Καθηγητής, Διεθνείς Σχέσεις-Στρατηγικές Σπουδές
Πανεπιστήμιο Πειραιώς, Τμήμα Διεθνών και Ευρωπαϊκών Σπουδών
www.ifestos.edu.gr -- www.ifestosedu.gr -- email@example.com -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Το βιβλίο Στρατηγικό βάθος του Τούρκου Υπουργού Εξωτερικών Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου κυκλοφόρησε στην ελληνική αγορά τον Μάιο 2010. Όσον με αφορά έχοντας ήδη διαβάσει το βιβλίο θεωρώ ότι η δημοσίευσή του στα ελληνικά (το εισηγήθηκα εγώ για μετάφραση πριν δύο χρόνια) αποτελεί όχι μόνο ένα πολιτικό γεγονός αλλά και ένα επιστημονικό γεγονός. Οι σελίδες εδώ για την Τουρκία θα τύχουν περισσότερης επιμέλειας και τα σχόλιά μας για τον Νταβούτογλου θα πυκνώσουν. Για προδημοσιεύσεις και επιφυλλίδες βλ. http://www.ifestosedu.gr/109%20Νταβούτογλου%20Στρατηγικό%20βάθος.htm
13.12.2010. Σύνδεσμοι ομιλιών του Τούρκου ΥΠΕΞ Νταβούτογλους
12.3.2012. interview by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in AUC Cairo Review (Egypt)
29.11.2010. Address to the THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
AHMET DAVUTOGLU MAY 20, 2010 Turkey's Zero-Problems Foreign Policy
18.1.2010. Ομιλία Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου στους Τούρκους Πρέσβεις
2.1.2008. Davutoglou' s vision
Συνέντευξη Νταβούτογλου στην Le Monde 7.11.2009
Turkey's Transformers Foreign Affairs Nov.Dec. 2009.
Σύνδεσμοι ομιλιών Τούρκου ΥΠΕΞ Νταβούτογλου
13.12.2010. Σύνδεσμοι ομιλιών του Τούρκου ΥΠΕΞ Νταβούτογλους
Για μια πλήρη παράθεση των συνδέσμων των ομιλιών του Τούρκου Υπουργού Εξωτερικών βλ. http://www.mfa.gov.tr/sub.en.mfa?e02fbae4-66f5-4813-96b7-40986c71f171
12.3.2012. nterview by Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in AUC Cairo Review (Egypt)
CAIRO REVIEW: How do you define Turkey’s strategic interests today?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey’s strategic interests lie in peace, stability, security, and prosperity in its neighborhood and beyond. Turkey is in a unique position in geopolitical terms, in the midst of Afro–Eurasia. This vast geography neighbors crisis-prone regions such as the Middle East, the Caucasus, and the Balkans. It also holds a great potential for development and prosperity, which has so far been held back due to security problems. Any crisis in these regions—be it economic or political—has direct ramifications for Turkey and the wider international community. Therefore, stability in these regions is in the best interests of Turkey. And this is why Turkey actively works to foster peace and security around it—the very idea at the heart of our ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy. Through this policy, while we try to leave behind the problems with our neighbors, we also try to help them solve any domestic, bilateral or international problems they might have—to the extent we can.
Our foreign policy is also shaped by our economic interests. Turkey has a big population, young people constituting half of it, and a vibrant economy, striving to be among the top ten economies of the world by 2023, which is the one hundredth anniversary of the Turkish Republic. Additionally, the Turkish private sector is very active and has a strong entrepreneurial spirit. This requires us to widen the scope of our outreach as an economic actor. Increasing the level of economic cooperation with as many countries as possible becomes an important priority for Turkey. It compels us to reach out and enhance the scope of our relations on a global scale. This is also why we have increased cooperation and engagement with the emerging powers of Asia, Africa, and Latin America, all of which have become priority areas in terms of our strategic interests.
Turkish foreign policy is guided by our democratic values as well as our interests. This can best be seen in our support for reform efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. Turkey has always been encouraging the administrations to address the legitimate expectations of their people and undertake the necessary reforms. However, now, given the home-grown and irreversible march toward more democracy in the region, Turkey has stepped up its efforts to support this process. Consolidation of democracy in these countries in a way that will empower the people and strengthen stability is in the best interests of the entire region. This process should be advanced in a peaceful manner without leading to new divisions of ethnic or sectarian nature. This is not what people want, and we have to do all we can to avoid such a dangerous scenario. Turkey exerts every effort in this direction in cooperation with the countries in the region.
Turkey greatly values its alliance with the Euro–Atlantic community. Our membership of NATO [North Atlantic Treaty Organization] and strategic relations with the U.S. and other Western countries in Europe constitute a fundamental pillar of our foreign policy. In addition, Turkey has been a negotiating country with the EU [European Union] for a long time. In this context, membership of the EU remains a strategic goal for us.
CAIRO REVIEW: What is Turkey’s role in the evolving global system, at this point in history?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: In a globalized world, countries are not isolated entities anymore. We live in a world where states, leaders, and peoples increasingly interact with each other on a daily basis. Almost anything—products, persons, capital, and ideas—can be moved and communicated across borders. Whatever happens in one part of the world can be simultaneously heard in another corner and they receive rapid reaction from countries across the globe. In light of all these, no country can exist or prosper on its own anymore. This is a new global order in the making, and Turkey is doing its best to contribute to the successful completion of this transition period. In this regard, we believe that the new system has to be:
—legitimate, just, transparent, and democratic;
—representative and fully open to participation;
—in full regard to resolve dormant or active disputes that have an impact on world stability;
—result-oriented in terms of eliminating disparities;
—based on the precept of security and freedom for all.
We also believe that we have the necessary elements of soft and hard power to help achieve that goal. And we will not shy away from using our comparative advantages in this direction. Our geostrategic location, booming economy, ability to understand different social and cultural dynamics in a vast geography, and commitment to advance democracy domestically and internationally are all important assets.
What Turkey wants to promote and achieve is: cooperation, understanding, and tolerance through dialogue and engagement. Turkey’s efforts are focused on bringing together the parties in order to solve or preempt conflicts; championing universal values and human rights; supporting those who are subjected to unfair treatment, and promoting economic and social development of the underprivileged countries.
The Alliance of Civilizations initiative we cosponsored with Spain is an example of Turkey’s active efforts in this direction. Similarly, Turkey and Finland have launched the Peace through Mediation initiative in September 2010 at the margins of the sixty-fifth United Nations General Assembly. We also tabled a resolution at the UN General Assembly on mediation, which was adopted unanimously in June 2011. Just recently, on February 24–25 of this year, Turkey organized the Istanbul Conference on Mediation, in order to provide a platform where all parties in mediation could interact with each other and share their experiences and insights, thus enhancing their understanding on different perspectives of peace building.
Likewise, Turkey has become an emerging dxonor, conducting various development projects through its own agencies. Turkey is determined to help the least developed countries with a long-term commitment. Turkey hosted the LDC Summit in Istanbul last May with a view to supporting sustainable development in these countries.
Overall, Turkey is a constructive power able to play an important role in setting the parameters of the new global order. We are conscious of our capabilities and of what needs to be done. In cooperation with our friends and partners we will continue to play a positive role in our region and beyond.
CAIRO REVIEW: Has Turkey achieved the ‘strategic depth’ that you seek?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey’s strategic depth rests on its geographical and historical depth. Our long history provides us with a unique set of relations with countries and communities all around us. Our geostrategic location in the midst of a vast geography, on the other hand, places us in a position to relate to and influence the developments that are key to the future of the world. So the question is not achieving the strategic depth, but using it for regional and global peace. This requires us to engage with the countries with which we share a common past and geography in a way that will promote our shared interests and create a mutually beneficial framework for cooperation and dialogue. Today, with its strong democracy, vibrant economy, and active foreign policy, Turkey has more opportunities to capitalize on its strategic depth. And we have been working very actively to this end.
Our efforts to create high-level strategic councils and visa-free travel regimes, for instance, are geared toward making this strategic depth an operational concept where all peoples and states benefit from the enhanced cooperation. The principle that lies beneath our general approach is to turn this vast area into one of stability, security, and prosperity through political dialogue, economic interdependence, and cultural understanding.
On the other hand, strategic depth also rests on creating a sense of regional ownership based on shared interests and common ideals. This can be achieved only through a more effective regional cooperation and active engagement with all regional systems in our neighborhood. This, in turn, necessitates enforcing existing regional integration structures, and forging new ones as necessary. This is why Turkey supports and seeks to promote regional cooperation in its neighborhood and to boost the profile of regional organizations for that purpose. We believe that this would help countries to find regional solutions to their regional problems, rather than waiting for other actors from outside the region to impose their own solutions.
