Greek Press: Turkey continues to move away from the West
In a new analysis by Konstantinos Filis for Kathimerini, the dynamics of Turkey's foreign policy under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are brought to light, revealing a significant pivot away from the West. The article, dated October 31, 2023, titled "Turkey's path of no return, away from the West," delves into Erdogan's recent political maneuvers, particularly in the Israel-Hamas conflict.
Initially showing ambivalence, Erdogan's stance gradually aligned with Hamas, marked by increasingly aggressive rhetoric towards Israel, the U.S., and the broader Western bloc. This shift was exemplified when Turkey quickly condemned Israel for its actions in Gaza, particularly the attack on the al-Ahli Arab Hospital, with unanimous parliamentary condemnation. Further, Erdogan's coalition partner, Devlet Bahceli of the Nationalist Movement Party, suggested military intervention in Gaza.
Erdogan's portrayal of Hamas as a liberation movement starkly contrasts with his position on Kurdish groups and signals a potential rift in Turkey-West relations. Filis notes the historical connection between Erdogan's ruling AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood, highlighting a fluctuating relationship with Hamas and a broader, more complex diplomatic stance.
Erdogan's approach serves multiple objectives: domestically, it resonates with nationalist sentiments, while internationally, it positions Turkey as a bold defender of Muslim interests, challenging the more cautious stances of many Arab leaders. This repositioning is tactical and strategic, as Erdogan seeks to enhance Turkey's image in the Muslim world and assert its role as a key international player.
However, Filis expresses concerns over this 'path of no return.' This new trajectory leans towards political Islam and an increasing divergence from the West, aiming to gain the trust of leaders skeptical of Western intentions, like Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has commended Erdogan for his autonomous foreign policy stance.
This eastward pivot suggests a strategic recalibration in Turkey's international role, moving away from its traditional alignment with Western powers. Filis argues that in a shifting global landscape, Turkey perceives its interests as better served by a path of diplomatic autonomy. Such a shift has profound implications for Greek-Turkish relations and the broader geopolitical dynamics of the region.
In conclusion, Erdogan's recent foreign policy decisions mark a decisive shift in Turkey's international stance, focusing on confrontation over conciliation and signaling a new era in Turkey's engagement with the global community.