Türkiye seeks to navigate towards challenges it faces
By: Contribution for Syrializm
As Türkiye continues to navigate its place in the international community, it’s important to examine the Western approach to the country and its leadership.
Many experts argue that Western nations, particularly the United States and its European allies, have taken a neo-colonial approach to their interaction with Türkiye.
This approach involves supporting Turkish leaders who align with Western interests while ignoring or even undermining those who don’t.
This can be seen in the way the West has dealt with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been both praised and criticized depending on his actions and words.
One argument in favor of the neo-colonial approach is that Türkiye is a key strategic ally in a region of great importance to the West.
Türkiye’s location at the crossroads of Europe and Asia, its membership in NATO, and its strong economy make it an important player in global politics.
However, the West’s focus on supporting Turkish leaders who align with their interests can be seen as a form of interference in Türkiye’s internal affairs, and can damage Türkiye’s relationship with its neighbors in the Middle East and Asia.
Furthermore, the Western approach to Türkiye risks turning the country into a junior partner of the United States.
This can be seen in the way that Washington has used its influence over Turkish media to shape the country’s political discourse.
In recent years, Türkiye has become increasingly reliant on Western media outlets such as CNN, FOX, which have significant influence over public opinion in the country.
If Ankara continues down this path, it risks becoming a junior partner of the United States, with little room to maneuver on the global stage.
To avoid this outcome, Türkiye should focus on developing its own media space and promoting its own perspectives and values.
By doing so, Türkiye can maintain its status as a major geopolitical player connecting the West and the East, while remaining independent and strong.
This will require investment in local media outlets and the promotion of Turkish culture and values in the global arena.
In other word, the Turkish soft power must be the main tool in the hand of the Turkish leadership, plus maintain self-dependence on arming, at least to be free in maneuvering facing the Western dictations.
It seems like the west led by the United States, is realizing that Türkiye might be heading towards that direction, and therefore, they start to use for a while now the usual US dirty work policies, more specifically creating of help supporting all kind of local and domestic unrest:
- Economical pressure
- Threat of supporting coup attempts
- Support groups or entities, by one way or another, those which Ankara classified them as terrorists.
On the other hand, some voices in Türkiye says, in order for the country to evolve, it require a commitment to democratic values and human rights, which are central to Türkiye’s identity as a modern, secular state, and here, in this very points, the clash inside Türkiye begun.
It’s not uncommon for political parties to have ties with foreign representatives, including those from the United States and the United Kingdom etc…
Plus the large Turkish community, particularly in the European Union (The vast majority of them are Citizens in these countries), is one of Türkiye’s most important economic partners.
The European Union’s share of Türkiye’s exports amounted to 40.6% in 2022, at a value of $103.1 billion.
The European Union also occupies the first place in the list of Turkish imports, as the total value of goods imported by Türkiye last year amounted to $364 billion, and the share of the union was $93 billion, or 25.6% as of March 6, 2023.
In compare for example with Turkish trade relations with Russia: It has fluctuated over the years but generally favors Russia.
According to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute, in 2022, Türkiye’s exports to Russia were valued at $4.8 billion, while its imports from Russia were valued at $21.7 billion, resulting in a trade deficit of $17.3 billion.
Russia is one of Türkiye’s have a number of significant economic ties, particularly in the energy sector, as Türkiye is highly dependent on Russia for its natural gas imports, and Russia is one of Türkiye’s largest suppliers of crude oil.
The rest goes for Russian exports from Türkiye are clothing, foodstuffs and agricultural products.
On the other hand, Türkiye benefits from the huge Russian tourism that enters the country annually, with most Russians tending to invest, buy real estate, and even transfer their commercial activities to Türkiye after the West imposed heaps of various sanctions on Russia after the Russian operation in Ukraine.
Returning to the Turkish-Western relations; in recent years, the ties have been called into question in Türkiye, with some accusing opposition party members of being supported by foreign intelligence services.
These accusations have been fueled by the West’s response to the 2016 coup attempt in Türkiye, which has been viewed by many in Türkiye as a form of interference in their country’s internal affairs.
One way that these accusations have been used to discredit opposition parties is by linking them to the West’s response to the coup attempt.
Some have suggested that opposition party members were involved in the coup attempt, or that they have ties to the US and British intelligence services that helped to plan it.
These accusations have been fueled by Western media outlets that have been critical of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and have been accused of supporting the opposition parties.
However, these accusations are often based on little evidence, and are more likely an attempt to discredit opposition parties than a reflection of reality.
Many opposition party members have denied any involvement in the coup attempt, and there’s little evidence to suggest that they have ties to foreign intelligence services.
In fact, many of these accusations are seen as part of a larger strategy to suppress dissent and opposition in Türkiye, and to maintain the ruling party’s grip on power.