CAIRO REVIEW: We have witnessed important shifts and changes in Turkey’s domestic politics and political life in the past decade. How have these developments affected or shaped Turkish foreign policy?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey’s greatest success has been consolidating its democracy and achieving a strong economy at home. These are also the driving forces behind Turkey’s proactive foreign policy. Of course, this has become possible due to the political stability, which we have been enjoying since 2002 in Turkey. As a stable, secular, and democratic country with an economy ranking sixteenth in the world, Turkey has indeed become a regional powerhouse whose friendship and cooperation is increasingly sought in the international arena. This enabled us to pursue a more independent and visionary foreign policy.
CAIRO REVIEW: How do you evaluate the success or failure of the Justice and Development Party's five new principles for a new Turkish foreign policy: balancing freedom and security; zero problems with neighbors; active rather than reactive; complementary relations with global powers; and activism in international organizations?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Our foreign policy is essentially based on the principle of “Peace at home, peace in the world” as laid down by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic. Over the years, it has developed and gained many layers and dimensions, always on the basis of this tradition. Building on this tradition, we have introduced five new principles with a view to injecting refreshed dynamism into our foreign policy as well as for adapting ourselves to the new realities.
I think all of these five principles have been successfully translated into concrete policies. First, in terms of balancing freedoms and security, Turkey is a living example of how important it is to expand the space of freedoms to realize the full potential of a society. Turkey has, in this regard, also managed to de-securitize its foreign policy understanding, which allows us to see our neighborhood through the prism of opportunities rather than a perception of threat. As a result, we have come a long way in improving our relations with neighbors and opening up new areas of cooperation. We have also presented an example for others to seek more freedoms, which have otherwise been constrained by security considerations, and offered a reliable partner for those who are willing to proceed in this direction. The recent developments in the Middle East and North Africa both vindicate our approach and provide us with new opportunities to extend the common area of freedoms.
Secondly, the ‘zero problems with neighbors’ policy that we have adopted bears a much deeper meaning than settling our problems with each of our neighbors. It aims at the transformation of our neighborhood, where serious problems and elements of instability exist, into a friendship and cooperation basin that will serve the interests of all. In this context, we believe that our policy of zero problems with neighbors has also gained additional meaning and importance as the Middle East stands at the brink of a historical transformation. We hope that the current dynamic for reform advances in way that will meet the expectations of the people while also contributing to peace and security in the region. If this can be achieved, the spirit of cooperation that we are trying to develop on the basis of our zero problems policy will be further strengthened. We are sparing no effort toward this direction and we will continue to do so.
As to the principle of being active rather than reactive, it is obvious that Turkey today acts upon a longer-term vision, which foresees a stable and secure region within the framework of a new global order. The way Turkey has been trying to forge new and stronger mechanisms of cooperation with a vast number of countries and organizations has allowed us to be more aware of the developments in various parts of the world and take the necessary measures in advance to steer the course of events in the right direction. In fact, the reason why Turkey has been able to respond to the developments in the region much faster and more effectively than many others is because we have long established the kind of relationships with the people that will carry us to the next stage. Also, the way Turkey strives to mediate and/or facilitate the resolution of disputes in a preventive way also reflects the proactive and visionary nature of our foreign policy. Today, in a large area spanning Balkans to Southeast Asia, Turkey’s efforts are instrumental in maintaining peace and security so that we do not have to react to conflicts in their aftermath.
Finally, active Turkish foreign policy is also well reflected in the international organizations with the tasks assumed and policies pursued. Today, Turkey is an active member of many international and regional organizations ranging from the UN to the G-20 [Group of Twenty], OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] to NATO, OSCE [Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe] to ECO [Economic Cooperation Organization]. In each case we are constantly looking into ways of making these organizations more effective and lead many initiatives to this end. If I have to give one example of our renewed activism in international organizations, the UN Security Council comes to mind. Right after completing nonpermanent membership of the UN Security Council for the term 2009–2010, we have now put our candidacy for the term 2015–2016. Also, our active role within the G-20, which is now becoming the new core structure for global economic governance, is another case in point reflecting Turkey’s added value in multilateral diplomacy.
Overall, we have made great progress in operationalizing the five principles of our foreign policy. We will continue to uphold these principles and maintain our active stance in putting them into practice. This is not only a must for our own national interests, but helps create an international environment conducive to cooperation and dialogue.
CAIRO REVIEW: After remarkable economic success over the past decade—notably in attracting foreign investment and increasing trade—what are your challenges looking ahead to the next decade?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey has navigated through a serious economic crisis in the recent past, which compelled us to carry out serious economic reforms. Thanks to these reforms and the entrepreneur spirit of the Turkish private sector, today Turkey has a stronger and rapidly growing economy. In 2010 and 2011, while most European countries fought against the diverse adverse effects of the global economic crisis like recession, negative growth, unemployment, etc., Turkey recorded economic growth of 9 percent and 7.5 percent respectively. With a GDP of nearly $1 trillion, Turkey is the sixteenth biggest economy in the world and the sixth biggest in Europe. Turkey’s economic growth so far has been highly beneficial for our neighbors too, whose share in our total trade volume has increased from 8 percent to 30 percent in the last ten years. However, as European countries constitute the biggest foreign trade partner of Turkey, we see the current economic crisis in Europe as an important challenge for us too. This is why we call upon European leaders to take the necessary measures in time. In this regard, Turkey is ready to do all it can to facilitate the way out of this crisis and believes that in the long term its membership of the EU will make a great difference, enabling the EU to be a stronger global actor. Our aim is to elevate Turkey to the league of the world’s ten biggest economies by 2023, when we will celebrate the centennial anniversary of the Turkish Republic.
CAIRO REVIEW: A decade after the September 11 attacks provoked great debates about a clash of Islam and the West, what is your view about this ‘civilizational’ question?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: By mentioning the civilizational question, I presume you are referring to the “clash of civilizations” theory of Samuel Huntington. I have thoroughly reflected my observations against this theory in an article published in 1994, entitled “The Clash of Interests: An Explanation of the World (Dis) Order.”
As revealed in my article, I think Huntington’s theory is a status quo-oriented ideological formulation to justify foreign policy measures and maneuvers adopted in the post-Cold War era. While doing so, he unfairly blames non-Western civilizations for the existing crises and conflicts and absolves the Western powers of any responsibility in this regard. Unfortunately, after the September 11 terrorist attacks, Huntington’s theory has drawn even more attention and thus a distorted understanding has been further promoted which considers terrorism, radical movements, and Islam interrelated. This understanding, shaped around Islamophobia, is the main reason today for unjust reactions against Muslims, tantamount to discrimination. Over time, the presentation of the Muslim world as a potential enemy has also resulted in encouraging oppressive political tendencies in Muslim countries for the sake of preserving Western interests and thus exempting the Muslim world from enjoying the universality of democratic values.
I am not going to dwell upon the reasons behind the promotion of such civilizational clash theories, which are embedded more in political and economic considerations rather than actual social and philosophical realities. Indeed, for me the basic reason for declaring the Muslim world as a threat is the geopolitical, geo-economic, and geostrategic potentialities of the Muslim world and the need to justify the strategic and tactical operations to have control over these potentialities.
In any case, and with the advantage of hindsight, I categorically refute the clash theories as an inter-civilizational mode of relationship. I prefer and believe in the necessity of finding peaceful ways of resolving inter-civilizational differences through consolidating dialogue among civilizations and facilitating free exchanges and stressing on the common universal values rather than emphasizing the fault lines. The fact that the history of civilizations is not composed only of clashes, and there are many examples of dynamic and peaceful cooperation and interaction among civilizations, is an encouraging proof that this is an attainable goal. With this understanding, Turkey has cosponsored the Alliance of Civilizations initiative with Spain, which lately became a UN project with more than 120 members. The success of this initiative alone is another proof of our common aspirations and ideals irrespective of our cultural and religious differences.
CAIRO REVIEW: As somebody who is known as a leading theoretician of foreign policy, which global thinkers, or which countries’ foreign policies, interest you the most?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: In today’s globalized world, all countries, big or small, have a valuable contribution to make to global peace and security. So I do not make a difference between any countries as to the importance of their roles. I am more interested in how they use their potential and how they bring their added value to the fore. It is also important to create the larger framework, or a new global order that will allow countries to assume their fair share. For me, an egalitarian, participatory, and synthesizing world order is the only viable answer in overcoming the current global challenges and problems we are faced with. Therefore, these countries that are working to bring about such a new order deserve all the credit. Today, seeing a consensus emerging within the international community on the need for such a new global order makes me more hopeful for the future.
Likewise, we also need intellectuals and theorists to help form the conceptual basis of this new order. Their work will strengthen our commitment and provide an anchor with reality. It is also extremely important to have this intellectual support from all around the world rather than leaning on certain quarters. In this regard, the quality of the analysis and assessments from Asian, African, and Latin American thinkers and scholars are quite impressive. This is yet another proof of the universality of the human’s yearning for a better world. We should thus not deprive ourselves of the contributions by anyone and any country.
