“We see ourselves nowhere else but in Europe. We contemplate building our future together with Europe.”
Is this statement by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan aimed at “altering” Turkey’s “distanced” stance towards relations with the West in general and specifically with the EU for some time, or does it signify a dramatic turn in foreign policy?
Connecting this statement with the words, "We are determined to find a proper place in the post-pandemic world by improving our judicial infrastructure, strengthening the foundations of our economy, increasing production and employment,” which were spoken during the same speech, it is possible to ascertain that the process will be established over a two-phase structure.
This is a sort of hybrid policy process in which “reform and security” practices are simultaneously and equally implemented.
The statement, “To maintain the balance of freedom, democracy and security together,” by Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın during an extensive visit to the Brussels, also sgnifies this policy.
It is obvious that one objective of the discourse targeting Europe is the Turkey-based discussions and perhaps sanctions to be brought up at the EU Leaders Summit set to be held on Dec. 10-11.
However, when combined with reforms, it is also felt that it will be aimed at a part of internal policy and the economy, as well as the outcome of Joe Biden being elected as U.S. president.
“We desire to actively use our long-standing and close alliance with the U.S. in resolving all regional and global issues.”
There is no doubt that Turkey is aware of the rapid change in trajectory taking place in European countries. Top this with Biden, and it becomes impossible not to see that the Transatlantic alliance will be refreshed. It is also clear that primarily NATO, Russia and China policies, including the Ukraine, Belarus, Caucasus, Central Asia, Gulf countries, Iran, and Mediterranean matters are going to be take up more tangibly by the U.S. Additionally, it is seen that American “values” such as democracy and human rights will also be utilized more strongly as weapons.
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Though regulations may be established in Turkish foreign policy with respect to relations with the West, the dilemma will be concerning not everyday problems but rather medium-term difficult preferences. The matter that will transform U.S.-China-Russia relations, is going to have a direct effect on Turkey.
Considering the masterminds behind the anti-Turkey terror corridor established all along our southern border, the siege attempt in the East Mediterranean, the coup-plotters in Libya, those who plotted the scenario attempted in the Caucasus using Armenia, those who sent spies to Turkey, and the lack of evidence showing that they will lay down their aims may make it difficult to establish cooperation regarding “the solution of regional matters.”
However, heavier burdens are in question concerning the resolution of the “global matter.” Though the U.S./Biden’s view of Russia and China greatly differ, Turkey ultimately intends to continue relations “simultaneously with all three superpowers,” and may be forced to make grave choices as a stakeholder in these countries’ game fields.
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We previously wrote that Biden sees China as a rival and Russia as the enemy. Here, we must stop associating Biden’s foreign policy and strategic global security experiences solely to his gains as vice president to former U.S. President Barack Obama. Biden is a Cold War character. Many leaders, who have a free hand on the world stage as main characters today, used to be children while he was making his rounds in the world on behalf of the U.S.
The lack of leaders/leadership was felt most strongly in the world’s last decade, but the chessboard now has players such as Putin, Erdoğan, Jinping, and Biden, who are extremely experienced and have a “bright political future.” This is both good and risky. Yes, the experience comprising Biden’s political character is rooted in the Cold War, but he is also well-aware of the balances of our age.
It can be predicted that such a character who sees Russia as the main target can also speak the “Cold War” discourse memorized by Turkey, a country that has undergone the same process and has perfectly developed its practical solution capacity.
Yet, the world is now progressing on a wave that has left this process behind.
Predictions – and in fact “wishes” – that Biden will adopt a rougher approach towards Russian and Turkey, as well as China, are not consistent with reality. There is also the internal state of the U.S. It is exhausted. The Biden administration is going to be busy in its early years striving to patch up European and Transatlantic relations while struggling with the pandemic and economic wreck. He won the election, but the next four years signal an uphill battle. Fighting against critical actors during the recovery period is difficult.
However, the following should be expected: A more organized Russia policy in NATO; European countries, including Germany, rapidly catching up with the U.S.; tensions over energy basins and routes; a showdown with China, and at the end of this chapter one with Russia, or rather with the Kremlin! The shape Turkey’s policies will take based on these acceptances in the countries and regions in question should be considered.
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Turkey is making a fast maneuver.
You are going to state you can establish your own security policy and defense needs against the U.S./West, and at the same time say, “We can cooperate in global-regional matters.” You are going to state, “If you force us to other pursuits in trade and defense, we will do it,” and also say, “We no longer accept the open attacks targeting our country and nation, the injustices and double standards imposed on us.” You are also going to say, “If you accept this, we are an inseparable part of Europe.”
All this is true. They suit the new world order and Turkey. But do they suit Biden and Europe? They are old.
Is the U.S.-commanded German warship in the Greek command a response to these questions?