“We are going to stand tall, not be stubborn!”
The above statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan determines the outline, route and destination of the path Turkey is taking.
It determines a state mind, reflex, fighting tactic and stance against the storms brewing in our region and the world. This statement forms the main axis of Turkey’s state philosophy. It expresses a principle from internal policy to the economy, from its security policy to foreign policy.
We see this principle in the economic attacks coming our way from abroad. Turkey is not stepping back, it is not kneeling in fear of the pressures, it is resisting, seeking its remedy, opening new doors, and turning towards new markets.
The method to discipline a country through sanctions or attacks has failed because of this principle. If we soften up, step back, this will result not in the recovery of the economy, but with our country being taken hostage and wasted – a destruction is going to be prepared and we are aware of this.
Based on this, an economic defense line, a resistance line is being formed. While “compliance”-axis changes are being made in the country to this end, efforts are being made to fill the void resulting from the global trade war.
Action in the defense field is also being taken based on the, “We are going to stand tall, not be stubborn,” principle. Turkey did not backtrack with respect to the S-400 air defense systems despite all the U.S. pressure, despite all of Europe or NATO’s pressures, despite all the pressures of the internal “front.”
Though the S-400 discussion has become an internal policy issue, though it has turned into an issue with the entire Western world intervening, Turkey continues to stand tall. Thus, components of the S-400s have arrived and will continue to do so.
Had attention been paid to those causing fear within the country, had the sanctions threats been heeded, this process would have long been over, and Turkey would have still been begging for Patriot missiles in European capitals today.
They were not going to supply them or transfer technology, and our country was going to be left defenseless from the north of Syria, from the East Mediterranean, and the Aegean. Because this is their goal. Because we saw on July 15, in the bloodiest form, that this is their aim – to leave Turkey defenseless.
We saw the “standing tall but not being stubborn” issue in the north of Syria as well. The most extensive project by the U.S. and its allies to siege Turkey was implemented in this region. The terror corridor spanning the Iranian border and the Mediterranean was really a “Turkey front,” and hundreds-of-kilometers-long extraordinary buildups were established on Syrian territory.
Efforts were made with the help of “internal partners” to prevent Turkey from intervening in this zone. The Turkey side of the “zone” was secured through Fetullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) commanders prior to July 15.
There were those raising fear, questioning, “Are we going to clash with the U.S.?” But Turkey stood upright, and the gate of the terror zone leading to the Mediterranean was closed with the Euphrates Shield and Afrin operation.
Now, the east door is being closed off with operations such as Claw. Turkey is, once again, going to maintain its upright stance, and the terror zone, whose two doors are closed off, is going to be collapsed from a few areas. Wait and see then who will get on the ground and raise fear on behalf of the U.S. and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and confuse minds.
We are now watching in action the “standing tall but not being stubborn” principle in the East Mediterranean now. Those trying to siege us from the north of Syria expanded the siege as far as the Mediterranean. Almost all Western countries brought battleships to the East Mediterranean.
Besides the natural gas negotiation, drilling crisis, overt and covert deals, all these countries established a joint front against Turkey. As a matter of fact, beyond energy, a geopolitical map is being drawn.
Turkey never backtracked despite being isolated. It too started drilling operations. It sent its seismic ships and drillship to the region and launched operations. This front, networked by the U.S. and Israel, in which countries of the region also joined in on, turning the Aegean islands into missile bases, their military drills, their quest for sanctions were not enough to frighten Turkey. Turkey decided to send a fourth vessel to the region against the “weak” sanction decision the EU took the other day.
Furthermore, the U.S. has twice now cancelled its press conference for the sanction decision against Turkey. They may also decide to impose sanctions, this is expected. However, this will not tone down Turkey either. Because this is what it means to stand tall.
Had Erdoğan, his close circle, his team, and the millions that marched shoulder-to-shoulder with him not stood tall, the government would have been overthrown and Turkey would be given hostage to the EU by the Gezi Park terror. Had they not stood tall, had they been tentative and softened up, the Dec. 17-25, 2013 coup attempt, the July 15, 2016 invasion attempt would have been successful, leading to infighting in the streets of Turkey today.
Had we softened up, cowered, been unsettled, and taken a “begging” position, terrorism would have been striking the whole country more heavily today, with the great foreign support.
Had we surrendered our will to the Atlantic circle, FETÖ and the PKK would have been establishing a joint administration in Turkey today – our country would have been dragged to a great collapse once more a century later.
Had we not stood tall, Turkey would not have been able to realize the great rise it achieved in the last decade and would be begging today for money at the doors of the West. Had we not stood tall, our country would not have been able to move anywhere in the south, from the Iranian border to the Aegean. Had we not stood tall, governments would come and go in this period, one after the other, internal instability would have reached its peak, all interventions from the West would have had great impacts, and Turkey would have been shredded to pieces.
“You will stand tall, but not be stubborn.” You will not soften up or be oppressed. Your fists will be clenched; you will draw your strength from these lands and this nation. You are going to proceed to the future by moving through the depths of history.
You will not share the fears of those who do not draw their strength from this land. You are going to know that the “great showdown” that started a century later is fate, and that this threshold can be overcome solely through resistance. You are going to know the mentality behind those unleashed on the field against this resistance, and the kind of Turkey they dream of and for which they make plans.
Regardless of whatever happens from now on, regardless of the storms brewing, you are going to be aware that they can all be overcome solely by fighting – without crying, whining, begging and kneeling.
We saw this in the north of Syria, we are seeing it now and will continue to see it in the economic struggle; we see it in the East Mediterranean, we saw it in the S-400 issue, and we are going to see it in the future in the sanctions.
This is all because we are confronting the century-long siege, the century-long struggle, the century-long showdown, the century-long challenge. Regardless of how hard the winds blow, this path is going to be tread, the internal and external waves of attack are going to be resisted, and this country is going to overcome it all – we know it will.
Because the course of history has already changed. We know that nobody can stop this rise.
If we beg, plead for mercy, we will shrink and be devastated – we are aware of this too. We are in a time in which force spoils the game. It is not us alone, the whole world is going through such a period. We have no choice but to invest in power and determination.
This is what Turkey is doing. This is how it is going to continue. As long as the leaders stand upright, as long as the state stands upright, as long as those running the power domains stand upright, so will the people. Because our millennium-old history on Anatolian lands is based on this philosophy, this political legacy.