CAIRO REVIEW: Did you see the Arab Spring coming?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: From our point of view, it was expected; we were aware of the urgent need for change and democratic transformation in the region. As you might remember, in my book Strategic Depth (April 2001) I have underlined that the stability and political experience in the Arab states were not based on social legitimacy, and that stability was worthless. Likewise, I have also asserted that the transformation in Arab nationalism and the political legitimacy crises in the Arab world would affect the political leadership structures of those countries. As such, from the early years of the previous decade, we started emphasizing the importance of introducing political and economic reforms and upholding dignity, human rights and freedoms, as well as universal values such as the rule of law, transparency, accountability, and gender equality in the region.
CAIRO REVIEW: Broadly, what factors led to the Arab uprisings?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Protests are home-grown and naturally ignited by years-long aspiration for freedom, transparency, accountability, democracy, and social justice. A driving force for the popular movements has been the young people who were frustrated to live under pressure and restraint while suffering from economic distress. Popular discontent gained a wider sphere of influence through social networking sites, which have been utilized by the activists to organize protests all over the region.
CAIRO REVIEW: How will the Arab uprisings fundamentally change the Middle East—or not?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The process of change will take time in the region. It won’t be linear and it could undergo many seasons. But it is irreversible. It is not possible to turn back the clock, simply because the pressure for change is driven by demography. Today, around 60 percent of Arabs are under thirty. Overwhelming numbers of them are fed-up with regimes that have not even tried to give them better lives. The Arab Spring has necessitated the establishment of a fair balance between freedom and security for the development of stability as well as unity and peace. Such a need requires a social contract to eliminate the legitimacy gap between those who govern and are governed, in view of the aspiration of the peoples for freedom, justice, and democracy. This has never been easy before, and there is no reason why it should be any easier now.
The biggest challenge is to materialize the reforms in the fields of politics, economy, and security simultaneously. On the one hand, you need to set up democratic institutions and make them function; on the other, you need to produce lasting solutions to the requirements of the peoples on employment, education, food, and health. Inevitably, the next decades will witness the struggle to turn such ossified vicious circles into virtuous circles. Perhaps some will make it, some others won’t. However, those successful ones will lead the way for their less fortunate peers. The course of the popular movements will be determined by the peoples of the region. In other words, the people will set the pace and the scope of the change in the Middle East.
CAIRO REVIEW: What is your personal perspective of how the Turkish government responded to the Arab Spring, beginning with the protests in Tunisia, and later in Egypt and elsewhere?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: We have adopted a principled stance regarding the popular movements in the region. This stance is based on two pillars: to support the reforms for more transparency, legitimacy, and accountability, and to pursue them through peaceful transition. We always advocated for the regimes to carry the torch of change themselves. Since sustainable security and stability in the region is only possible through accommodating the legitimate aspirations of the people, we encouraged our regional partners to implement necessary reforms in due time to this end.
Turkey has always underlined that violence and use of force against people is unacceptable. The sovereignty, independence, territorial integrity, and political unity of each country must be preserved and respected. It is also important not to let these processes be hijacked by radicals who seek to foment sectarian, ethnic or ideological strife across the region. Turkey also notes that the scope of change and dynamics differ from one country to the other. Therefore, a ‘one size fits all’ approach cannot be applied to the countries in transition. If needed, Turkey remains ready to share her own experience with the interested countries.
CAIRO REVIEW: Do the revolts in the Arab world present a crisis for Turkey, or an opportunity?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: We would like to see a democratic, constitutional system taking root in our neighborhood so that all religions and sects can coexist in harmony and peace within a multicultural setting. This is also the only way to secure peace, security, and stability in the region. If ongoing popular movements succeed in the establishment of democratic systems, this will certainly serve the interests of Turkey. Turkey will spare no effort in supporting the processes of change and transformation in the region with its democratic culture and historical experience. However, one of the biggest challenges ahead will be to thwart the likelihood of a new form of polarization emerging in the region, as sectarian identities have sharpened in the wake of popular movements. Turkey will strive, in coordination with regional and international actors, to ensure that ongoing processes of change and transformation conclude with success.
CAIRO REVIEW: How does Turkey respond to fears of neo-Ottomanism—the prospect that your ‘strategic depth’ effectively seeks Turkish hegemony over the Arab region?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Certain circles accuse us of pursuing a neo-Ottoman agenda. These allegations are baseless. Common geography and historical relations with the region certainly dictate Turkey to follow an active policy in the face of developments in the region. Turkey simply looks for the establishment of security, peace, and stability on the basis of democracy in the region. Turkey has no hidden agenda toward the region. Our goal is working toward the creation of a belt of peace, stability, security, and wealth along its borders. The key word defining Turkey’s relations with the Arab countries is not ‘hegemony,’ but ‘mutual cooperation.’ Therefore such fears are baseless.
CAIRO REVIEW: Do you regret anything about Turkey’s bilateral relations with the former regimes in the region—Mubarak in Egypt, Assad in Syria, for example?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: History is replete with telling examples of regimes failing to survive as they lost their legitimacy in the eyes of their people. For Turkey, it is not the regimes, but the peoples that matter and it is the people that lasts, not the regimes. It is for this very reason that Turkey has consistently chosen to stand by the peoples of the region as they have charted for democracy and freedom, bringing about an Arab Spring.
CAIRO REVIEW: Does Turkey’s experience with strong military involvement in politics and government—for better or worse—contain lessons for Egypt’s transition to democracy—a ‘Turkish model’? Some observers in the West and in Israel have expressed alarm at the success of Islamic parties in Egypt’s elections—the fear of an Islamic state with a militant agenda. Do you share any of that concern?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey and Egypt are two brotherly and friendly nations, which are tied together with deep-rooted and unbreakable bonds of common history, culture, and geography. Egypt has a huge historic and cultural background. It is one of the most important civilizations in the world. It should not be forgotten that during the Ottoman times, the reform process had started in Egypt.
Promoting democratic transformation in our region for years, Turkey welcomes Egypt’s peaceful revolution and fully respects the Egyptian people’s sovereign choice. With the revolution, Egyptian people have embarked upon a historical journey that would bring greater democracy, freedom, stability, and prosperity to its future generations. We believe in Egypt’s democratic vision and we are fully confident in the Egyptian people’s ability to move forward in unity, solidarity, and determination. Democratic transition period in Egypt will have important repercussions for the entire region and Egypt’s democratic success will create an important precedent that will inspire other nations.
The progress achieved in Egypt’s democratic transformation process adds to our optimism on Egypt’s future. Egyptian people celebrated the first anniversary of the 25 January Tahrir revolution. We fully shared your joy and your pride. The conclusion of the elections for the People’s Assembly, and its inauguration on the eve of the revolution’s anniversary, represents a significant phase in this regard.
We do not underestimate the challenges ahead. We are also aware that there still remains a long way to go to complete the transitional period. There will be inevitable ups and downs. The Egyptian people have been long aspiring for a full democratic system and a better living. The process is sensitive and it’s full of difficulties. Demands and expectations are naturally very high and the time, as well as resources, are limited. The delays in realization of people’s aspirations lead to further frustration and resentment. The deadly incidents erupting in moments of high social tension remind us how fragile can be the order in society at these delicate times. In short, coping with the socioeconomic and political challenges on the one hand and advancing the transition in peace and stability on the other, is not a simple task.
Yet, we are fully confident that our Egyptian brothers will continue advancing with the understanding of compromise and dialogue and show utmost care to preserve the spirit of national unity in order to successfully conclude this historic process. We fully believe that thanks to the perseverance, resilience, and arduous efforts of the Egyptian people, Egypt will emerge from this delicate process even stronger and more prosperous than before. As displayed by the visits of President [Abdullah] Gül and Prime Minister [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan in March and September respectively, as well as by my six visits to Egypt last year, Turkey will remain in full solidarity with the Egyptian people in their journey to democracy.
Each and every country has its own unique characteristics shaped by its own unique historical and sociopolitical background. Therefore, as Turkey we do not want to present ourselves, nor to be seen, as a role model. It took years of democratic experimentation for Turkey to arrive at the current stage. Moreover, Turkish democratic experience is not merely about the evolution of civilian-military relations, but of an all-encompassing nature affecting the society across the board. I think, this aspect of the Turkish experience and its ability to prove the compatibility of democracy and secularism with a predominantly Muslim society could constitute an inspiration for the regional countries under transition, including Egypt. If needed, Turkey remains ready to share her own democratic experience with all interested countries.
We are now beyond such outdated prejudices and concerns against political parties with Islamic references. Starting with the free and fair elections in Palestine in 2006, we have always advocated that the democratically elected political entities should be allowed to assume and execute their governmental functions. Only through practice can democracies mature. However, the international community failed to recognize this fact in the Palestinian example and this failure continues to adversely affect the Palestinian body politic, with negative repercussions on the peace process. Therefore, in the context of the Arab Spring in general, and in the Egyptian case in particular, the international community should not repeat the same mistake.
