these dreams were shattered with the bankruptcy of Turkish foreign policy, writes Dogan Heper. Now, Israel is able to insult Turkey and be protected by a NATO radar shield from within its borders, he says, and this shows how pathetic Ankara has become.

al-monitor A Turkish security officer looks out from a door at the French consulate during a demonstration in Istanbul December 23, 2011. Photo by REUTERS/Osman Orsal.

Topics covered

zero problems with neighbors, turkish foreign policy, syrian crisis, syrian, ottoman empire, neo-ottomanism, davutoglu

Apr 12, 2012

Our foreign policy has sunk. What dreams we had. We were in the midst of creating a “new Ottoman empire” and ruling the region. We were to become a grand state whose words were obeyed. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was put in charge of this policy.

What were his words again? “Zero problems with neighbors.”  First, zero problems. Then, a new Ottoman whose words were to be respected. But everything turned out to be the other way around. Turkish foreign policy has gone bankrupt.

Look at Syria: Until a short time ago, Assad was our friend. We even convened joint cabinet sessions. How did Assad and Damascus now become our enemy?

Is it because America and Israel wanted it so? Is this their way to cripple Iran? If a sectarian civil war breaks out in Syria, will it not affect us? How could those who once resisted engaging in Iraq, and who denied the US transit through Turkey for their operations there, now advocate intervention in Syria? Isn’t the purpose of the US missile shield at Malatya is to defend Israel?

Was it not Israel that refused all Turkish requests, raided its ships and killed its people? Did it not denigrate its ambassador without apologizing? Is Israel about to be defended by a radar system based in Turkey? Doesn’t all this show how pathetic Ankara has become?

Our border with Iran has been the same for years. We have had no problems. We became friends and despite everything, we were able to keep it that way. We bought their oil and their natural gas. We expanded our own industries, heated our homes and drove our cars thanks to Iran. However, these relations soured due to Iran’s nuclear projects and US disapproval.

We are now taking legal action for natural gas. At first, Iran even rejected the Istanbul meeting. Prime Minister’s visit to Tehran was no success either – just listen to the statements that followed it. And why? Because of our misguided foreign policy.

We are not exactly on good terms with Armenia, and are only so-so with Azerbaijan. If northern Iraq gets the chance, we will see its real colors. The same goes for Baghdad. Our problems with southern Cyprus persist. We think Israel doesn’t exist and vice versa. With Greece, you know how it is – we have never managed to become good friends. For Bulgaria, it is as if Ankara doesn’t exist.

Is this really our zero-problems policy with neighbors?

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