A. Erdi Ozturk: Some simple advice to Mr Kilicdaroglu on foreign policy

As a country that is comfortable in its historical, economic, geographical and military power, Turkey should not run ahead of everybody to join controversies in her region. Becoming a calm and wise  elder brother of the region will suit the post-Erdogan government.

The President of the United States of America, Joe Biden, recently held a large democracy summit with attendees, most of whom are NATO member countries. The main agenda of the meeting was how to further democracy in the world. Apart from the importance of the meeting itself, it is important for us that we were not invited despite being an important member of NATO. Hungary was another country that was not invited. This situation is a stark and bitter indication that Turkey is not considered  a democracy, not only statistically but also perceptually.

So, what does this mean for us on the way to the election? What I mean by “us” is the masses who have fled from AKP authoritarianism and who think that change is the only way out of Turkey for the time being, and that’s why they have turned to Kemal Kilicdaroglu.

We can easily claim that Kemal Bey (Turkish for Mister) is relatively comfortable in matters related to domestic politics. There are two reasons for this. First of all, the AKP government has made so many deliberate mistakes on every issue for years that the opposition can find a soft belly that can harass the government wherever it touches.


Secondly, this time, as Kilicdaroglu is preparing for the election as the leader  of a grand coalition representing different components of the society, he can advocate policy proposals that will somehow resonate across the society.

At first glance, it may seem like a luxury to talk about foreign policy in an election where domestic political strife is so intense, problematic and touches daily life. However, in a world where deglobalization and  elimination of borders, normatively speaking, are fashionable, being in power requires concrete foreign policy stances. In this context, Kemal Bey and his team need to be clear and reformist in foreign policy, perhaps not openly in front of the media, but behind closed doors and in front of relevant experts.

Abandoning the role of an elder brother exercising soft power, Turkey has been in the middle of every conflict in the region, frequently taking positions that change from issue to issue. While this negatively affects her own prestige, it also rattles  regional balances.

So, what should the leaders of the Nation Alliance say about foreign policy in the current situation of Turkey and the world?

First of all, Turkey has been hindering the changing, transforming and expanding security structure of the Western world at several points for a long time. First of all, it violates international law by operating along the fantasies of retired admirals and generals who have adopted the nonsense of Eurasianism as a foreign policy principle.

Afterwards, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she opposed the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland, disrupting the security structure of the Western world. Turkey is seen as  Trojan horse of Russia and similar countries. Whatever happens, Kemal Bey has to say that after the change of power, Turkey’s place is in the West to which she belongs.

The historical importance of Turkey is not  due to being the former seat of the Caliphate. It is due to the fact that it has a unique religion-state relations dynamic for a  Muslim society.  In this context, although she should have acted as a security buffer in the world where radicalization is rampant, she has voluntarily jumped into each irrational debate within the Muslim world during the Erdogan Era.

This haste not only destroyed her trusted position in the Islamic geography, but also started to become a problem in the West.  At this juncture, Mr. Kemal should clearly state that Turkey will preserve her Islamic heritage, as well as secularism and respect any belief that is not violent.

The last point is Turkey’s role in the problematic region. Abandoning the role of balancer and arbitrator, Turkey has been in the business of trying to grab slices of different sizes from each cake for a while. While this negatively affects her own prestige, it also disrupts regional balances. As a country with a vast historical, economic, geographical and military power, Turkey should not willingly run ahead of everyone to each debate. Being a calm and wise brother of the region will suit the post-Erdogan government.

These points are very important for both today and tomorrow. It will be very encouraging  to hear these from the mouth of Mr. Kemal.


Original article is here


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Published By: Atilla Yeşilada

GlobalSource Partners’ Turkey Country Analyst Atilla Yesilada is the country’s leading political analyst and commentator. He is known throughout the finance and political science world for his thorough and outspoken coverage of Turkey’s political and financial developments. In addition to his extensive writing schedule, he is often called upon to provide his political expertise on major radio and television channels. Based in Istanbul, Atilla is co-founder of the information platform Istanbul Analytics and is one of GlobalSource’s local partners in Turkey. In addition to his consulting work and speaking engagements throughout the US, Europe and the Middle East, he writes regular columns for Turkey’s leading financial websites VATAN and www.paraanaliz.com and has contributed to the financial daily Referans and the liberal daily Radikal.