On the other hand, ascendancy to power through democratic elections comes with responsibilities, as well as with authority to rule. These responsibilities include ensuring the rule of law, good governance, accountability, transparency, and upholding of fundamental rights and freedoms, including the protection of women’s rights and rights of the minorities. In the final analysis, in democracies what matters is the free will of the peoples. Of course, full democratization is a long and arduous process that is about institutions, as much as about free and fair elections.
CAIRO REVIEW: How has Turkish foreign policy assessed and dealt with the evolving political crisis in Syria?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: For us, Syria is not just a neighboring country. We have a common history, we share a very long land border and we are destined to live next to each other. Our societies are interwoven through the ties of kinship. This is why we could not remain indifferent to the developments taking place right on the other side of our 910-kilometer-long border.
Determined to extend a helping hand to the people in Syria, we have approached the Syrian leadership even before the outbreak of the current popular movement. We explicitly warned the Syrian leadership that Syria could be the next step of the Arab Spring unless the leadership took on board the very basic demand of its citizens for a life in dignity. We offered to share our experience and expertise in the field of democratization that could inspire the Syrian leadership to take difficult yet necessary steps for accommodating the legitimate demands of the Syrian people.
I have visited Syria sixty-two times in total since I have taken the post of special advisor to the prime minister. Just to remind the Syrian administration about the necessity of reforms, I have visited and met with President [Bashar] Assad three times. We have even presented a road map for reform in Syria in every walk of life. However, promises given to us for reform were not upheld. Despite relentless efforts by the Turkish government, the Syrian leadership chose to confront its own citizens by engaging in a dead-end policy based on the brutal repression of street protests.
The developments in Syria continue to be one of the major concerns of the international community in view of the mounting death toll in the country. The stage that has been reached in Syria poses a threat to the international peace and security. Now that it seems unlikely to see an action by the UN Security Council, the international community should reassess its options according to the new conditions in place.
Being a neighboring country to be first affected by the developments in Syria, Turkey will sustain its efforts in cooperation with regional and international actors in order to end the bloodshed and to pave the ground for a political transformation process in the country. As Turkey, we tried everything first at the bilateral level, then in coordination with the Arab League, and lastly at the UN Security Council in order to resolve the crisis in this country. We now need to work for an international platform on Syria, originating from the region and with broad participation of all related members of the international community. We hope that the Tunis meeting [of the “Friends of Syria” group of nations] on 24 February enabled the international community to send the long-overdue messages to the Syrian regime and to alleviate the sufferings of the Syrian people.
CAIRO REVIEW: How do you estimate President Assad, and his role in the crisis and the solution?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The developments in Syria have gained a tragic dimension due to the uncompromising attitude of the Syrian regime. The Syrian regime has not only disregarded the outcries of its own people, but also lent a deaf ear to international calls for abandoning violence and use of force against protestors. Against this background, President Assad and his close entourage have the primary responsibility for the current crisis, which, unfortunately, ravages the country in front of our eyes. It is again in the hands of President Assad to end the bloodshed and to initiate a peaceful transformation process in the country through full implementation of the Arab League’s initiative and roadmap.
CAIRO REVIEW: What is the most effective way for outsiders—whether it is Turkey, Arab states, or a combination of international action—to address a crisis like the one in Syria?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The most effective way of dealing with the crisis in Syria is the adoption of a unified position by the international community as a whole. It will be only then that the Assad regime will finally comprehend that persisting in its current policies will only lead to more bloodshed and nothing else. Sharing a 910-kilometer-long border with Syria, Turkey will continue to be at the center of the efforts in order to address the crisis in this country. As a regional organization, the Arab League has a pivotal role in steering the efforts of the international community. The recipe for ending the crisis should ideally originate from the region and be implemented with the support of the international community.
CAIRO REVIEW: Does the instability in Syria pose a threat to Turkish security—as a border state with potential refugees fleeing violence, or as a country with a Kurdish region?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The worsening situation in Syria has gained a potential to pose a threat not only to regional but also to international security and stability. In addition to close and deep-rooted historical and cultural ties between the peoples of Turkey and Syria, Turkey shares its longest land border with Syria. It is hard to imagine a neighboring Turkey immune to the likely negative effects of the developments in Syria. All relevant Turkish authorities watch vigilantly the situation on the ground in this country and are ready to take necessary measures against possible sources of instability originating from Syria, including a mass influx of refugees.
CAIRO REVIEW: Would you agree with analysts who speculate that Turkey’s relations with Israel will never return to the high point where they have been in the past? Has Turkish policy toward Israel become ‘emotional’—considering Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ‘walkout’ at Davos, and the anger over the ‘Flotilla incident’?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Certain positive developments in the Middle East peace process also had their reflections on Turkey’s relations with Israel. After the Madrid Peace Conference and the Oslo Peace Accords, Turkey upgraded its ties with Israel in the early 1990s; over the years, Turkey and Israel established better relations so that this relationship could serve the Middle East peace process. However, Israel’s acts and policies jeopardizing peace and stability in the region have had negative repercussions on our bilateral relations. The Suez Canal crisis of 1956, Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem in 1980, and Israel’s brutal military attacks on the occupied Palestinian territories, particularly the ‘Operation Cast Lead’ in December 2008, were among them.
The Israeli attack against the international humanitarian aid convoy on the high seas on 31 May 2010, which resulted in the killing of nine innocent civilians and the injury of many others from a host of nationalities, inevitably led to the deterioration of our relations. The attack constituted a clear breach of international law. Israel has drawn severe condemnation not only from Turkey, but also from the entire international community.
This brutal attack left an indelible mark in the hearts and minds of the Turkish people. The crime committed by Israel is not a simple offense. Israel has not only violated the international law, but also the right to life, the most fundamental human value, of innocent civilians, once again. Yet, we have acted responsibly and with prudence during the last twenty-one months. Our expectations were both judicious and realistic. Despite this fact, and contrary to the common practice in international relations, Israel failed to meet Turkey’s legitimate demands for a public apology, compensation, and an end to the blockade of Gaza, until now. No country can turn a blind eye to the killing of its citizens by foreign forces on the high seas and the subsequent maltreatment of other passengers.
Turkey’s demands are clear. Israel needs to apologize and pay compensation. The unlawful blockade on Gaza must also be lifted. The Israeli government must make a choice. Israel needs to see that it will only be possible to ensure real security by building a real peace. We hope that Israel would see the big picture and what serves best its own interests. Normalization of our relations will depend on the steps to be taken by Israel.
CAIRO REVIEW: You personally were involved in a significant Turkish initiative to mediate a peace agreement between Israel and Syria—and by some accounts it nearly succeeded. Can you provide us with insights into your mediation mission, and what happened to it? What are the prospects for an Israeli–Palestinian agreement?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The Israeli–Palestinian conflict is the core issue in the Middle East. Fundamental changes taking place in our region in the recent period have made the need for the settlement of this dispute more important than ever. Turkey supports the two-state solution that would lead to the establishment of an independent, sovereign, and viable Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live in peace and security with the state of Israel.
We welcome and support all efforts for the resumption of the negotiations between the two parties. However, meaningful negotiations can take place only on an equal footing. Israelis have been enjoying their statehood since 1948, whereas the Palestinians have been denied such an inherent right for years. The steps taken by Palestinians in order to achieve full international recognition by the UN could remove such a lopsided approach from the agenda for good. It is now high time to address this imbalance. Israel must have a counterpart on an equal footing in every sense. Palestinians must have their recognized state.
Evidently, the primary obstacle in front of the peace efforts remains to be the Israeli government’s continued intransigence on the Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing settlement activities of Israel in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Settlements are not only contrary to international law and the Road Map commitments but also endanger the vision of a two-state solution. If the peace process is to be truly revitalized and concluded successfully, Israel should seriously commit itself to respecting the existing final status parameters, particularly on the 1967 borders.
Turkey strongly believes that the Middle East peace process should be advanced in all three tracks, namely the Israeli–Palestinian, Israeli–Syrian, and Israeli–Lebanese tracks. With this understanding, Turkey mediated between Israel and Syria in the past. As both parties were about to launch direct negotiations, the process was disrupted by the Israeli attack against the Gaza Strip. We strongly hope that this track as well would be revived as soon as possible once the conditions in the region normalize.
CAIRO REVIEW: You were also involved in the Tehran Declaration—an effort by Turkey and Brazil to mediate a solution to the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program. Was it a success or a failure?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: I wouldn’t describe the Tehran Joint Declaration as a matter of success or failure. It was rather a missed opportunity on the part of the international community in achieving a breakthrough in the longstanding diplomatic rift with Iran. The Tehran Joint Declaration proved that a genuine diplomatic engagement with Iran could yield results. If the proposal contained in the Declaration could have been implemented, it could have been the catalyst to a constructive diplomatic process addressing the broader issue of the Iranian nuclear program. In our view, confidence-building measures are still achievable if they are put into the right context. The Tehran Joint Declaration sets a successful example for future efforts.
