The Nation Alliance’s foreign policy vision
The Nation Alliance released its Consensus Paper. The last ten or so pages of the Paper form the last heading, which is titled “Foreign Policy, Defense, Security, and Immigration Policies.” Due to our contemporary understanding of foreign and domestic policy, the phrases used in the heading are necessarily connected with others.
The wording in this section was just as general as in previous sections, yet it does give insight as to the foreign policy that will be implemented. The text generally seems to be a response to the policy choices of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to date.
Expressions such as "peace at home, peace in the world" will be adopted as the basic foreign policy principle. Considering the articles in the text, which includes many general expressions, together with the AKP's policies that have been responded to, criticized, or specified as to be changed may contribute to a better understanding of this section as a whole.
The second article under the heading mentions “national security and interests.” Should this article be considered “the master” as it seems to bind the statements in all the other articles?
Let us proceed:
“We will follow a foreign policy that respects international law and is based on universal values, and first and foremost with regard to our neighbors, we will make the principles of mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of countries, non-interference in their internal affairs, and resolution of disputes through peaceful means, diplomacy, and dialogue as the basis of this policy.”
The AKP changed the foreign policy understanding that had led Turkey until its administration. It identified geographies where we "should have a presence" and attempted to be in those places at all levels. Syria is the most recent example. In addition to the military presence in countries such as Libya, Somalia, Qatar, and Iraq, the AKP also constituted a political faction in the developments taking place in some of these countries. Sometimes it acted with the opposition, sometimes with extra governmental groups. In short, the AKP interfered in the internal affairs of some of these countries and took actions that fit the definitions of a violation of sovereignty rights or territorial integrity. This very attitude is one of the biggest reasons for Turkey's exclusion by others in the Middle East geography today.
Regional developments do of course impact Turkey and are of particular concern. However, was an alternative stance in these processes not possible? This is the claim of the Nation Alliance.
Another article says: “We will put an end to foreign policy practices based on domestic political calculations and ideologies.”
It is no secret that the AKP “bringing in” Syrian refugees had an element of religious and sectarian concerns. This course of time in which refugees were used as bargaining chips revealed the “price of a head” in domestic politics. More importantly, however, was the ideological and practical approach to the Muslim Brotherhood organization. This approach has two subheadings:
1 – The AKP tried to pull Turkey towards a societal model close to the Muslim Brotherhood.
2 – In the attempt to revive the Ottoman spirit in the Middle East and in the goal of forming leader-partner relationships with these countries. the Muslim Brotherhood was taken either directly or indirectly as addressee, bypassing the administrative bodies, politics, and societies,
2- In the goal of reviving the Ottoman spirit in the Middle East and leading-partnership with these countries, the Muslim Brotherhood was addressed directly or indirectly, thus bypassing the administrations, politics, and societies of these countries. This approach is the source of problems experienced today, especially in Egypt.
Saving international relations from an "organizational level relationship" and abandoning policies that are considered to be interference in internal affairs will lead Turkey to healthier relations. For this reason, not only some Syrians in Turkey but also some segments in the Middle East are anxious about the possibility of the Nation Alliance coming to power.
Among the articles is also the goal of full membership in the EU. Is this goal not directly a matter of domestic policy? Who wouldn't want to see a country with full democracy, prosperity, equality, and justice among their ranks? Providing visa liberalization with EU countries is also included in this framework.
The emphasis on "joint responsibility and burden sharing" in the refugee problem may cause a crisis with the EU. Erdogan did not agree to such deals simply for money. These agreements also had political implications, which is why this goal is not so easy.
GREETINGS TO NATO, THEN OFF ON OUR WAY
Is the emphasis on the importance of NATO an assurance given to the West?
The article "We will lead multilateral initiatives that will improve peace, stability, and cooperation in Turkey's neighboring geography" refers to the cooperation that is planned to be established with Iraq, Iran, and Syria, but such initiatives cannot be realized only with the consent of these countries, as many regional, global, and local factors are also at play.
IS THE APPROACH TO THE PALESTINIAN PROBLEM REALISTIC?
It has been stated that all parties will be negotiated with to ensure a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict. Israel has probably already closed that door. Could more concrete, practical solutions be offered to this problem? It is not easy. The problem is multi-faceted and it is almost impossible to take initiatives and achieve results unless progress can be made on some basic issues such as the establishment of new settlements. Israel, on the other hand, does not like such topics to be talked about.
WILL THE TURKISH CYPRIOT ADMINISTRATION BE SAVED FROM ANKARA’S POLITICS?
The same holds true for Cyprus. It is doubtful how much progress can be made on some basic issues. For example, will the “Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus” and Turkish Cypriots be helped to become independent of Ankara in order to solve their problems? Will the “TRNC” be saved from being a province?
What will be done regarding the problems with Greece in the Aegean Sea? Greece has no intention of giving up on the claims it has defended so far. In this case, is the preservation of peace in the Aegean possible by remaining silent or doing just the opposite? Is maintaining silence in accordance with the article emphasizing “national interests"?
F-35’S IN, S-400’S OUT
Relations with the United States and the goal of returning to the F-35 project are one of the most important items in that it includes not only a military project, but also a state preference. The S-400 deal is a strategic deal. Returning to the F-35 is possible only with the abolition of this agreement itself or its implementation. Why should Putin want the Nation Alliance to come to power? The emphasis on Shanghai and ASEAN should also be handled in the context of relations with the USA and NATO. Each of these will cause balance problems. What will be done concretely on all these issues that need fine-tuning? What about relations with China? How will we enter emerging Asia?
The topic of refugees is a problem in and of itself, and the solution is much more difficult than presumed. The view that refugees will “leave voluntarily” is not realistic at all. When refugees are mentioned, the first thing that comes to mind is Syrians. What kind of cooperation is planned with Syria on this issue? Erdogan has created an army of refugees loyal to him. How will the inconvenience they are to experience be resolved?
Where does Davutoglu, who obviously contributed to the preparation of the foreign policy portion of this text, stand? Is he waiting to be forgiven for some of the sins he has committed to date?
If the Nation Alliance surrenders foreign policy to Davutoglu, it should completely forget about any restoration in foreign relations. That there are so many articles in the Paper describing existing problems is due to Davutoglu himself.
* Musa Ozugurlu worked as an editor, reporter, and program presenter in the newsrooms of many radio and TV channels. In 2010, he worked as the Syria representative of TRT Turk. He is one of the few foreign journalists who documented the process on the ground that started in Syria in 2011 until 2016. His field of expertise is Syria, first and foremost, but also the Middle East. Currently, he presents the "Day Begins" program on ARTI TV every weekday between 08:00 - 11:00 AM.