Furthermore, it’s important to remember that ties with foreign representatives aren’t necessarily a bad thing.
In fact, many countries have strong diplomatic relationships with other countries, and work together on issues of mutual concern.
It’s only when these ties are used to undermine a country’s sovereignty or interfere in its internal affairs that they become problematic.
Thus, the accusations of ties between opposition party members and foreign intelligence services should be viewed with skepticism, in terms of the little evidence provided.
While it’s true that some opposition party members may have ties to foreign representatives, this doesn’t necessarily make them complicit in the 2016 coup attempt or a threat to Türkiye’s sovereignty.
It’s fair to say that, it’s important to distinguish between legitimate diplomatic relationships and attempts to interfere in a country’s internal affairs, and to ensure that accusations are based on evidence rather than political expedience.
Ultimately, only by promoting transparency and accountability can Türkiye build a strong and inclusive democracy that serves the interests of all its citizens.
Türkiye has been a member of NATO since 1952 and has been a key ally of the Western military alliance.
However, in recent years, there has been growing criticism within Turkish expert circles that the country isn’t receiving sufficient benefits from its NATO membership.
This criticism has been fueled by a number of factors, including Türkiye’s strained relationship with some of its NATO allies, its concerns about regional security threats, and its desire for greater autonomy in foreign policy.
One of the key arguments made by critics of Türkiye’s NATO membership is that the alliance hasn’t provided sufficient support to Türkiye in its fight against terrorism.
Türkiye has been a victim of terrorism for many years, and has been battling various terrorist groups, including the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and ISIS cells.
Despite its efforts, Türkiye hasn’t received the support it believes it deserves from NATO in its fight against terrorism, and this has led some experts to question whether Türkiye’s NATO membership is really benefiting the country?
Another concern expressed by critics is that Türkiye’s NATO membership is limiting its ability to pursue an independent foreign policy.
Some argue that Türkiye’s close alignment with the United States and other Western powers has led to a loss of autonomy in foreign policy, as Türkiye is often pressured to support the interests of its NATO allies.
This has been particularly evident in Türkiye’s relationship with the United States, where disagreements over policy in Syria and other regional issues have strained ties between the two countries.
Some experts argue that Türkiye’s NATO membership isn’t providing sufficient security guarantees to the country.
Türkiye is located in a volatile region, with ongoing conflicts in Syria, Iraq, and other neighboring countries, and despite being a member of NATO, Türkiye has often felt vulnerable to security threats, and has sought to increase its military capabilities to better protect its borders and interests.
One of the major tests to NATO’s position towards Türkiye, is Cyprus issue and the relationship between Greece and Türkiye, which has been tense for many years, with both countries engaged in a longstanding territorial dispute over the Aegean Sea and the divided island of Cyprus.
In recent years, these tensions have escalated, with both countries engaging in military drills and increasing their military presence in the region.
Thus, the United States is using these tensions to weaken Türkiye’s foreign policy position in the region.
One way that the United States could exploit tensions between Greece and Türkiye is by playing a more active role in the region.
The United States has long been a key ally of Greece, and has expressed support for the country’s claims in the Aegean Sea and Cyprus.
By increasing its support for Greece, the United States could be seen as taking sides in the dispute and undermining Türkiye’s position.
Another way that the United States could weaken Türkiye’s position is by supporting the European Union in its efforts to mediate the dispute between Greece and Türkiye.
The EU has expressed concerns over Türkiye’s drilling activities in the Eastern Mediterranean, and has called on the country to respect international law.
By supporting the EU’s position, the United States could be seen as undermining Türkiye’s position and weakening its negotiating power in the dispute.
Finally, the United States is using tensions between Greece and Türkiye to pressure Türkiye to make concessions in other areas of its foreign policy.
For example, the United States use the dispute to pressure Türkiye to reduce its military presence in Syria or to modify its position on the conflict in Libya, maybe more, with speculations related to try to use Türkiye to annoy Russia, under the current open conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine.
In conclusion, there is a possibility that escalating tensions between Athens and Ankara could be used by the United States to weaken Türkiye’s foreign policy position.
The United States is seen as undermining Türkiye’s position in the dispute, as they already has a military presence on the disputed Islands and inside Greece as, more US military activates and basis are open or already excited.
With all that in mind, Türkiye’s retaliation would be surprising as they could turn its direction completely and heads towards the east, get stronger cooperation with Russia, and China, go towards Latin America, and here comes the Turkish request to join BRICS, and of course returning to the “Zero Problems” policy with mainly neighboring countries which without a doubt will significantly improve the situation in the country in economic and security sectors and will solidate its position in the region, which will give it tools of pressure and power that will allow to secure a position as a power and a country with influence on the international stage as a whole.