CAIRO REVIEW: Western countries led by the United States have expressed strong suspicions that Iran is determined to become a nuclear weapon power. What do you think?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The problem is first and foremost that of a confidence crisis. Lack of confidence on the part of the international community in the exclusively peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program, and the security perceptions of Iran for its own part, create a big psychological barrier between the parties. Overcoming these barriers can only be possible through serious and targeted negotiations that would address the concerns and expectations of both sides.
CAIRO REVIEW: Is Iran on a collision course with the West, with no real diplomatic way out?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Based on previous experiences, Iran might have its own reasons to question the consistency of the principles and standards of its Western counterparts. Yet finding a peaceful solution to the Iranian nuclear issue is in the interest of all parties. Given the impact of the psychological factor and the crisis of confidence among the parties, however, the process will not be easy. Patient but perseverant diplomacy will be needed to achieve the desired outcome. Only through a gradual process, including exploratory talks on a set of parallel actions aimed at overcoming the present impasse, will it be possible to arrive at a mutually satisfactory settlement of the outstanding issues.
CAIRO REVIEW: How would Turkey view an Israeli military attack on Iran to disrupt Iran’s nuclear project?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey is against any kind of military strike against Iran. The military option does not represent a solution to the challenges posed by the Iranian nuclear activities. Any military action would, on the contrary, create more problems than it would solve— particularly in terms of its unavoidable negative implications on regional and global peace, security, and stability. Determined efforts toward a peaceful solution through dialogue and cooperation, therefore, do not have any viable alternative. Negotiation remains the only way forward.
CAIRO REVIEW: Turkey was strongly skeptical of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. How do you evaluate the results nearly a decade later, and the impact of the transformation of Iraq on Turkish interests—including the Kurdish issue?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Let me begin by sharing with you the main contours of Turkey’s policy toward Iraq. Turkey wishes to see a stable, secure, democratic, and prosperous Iraq at peace with its own people and its neighbors. We have strong cultural and historical links with Iraq and we attach importance to being in close relations with all segments of the Iraqi society.
We all had misgivings about the war in Iraq since we knew that the war would first and foremost affect Turkey as a neighboring country. Turkey suffered from the war and the ensuing instability in Iraq in various ways. Instability and the power vacuum turned northern Iraq into a safe haven for PKK [Kurdistan Workers’ Party] terrorists that use this region as a base to plan and execute attacks against Turkey. Our economic and commercial interests were also seriously hampered. The PKK terrorist organization does not constitute a threat only to the security and stability of Turkey, but also to those of our neighbors including Iraq.
In recent years Turkey has significantly improved its relations with the Kurdish region in northern Iraq. Turkish businessmen, contractors, and workers have made crucial contributions to the prosperity and welfare in northern Iraq. Our expectation from Iraq—including the regional authorities in northern Iraq—is to take decisive and result-oriented measures to eradicate the presence and activities of the PKK terrorist organization therein.
The withdrawal of the U.S. forces from Iraq in December 2011 has presented the Iraqi leaders with the opportunity to prove to themselves and to the international community that they can work together to build a stable, democratic, and prosperous Iraq. However, in the wake of the U.S. troop withdrawal, Iraq has been once again plagued by political instability. We are concerned that the ongoing political crisis may lead to the recurrence of sectarian violence in the country. We therefore call on all Iraqi leaders to resolve their difficulties through compromise and negotiations with a view to finding mutually acceptable solutions to the existing political problems.
CAIRO REVIEW: What are Turkey’s interests in Central Asia, and what are the obstacles to improving relations with the nations of this region?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Central Asia lies at the heart of Eurasia with its ample opportunities and challenges. Since gaining their independence in 1991, the countries in the region have taken significant steps in enhancing their sovereignty, consolidating their statehood as well as elevating the level of integration with the world.
Sharing common cultural, historical, and linguistic ties, Turkey is the first country to recognize the independence of these countries. Our primary objectives toward these countries are to support the efforts for a working democracy and free market economy; to promote the political and economic reform process; to advance political and economic stability and prosperity in the region; to contribute to the emergence of an environment conducive to regional cooperation; to support their vocation toward Euro-Atlantic institutions, and to assist them to benefit from their own energy resources. The Cooperation Council of Turkic-Speaking States (CCTS) was established in 2009 as a new international intergovernmental organization, with the overarching aim of promoting comprehensive cooperation among Turkic-speaking states.
In the last few months, we have witnessed two important developments in the region. First, Kyrgyzstan has made an important progress on the way to parliamentary democracy. It is the first time that a peaceful power handover took place in Central Asia. Turkey will continue to support Kyrgyzstan’s aspirations for building a full-fledged democracy. Second, Kazakhstan is also moving in the right direction toward a multiparty democratic system. We boldly encourage these efforts to yield concrete democratic results. We welcome and support these transformational efforts and developments in the region catering for the needs and aspirations of peoples.
CAIRO REVIEW: After its initial electoral success a decade ago, the AKP government seemed to be on a good track for European Union membership, yet some observers see the process at a standstill now. What happened?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey’s accession negotiations started in 2005 and continue. Their goal is membership on the basis of the EU’s unanimously taken decisions. Despite some negative tendencies, the EU expresses that it is committed to carry forward the enlargement process which also includes Turkey. The 2011 Enlargement Strategy Document published by the European Commission last October stresses that “Turkey’s contribution to the EU in a number of crucial areas will only be fully effective with an active and credible accession process.”
Except for a number of member states that oppose our accession negotiations for domestic political considerations, EU countries in general state that they support Turkey’s accession process. They are aware of the added value that Turkey would bring to the Union. The Strategy Document that I have mentioned underlines that Turkey is a key country for the security and prosperity of the EU, with its dynamic economy, important regional role, and its contribution to EU’s foreign policy and energy security. As a factor of stability in its region, Turkey’s membership of the EU would not only amplify the global political, economic, and sociocultural power of the Union, but would also contribute to regional and global peace and stability, the dissemination of universal values to a wider geography, and the dialogue among cultures.
Accession to the EU is our strategic goal. I consider EU membership as an integral part of Turkey’s historical efforts for further modernization and transformation. On the other hand, it is true that in spite of our tireless efforts to make further progress in the negotiations, the process is confronted with difficulties as a result of politically motivated obstacles created by some EU members. Nevertheless, we are committed to carry forward this process and our reform agenda, which is now in an irreversible course. By doing so, we aim to provide our people with the highest norms and standards in every field of their daily lives. As a matter of fact, we have already made huge strides to that end in recent years through comprehensive reforms. We will continue reform since it is first and foremost for the good of the Turkish people. The new, progressive, and comprehensive constitution which will be drafted through a broad consultation with all relevant stakeholders will constitute an important step in this respect.
CAIRO REVIEW: What concrete steps do you envision taking to move forward in closing chapters in your accession negotiations with the EU?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Since the beginning of the negotiation process, out of thirty-three chapters, thirteen chapters were opened. These chapters cover different sectors; from agriculture, fisheries, energy, and taxation to science and research, education and culture, and environment. The accession process has never been easy for any country. Unfortunately, we are facing politically motivated obstacles which undermine the technical nature of the negotiations and in fact, are against the principle pacta sunt servanda [agreements must be kept]. Despite the hurdles, Turkey is determined to carry forward the process. Turkey has adopted and started implementing a national program with a comprehensive road map to ensure a society based on high democratic and legal norms. The program foresees a great number of legislative changes in order to harmonize our legislation with the EU’s. All our relevant ministries and institutions continue to work on the negotiation chapters, blocked or not, in line with the National Program, in order to be ready to open and close all chapters as soon as the political blockages are lifted.
CAIRO REVIEW: Has the prospect of a more democratic Middle East caused Turkey to rethink its geopolitical position concerning its future alignment with Europe?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey, a candidate for accession to the EU, is a European, Mediterranean, Balkan, Caucasian, and Middle Eastern country all at the same time. All these regions harbor challenges, but also opportunities for their people. Turkey’s proactive, multidimensional, and result-oriented foreign policy aims at contributing to the strengthening of peace, stability, and prosperity in all these regions. This is in our interest. It is also in the interest of the EU. The global international environment is rapidly changing. Transformation is now the key word. The Arab Spring has, and will continue to have, an immense impact on the international system. Political transition reflecting the legitimate aspirations of the people is leading to a future based on free and democratic foundations. During this turbulent period in the Arab world, [given] our geopolitical position, as both a part of this very region and as an EU candidate country, Turkey will continue to strive to foster dialogue and peaceful settlement of disputes in the region with solution-oriented approaches, to the benefit of all peoples of the region.
