Libya of course is of vital essence to Turkey in terms of its geopolitical location.
Putting its many qualities aside; Libya’s worth is priceless when even just taking into consideration Turkey’s pursual of its sovereignty rights in the Mediterranean.
Even though the wars fought over strategic resources such as natural gas and fuel have been temporarily sidelined due to the coronavirus pandemic, the East Mediterranean will gain value over time.
We cannot reduce the Mediterranean to its natural resources. With the Atlantic-centered world being shaken to its core, the pre-colonialist aspect of the Mediterranean has come up once again.
This is one of the main reasons that North African countries such as Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Maghreb states are going through testing times.
Hence, Turkey doesn’t just have the East Mediterranean on its radar; and this is where France’s belligerent attitude stems from. The relative instability of countries which gained their independence post-World War II points to a new era.
The independence of new countries that emerged post-colonialism has long been a point of contention. There was a general view that the independence of these countries was false and deceiving, however it was obvious that these claims were fiction.
The administrations of these young countries were harshly criticized and statements were made praising the colonialist era.
Turkey building bridges with these countries was proof that it comprehended the volatility of the new era. The early rapport established with countries such as Libya and Algeria was of great importance. Even though the debatable independence of these countries caused various problems, their existence was vital. In particular, the struggles for independence of the colonialist era were the basis for the quest for nationalization in the new period. With the changing world, the nationalization process could gain speed.
It is necessary to reconsider the national struggles of the colonialist era from this perspective. This is very important for the future of the region.
It is necessary to perceive the ties Turkey is trying to forge with Libya, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco as a continuation of these states’ nationalization process. Turkey, especially in the past couple of years, has been trying to lay a new foundation with these countries. We can say that Turkey is trying to form a new unification with these states.
We can see this initiative, which contributes to peace and stability and creates certain wealth, as a result of the national liberation struggles of the colonialist era. Countries that could not fight for independence, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), regarding the new formations as a threat to their own existence, also points to non-national regional structures.
Associating Turkey’s political line with the history of the Ottoman Empire, thus alluding to imperialism is to be completely ignorant of the Ottomans and Turkey, as well as imperialism. Such an approach points to a problematic perspective in terms of Turkey and the above-mentioned countries.
To reduce Turkey’s presence in the East Mediterranean to economic interests would point to a great alienation on its part. During the Ottoman era, these countries were a part of the same state. However, France, Russia and the U.K. did not view the countries they took over as unbreakable pieces of a single homeland.
For them, the notion of “homeland” was not unifying but marginalizing. The systems of slavery, colonialism and imperialism were the results of the discriminative mentality we are talking about. Turkey’s rapprochement with North and the East African countries is turning into a problem for imperialist countries. The Ottomans put up a great fight against imperialism.
We need to realize that the new regional order Turkey is trying to form today is anti-imperialist.
When we consider the Muslim region in its entirety, we are set to witness a rich and dynamic period. This period cannot be analyzed using archaic definitions, terms and perspectives which is clear from the shallow arguments taking place in Turkey.
We cannot explain away the negative approaches, especially articulated by political parties, institutions and the elite, with the concept of alienation.