CAIRO REVIEW: Is Turkey serious about resolving the Cyprus problem?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Let me state this very clearly: as Turkey, we want a negotiated and mutually agreed political settlement in Cyprus, and we fully support the efforts of the Turkish Cypriots and the UN secretary-general to this end. The question you should be asking is: are the Greek Cypriots serious about resolving the Cyprus problem? Unfortunately their track record indicates that they are not.
The ongoing comprehensive negotiation process on the island was initiated in 2008 under the auspices of the UN, and within this framework the leaders have met more than 140 times to date. So far, progress in the process has largely been achieved thanks to comprehensive and constructive proposals of the Turkish Cypriots, which were also appreciated by the UN. Most recently, the fifth tripartite meeting of the leaders with the UN secretary-general was held in Greentree, New York, on 23–24 January. The international community had high expectations from these talks. As the Turkish side, we had been hoping that the Greentree meeting would usher in the high-level meeting with the participation of the two sides and the three guarantors, namely Turkey, Greece, and the United Kingdom, which would address all remaining issues that couldn’t be agreed upon by the two sides in order to seal the settlement through a grand bargain. Regrettably, this has not been possible due to the Greek Cypriot side’s stubborn intransigence. In Greentree the Greek Cypriots sidestepped genuine talks in order to avoid a decision for a high-level meeting, and a very important opportunity was missed.
Now, with the approaching Greek Cypriot EU presidency in the second half of 2012, the window of opportunity narrowed considerably. Despite this, the Turkish Cypriot side will continue its determined efforts and we will continue to fully support them. There is still some hope: if the assessment of the process to be provided by the secretary-general’s special adviser Mr. [Alexander] Downer in March is positive, the secretary-general intends to call a high-level meeting in late April or early May. This could finally produce a settlement agreement, enabling the new partnership to be established in Cyprus to assume the EU presidency on 1 July. But these hopes will be meaningless if the Greek Cypriot side does not negotiate sincerely. The Greek Cypriots must first decide whether or not they truly want a partnership and a common future with the Turkish Cypriots. The Turkish Cypriots proved back in 2004, in the Annan Plan referenda, that they are on the side of a settlement. It is the Greek Cypriots who must now also display the necessary political will. The secretary-general, in his report in 2004, clearly stated that if the Greek Cypriots remain willing to resolve the Cyprus problem, this needs to be demonstrated.
Without a political solution, the Cyprus issue also harbors a potential risk for trust, stability, and cooperation in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The unilateral start of offshore drilling activities by the Greek Cypriot side last September and the developments which ensued after this provocative move have demonstrated the risks which the continuation of the Cyprus issue carries both on a regional and, partly, on a global scale. These unilateral activities of the Greek Cypriot side have also compromised and prejudged the Turkish Cypriots’ inherent and legitimate equal rights over the natural resources of the island. Mr. [Dervis] Eroğlu, president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), put forth a constructive proposal for a fair sharing of the island’s natural resources and for using these resources to finance the settlement, but this proposal was returned by the Greek Cypriots without any comment. This crisis clearly demonstrates the necessity for a political settlement in Cyprus. On the other hand, Turkey and the TRNC will implement, by 2014, a pipeline project which involves bringing 75 million cubic meters of drinking water to northern Cyprus. This amount can be increased tenfold, and that would be equal to double the water need of the entire island. As Turkey, we would like the whole of the island to benefit from this project. This new water source could, like the hydrocarbon resources, be utilized as an incentive for the successful conclusion of the ongoing negotiations with a comprehensive solution. Thus a mutually agreed settlement in Cyprus would enable not only the two sides on the island but also the entire region to benefit from the increase in prosperity made possible through the peaceful use of these new natural resources.
The Turkish side is sincerely committed to the goal of a mutually agreed political settlement in Cyprus. A just and lasting settlement of the Cyprus problem will not only be in the interests of the two sides on the island but also the EU and all concerned parties including Turkey, as well as contributing to peace, cooperation, and stability in the eastern Mediterranean and the wider region.
CAIRO REVIEW: The Armenia question has also been a problem in Turkey’s foreign relations. Ankara has warned the French president about signing a law criminalizing denial of ‘Armenian genocide’—are you making progress on this issue, or are things actually getting worse?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Two separate appeals were lodged with the French Constitutional Council: to annul on the grounds of unconstitutionality the draft law “to penalize the denial of the genocides recognized by law in France.” The signatories of these appeals are either French deputies or senators. The Constitutional Council of France annulled the draft law on February 28. We consider the annulment as a step in line with freedom of expression and research, the rule of law, and the principles of international law, and against the politicization of history in France. We are glad to note that a grave error was corrected by the most competent judicial authority in France. Turks and Armenians have differing interpretations over the tragic part of their long common history, where all sides suffered. We would like to resolve these differences and diverging interpretations with Armenia through dialogue and based on impartial scholarly studies. Our aim is to reach a just memory. Trying to score points in third countries is not the way to deal with this issue. Third countries should play a constructive role in this process rather than take exclusivist, one-sided positions.
CAIRO REVIEW: How do you see Turkey’s role in NATO going forward?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey is a member of NATO since 1952 and we are celebrating the sixtieth anniversary of this membership this year. The international system has changed since 1952, as well as Turkey and the Alliance, but NATO is still the cornerstone of our defense and security policy. NATO, as a unique forum for Euro–Atlantic security, provides Turkey an opportunity to put forward her views and expectations regarding international security issues and to have a strong impact on transatlantic initiatives. Turkey’s membership of NATO is also an integral part of her global identity. Turkey proceeds to take part in missions and operations on collective defense and crisis management within NATO. Turkey mobilizes its ‘soft power’ by means of using its deep historical ties with populations and countries in the wide geography where NATO acts. In view of the fact that the security and stability of the Euro–Atlantic area and the Middle East are closely linked to each other, Turkey takes the lead in the development of NATO’s relations with the countries in the Middle East through partnership mechanisms like Mediterranean Dialogue and the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative (ICI). We shall continue to add value to NATO’s outreach in the future. As such, NATO maintains its relevance to respond to the risks and challenges of the new strategic environment.
CAIRO REVIEW: As historical competitors with centuries of rivalry, are Russia and Turkey establishing a fundamentally healthier partnership in the new global order—perhaps through the mutual benefits of natural gas cooperation?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: We have intense relations with Russia, which go back over six centuries at a time when both countries were multiethnic empires. St. Petersburg was among the first capitals where the Ottoman Empire sent a resident ambassador. Rivalry between the two neighboring empires transformed into a cooperative nature in the aftermath of the First World War. This cooperation has continued—especially in the economic sphere—even during the Cold War.
Our relations with Russia have evolved and developed rapidly since the beginning of the 1990s. Turkish–Russian relations constitute an integral component of Turkey’s multidimensional foreign policy. We maintain a sincere and open dialogue with Russia in order to preserve and strengthen the atmosphere of mutual trust and to further our cooperation to the mutual benefit of both sides.
Economic cooperation constitutes the driving force behind Turkish–Russian relations. Our trade volume reached $26.9 billion as of November 2011 and is on the rise. The leaders of both countries have set the target of a bilateral trade volume of $100 billion by the end of 2015. The volume of Turkish investments in Russia has surpassed $7 billion. Turkish companies are active in a large spectrum of areas, from food to construction to textile sectors. Our construction companies have undertaken 1,191 projects so far, worth $32 billion. The volume of Russian investments in Turkey has also reached $7 billion. We are pleased that our country continued to be the most preferred country by Russian tourists also in 2011. Last year, 3.6 million Russian tourists visited Turkey. The visa exemption agreement entered into force on 17 April 2011. We believe that the implementation of this agreement will contribute to our cooperation in the fields of trade, economy, transportation, and tourism.
Our cooperation in the energy field adds a strategic dimension to our relations. Russia is the biggest natural gas supplier of Turkey through two pipelines. While economic relations are the driving force, high-level dialogue provides for the strategic orientation of our bilateral relations. The High-Level Cooperation Council that we established in May 2010 during the official visit of President [Dmitry] Medvedev to Turkey opened a new chapter in our relations. We held the second meeting during the visit of our prime minister to Russia on 15–17 March 2011 in Moscow. This visit coincided with the ninetieth anniversary of the conclusion of the Moscow Agreement, which is the basis for our relations in the modern era. We are planning to hold the third meeting of the Council this year.
CAIRO REVIEW: Are you satisfied with Turkish–Russian cooperation in addressing regional challenges, such as the crisis Syria, the Arab uprisings generally, Iran’s nuclear program, the Caucasus, Central Asia, etc.?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: We believe that a stable, market-oriented, democratic, and peaceful Russia will certainly be an asset for regional peace and stability as well as for the European security architecture. We see Russia as one of our important partners and a significant actor regionally and globally. We think that a sincere and open dialogue with Russia would help transform our region in a positive direction. Russia’s contribution to the settlement of the frozen conflicts in the Caucasus and Eastern Europe is necessary. Likewise, it is expected by many that Russia would play a constructive role in the Syria crisis. This was one of our main themes when I visited Russia in January.
CAIRO REVIEW: President Gül has spoken of a ‘golden age’ of relations with Washington. Ties were not so good after the AKP came to office a decade ago? What happened?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey and the U.S. currently enjoy an advanced level of cooperation. President Obama paid his first bilateral overseas visit to Turkey soon after becoming president. However, we do not always pursue identical approaches on international issues. As Turkey has traditionally strong ties with its neighborhood and beyond, sometimes there may be nuances in Turkey’s approach on issues taking place in our region. Turkey’s geography necessitates a multidimensional foreign policy. Therefore, we have many issues concerning Turkey and the U.S. Turkey is ready to work with every country that embraces the goals of peace, stability, and economic development. It is not possible to accept the assumption that “ties were not so good after this government came to office a decade ago.” There is always speculation following a change in governments in all countries. Turkey’s decisive journey, encompassing comprehensive democratic and political reforms and brilliant economic performance in the last decade or so, is self-explanatory to dispel such groundless assumptions.
CAIRO REVIEW: Would you describe the relationship between Prime Minister Erdoğan and President Obama, which seems to be quite good and important to Turkish–U.S. relations?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: The developments in our region and beyond necessitate close consultation and coordination with our allies and partners. It is with this understanding that Prime Minister Erdoğan holds regular consultations with President Obama on international issues of common concern. You may also recall that President Obama recently named Prime Minister Erdoğan as one of five world leaders with whom he enjoys the most effective working relations.
CAIRO REVIEW: How do you evaluate American policy during the Obama administration—with regard to Turkey’s interests, to the Middle East region, and to global security as a whole?
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU: Turkey welcomes the U.S. foreign policy, which promotes multilateralism and seeks broader international support within the framework of the UNSC [UN Security Council] for the peaceful settlement of international disputes. We believe in the ultimate success of principled foreign policy that is governed by the rule of law and international law. The unfolding set of events in the Middle East and North Africa highlight the indispensable feature of those principles. The calls for democratic, accountable, and sound governments in the region are equally important. I would also like to point out that the legitimate expectations of the people, regardless of wherever they emanate from, should not fall on deaf ears.
29.11.2010. Address to the THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
THE BROOKINGS INSTITUTION
PERSPECTIVES ON TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY
AN ADDRESS BY H.E. AHMET DAVUTOĞLU, MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF TURKEY
Washington, D.C. Monday, November 29, 2010
Welcome and Moderator:
Nonresident Senior Fellow
The Brookings Institution
Vice President and Director, Foreign Policy
The Brookings Institution
H.E. AHMET DAVUTOĞLU
Foreign Minister of the Republic of Turkey
* * * * *
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P R O C E E D I N G S
MR. INDYK: Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Brookings Institution. I am Martin Indyk, the director of the Foreign Policy Program at Brookings.
We are greatly honored today to have the opportunity to host Dr. Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Foreign Minister of Turkey, for a statesmen’s forum here this evening under the auspices of the Center for the United States and Europe. I think that the foreign minister is very well known to all of you. In fact, he has established a reputation around the world now as a global thinker No. 7 with a bullet, as we say now, on the foreign policy list of a hundred -- the leading thinkers in foreign policy. Just the most recent example of the kind of swath that he is cutting on the world stage for Turkey as it emerges as a power with influence both in its region and beyond its region.
So, we’re very honored to have you here this evening to address us.
Dr. Davutoğlu has a distinguished academic career at a variety of Turkish universities. He worked most recently at Beykent University in Istanbul before becoming, after the November 2002 elections, chief advisor to Prime Minister Erdoğan and the ambassador-at-large for the government of the Republic of Turkey. On May 1, 2009, he was appointed as Minister of Foreign Affairs to the 60th Government of the Republic of Turkey.
After Dr. Davutoğlu speaks to you this evening, he will join in a conversation with Ömer Taşpinar. Ömer is a senior fellow in the Center for U.S. and Europe focusing on Turkish affairs and a professor of National Security Strategy at the U.S. National War College and director of our Turkey project here at the Center for the U.S. and Europe. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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So, Mr. Minister, thank you very much for joining us, and the podium is yours.
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Thank you very much, Martin, for this excellent introduction.
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it is a great honor for me to be here at Brookings Institute. Again it became like a tradition. I give several speeches. I had chance to attend many meetings in this very esteemed institution, and it’s always great pleasure, and whenever I meet with the esteemed audience in this institution I always learn something new. I hope today I will have this chance again.
The topic is Turkish Foreign Policy. But are you not focused on foreign policy only, because -- let me start with a methodological critic. When we speak on foreign policy, usually we may do two methodological mistakes. One is we may -- if we only concentrate on foreign policy, ignoring other elements -- like domestic politics, like economics, like cultural developments -- you may not understand what is going on in foreign policy. So, you cannot isolate foreign policy from the general transformation of a society. This is about the content of foreign policy. Therefore, I will try to present Turkish foreign policy within such a context of transformation rather than just focusing on certain detailed individual cases and issues.
Secondly, if this is about the substance, about the time framework -- if you just concentrate on only one year, one incident, one month, or even one decade and try to understand the transformation of a foreign policy paradigm, you may do another mistake. Unfortunate today, when I read some of the articles published in Washington, in Brussels, or sometimes, you know, in the Middle East, about Turkish foreign policy, I realize that these two methodological mistakes. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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For example, some might say the foreign policy paradigm of the poor Islamic AK party government, even itself, gives an impression that it is just a foreign policy choice of one group based on some ideology or a foreign policy based on new Ottomanism.
For those who do not know anything on Ottoman history, they may think that Turkey is trying to revive Ottoman state, and this literature now emerging does not reflect the picture.
In my book, when I wrote Strategic Depth, in the introduction I made a methodological analysis, and I said the most dangerous methodological mistake of foreign policy analysis is picture analysis. You have a picture in your mind and you develop a theory based on your picture in your mind -- just one picture -- while the correct methodological approach in foreign policy analysis is process analysis, not picture analysis.
If you want to have a healthy or a comprehensive analysis, you will need to have several pictures, in your mind -- several. It will be as comprehensive as possible if you have many pictures from different time frame in your mind and try to understand the process how this foreign policy has been transformed. Turkish nation has an old history, but I will not go back to 1,000 year ago. I will make an analysis of 200 years of Turkish transformation, transformation of modernization, and I promise to do this in half an hour, not more than that, so you can see my difficulty.
I can see what we are having today is a restoration. This concept is important. Restoration, not paradigm shift. Not revolution, but a restoration of Turkish society, economics, politics, and foreign policy. And I can mention four important restorations -- three important restorations in the past and this, the fourth restoration, in ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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our modern history.
The first -- and I will make some analogies with the American restoration in my presentation as well.
The first big restoration is a response to the challenges of industrial revolution and colonialism, which are two bones -- back bones -- of the rise of European hegemony, European order. The first restoration occurred in the beginning of the 19th century in Ottoman society, which was Tanzimat -- which was called Tanzimat. It was such a restoration that Turkish politics has been reformed, and many people do not know, and they may think that Turkish democracy -- at least not multi-party democrats but participation, politics, elections -- is something of a new phenomenon in Turkey. In Turkey, elections in local administration go back to the early decades of 19th century. 1820s, ’30s we started to have elections in local administration.
And there was a constitutional monarchy, and the first Turkish constitution was adopted in 1876. And the transformation of the society was -- especially important transformation was to include non-Muslim population of Ottoman state to the system as citizens, not in the modern sense, but equal to Muslims. Therefore, we had several reforms. And the foreign policy orientation was Europeanization of Turkish foreign policy as a reflection to the balance of power in Europe.
The purpose of this restoration was -- after the congress of Vienna, we became part of the European system -- the purpose of this restoration was to defend Ottoman state and to prevent the decline of Ottoman state. This is purely an academic approach, which I don’t want to give an impression -- don’t give an impression that I am talking on new Ottomanism and trying to be wise, but this is the background.
And the first time we had a multi-party election in 1912 -- real multi-party ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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election. Not in 1950s -- 1912, 1911. We had many parties, political parties, throughout the Ottoman territories, not only in Anatolia and Istanbul, but in Balkans, in Iraq, or in Lebanon.
The second big restoration was the establishment of Turkish Republic. It was parallel to the developments in Europe, the end of the traditional imperial structures in Europe and Turkey after the War of Liberation -- First World War and War of Liberation. We had another restoration. A new system did emerge: Republic of Turkey, republicanism. And a new concept of citizen emerged.
Because of the migrations from Balkans, from Caucasia, from Middle East, from Yemen, a new nation even emerged, and this concept of nation comprised not only ethnically Turkish people but Bosniaks from -- Albanians, Bosniaks from Balkans, Chechens, Abkhazians, Georgians, Azeris from Caucasia, Kurds, some Arabs from the Middle East. This second restoration had its own economic dimension, national economy. This is the second restoration.
The third restoration was after the second world war. The international environment had changed and Turkey responded with a new restoration, multi-party democracy, free-market economy, and membership to NATO. What we can call is security-oriented democratization in Turkey.
The first incentive was security, because there was a threat from Soviet Union, and we tried to protect military integrity of Turkey. And Turkey became member of NATO, had a strong strategic alliance with the United States and other members of Europe, and we had a huge transformation of economics from the villages to the cities -- a new democratic wave that was economic, political transformation -- and the new North Atlantic -- Transatlantic Alliance, which emerged. We became part of it. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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The fourth restoration was needed after the collapse of the Gulf War. In fact, what we have today was supposed to be done in 1990s. And economic reformation was ended in 1990s. And political democratization was needed, and new foreign policy orientation was needed. We were not able to do it, because of basically coalition governments, political instability, economic crisis -- Mr. Derviş knows it very well by his own practice -- and terrorist activities.
Now, just keep this in mind, and I will make a short comparison with the American restoration. Turkish restoration in the 19th century was parallel to the American restoration after the Civil War, the consolidation of United States.
Turkish restoration during the Republican Era was parallel to the Wilsonian principles and the emergence of United States as a new global power. But not bi-polar yet. But the Wilsonian principles, which let power to the establishment of Turkish Republic -- before Turkish Republic -- was in fact the emergence of the new American consolidation restoration.
Mahan strategy, geopolitical strategy, and all this -- when you look at it -- the United States started to become not a continental power but a player in the global scene. And Turkish third restoration was parallel to the formation of the bipolar international structure, and the United States was the leader of one pole. Therefore, these restorations were parallel to each other and, in fact, after end of Cold War, both United States and us -- we needed a new restoration, and therefore we are still in this process.
United States is a global power of course. That redefinition of the foreign policy during Clinton administration afterwards 9-11 and many other. Still, this search is continuing. But in our sense, we are living in the center of Afro-Eurasia, and we need to ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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have a new restoration.
What did we try to do in eight years with this process analysis during AK party governments?
First, we wanted to consolidate our democracy as this time not security-oriented democracy but freedom-oriented democracy. After every military intervention during the Cold War, the new military regime are saying we are loyal to NATO, and we will restore democracy. These two things work together. This time, of course, we are strong member of NATO, but we want our democracy -- freedom-oriented democracy. Therefore, we have reference to European Union parallel to NATO, because European Union reforms are the only guarantees to have more democracy, more freedom, more liberty, more open society.
The second aspect of this restoration is economic development. In last eight years, Turkey had an economic change. In 2001, when we had economic crisis, Turkish economy became 26th biggest economy in the world in 2002. And now Turkey is 16th biggest economy. In 8 years, we passed 10 countries, and today we are 16th. After the economic crisis, we are sorry that some of our friendly countries faced problems, but Turkish economy showed this strength starting with Mr. Derviş reforms. Then our government took over and continued these reforms in a very strong, political way, political power, and therefore today we have a strong financial system, a dynamic economy, a rising entrepreneurship. There’s an economy.
Without economic restoration, political restoration cannot be successful. These two restorations, like two legs of a strategic restoration. Strategic restoration is our foreign policy orientation. Nobody should link our foreign policy to another reason. But we need to have a restoration in domestic, regional, and global environment because ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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we are paying the bill if there is any instability or cause in our surrounding regions.
Now, this is the framework. How can we connect this political and economic restoration with a new foreign policy paradigm? That was the challenge. And we formulated a new foreign policy. Yes. But this new foreign policy is neither turning face to east. We don’t mind to have this. I’m not trying to be apologetic here. Of course we would have Eastern background. Or not shift -- paradigm shift. But what we want is what we need for political economic consolidation, which type of foreign policy orientation we need.
For example, we need to have zero problems with our neighbors. When I became chief advisor in my first one of the first terms, I declared this policy. I remember those days. Many observers and artists. They made joke from -- regarding my background. They said, “Typical utopic academician.” Poetic language, “zero problems with neighbors,” that cannot be translated into a foreign policy -- realistic foreign policy.
Why did we declare this? Why did I declare? I know, knowing human history, even knowing family history. Brothers and sisters, they may have problems. I mean, human want history -- of course there are problems with the neighbors. But what I tried to do is to make a transformation of mentality, because throughout the Cold War the basic teaching we learned in our schools were Turkey has three sides of seas, four sides of enemies. All this was around us -- were taught to us as enemy. Russians, because we had so many wars in the past, Greece they are archenemy: Bulgarians, enemy; Arabs, of course, ideological enemy; Iran is historical rivalry. As if you are living in a neighborhood and you are being isolated. Now we had to make a transformation. They are saying -- some people are saying this is an indication that Turkey -- this government being given an suspicious -- I mean emotion -- wants to develop -- wants the -- let’s talk ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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to me. You are very clever. You are hiding your agenda, secret agenda, through this type of terminology “zero problems with neighbors”. In fact, you want to develop your relations with Iran and Syria, the axis of evil, and in order to cover this, you are using this terminology. This question was asked and I said do you know Turkish geography? Anybody who knows Turkish geography knows very well we have four Muslim neighbors and eight non-Muslim neighbors, including Black Sea. And in last eight years our relation with Georgia, a Christian neighbor, developed much more than our relation with Iran. Or our relation with Greece has developed as our relation with Syria. Our relation with Russia has developed like our relation with Iraq.
And today I don’t want to give details if there are questions I can give, only just one example. Turkey and Greece in 87 years of our relations signed only Turkey five agreements until last May. Last May, in one day we signed 23 agreements. In one day. And if it is Neo-Ottoman policy, first Greek friends would rebel, because they didn’t accept this. They wouldn’t accept this. Or if it is pro-Islamic, then Orthodox Serbs would be -- would not accept it, but today we have excellent relations with Serbia. Yes, we abolished visa with Syria, with Azerbaijan we are trying, with Libya, with Lebanon, but we abolish with Serbia, with Russia.
So, why do we need these? Because we need a restoration, consolidation of peace and stability around us.
Yes, about regional politics let us continue. Why Turkey’s proactive really ambitious foreign policy we are following? And they’re even saying, can you continue this policy with this dynamism? I am saying this is a necessity. It is not a matter of choice. But we are living in a neighborhood that every day we have to take care of all events around us in Balkans, in Middle East, in Caucasia, in Central Asia. We need to ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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have political order. We need to have stability, because -- therefore I mention Republican restoration. Because of the First World War, although we left Balkans, Balkans has been Anatolized -- let me say this is a new concept -- Anatolized, because many Balkan nations migrated to Anatolia.
Although we left Caucasia, Caucasia became Anatolized because Caucasian peoples migrated to Turkey. Whatever happens in Caucasia is our domestic issue. Therefore, I know WikiLeaks in these days -- there was -- I was asked just now in Washington Post about my speech in Sarajevo last year. It was called as a bit of indication that we are following Ottoman -- new Ottoman policy. Yes, I made a speech. There I said Bosnian issue is like our domestic issue. Why did I say this? Why? Because there are more Bosnians living in Bosnia than in -- in Turkey than in Bosnia. There are more Bosniaks living in Turkey than in Bosnia. There are more Albanians living in Turkey than in Albania. And if something happens in Sarajevo, we cannot say it is far away. Next day there will be a big demonstration in Istanbul asking our government to help Bosniak brothers and sisters.
Last year there was unrest in Shenzhen in Runchi far away. And it was not part of Ottoman territory anyway. But 300,000 -- we were living in Turkey. There were demonstrations in Ankara and Istanbul and in other cities and asking government to help. And we have very good relations with China. How can you do this?
What do we want? Nothing more, nothing less: equal relations with all nations around us and political stability and security around us. And therefore we have to have an assertive -- therefore, we said from the first day we said proactive peace diplomacy. Proactive peace diplomacy is needed in order to prevent crisis. Therefore, we are active in Iraq, because if Iraq is divided, if Iraq is in chaos, Turkey will pay the ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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price. Therefore, before coming here, a few days ago we were in Lebanon, and our prime minister met with all the leaders of Lebanese politics just to control the crisis there. We don’t have any national interest there, and I talked once to one Bosnian Serb politician. I said -- you may criticize us, but we don’t have any national interest in Bosnia. Bosnia doesn’t have a -- we are not here to -- what we need is just political strategy. Do not repeat the same mistakes of 1990s. Then we will help. We have now excellent relations with Serbia, and we have trilateral relations with Serbia, Bosnia, Turkey -- Turkey, Bosnia, Croatia.
Therefore, we were really active in order to restart -- in order to have indirect talks between Syria and Israel. Therefore, we are vocal in regarding Palestine, because without solving Palestinian question, there cannot be political stability in the Middle East. There cannot be democratization in the Middle East as well. Because of that political crisis. All Middle Eastern societies are in a psychology of extraordinary situation.
When my book was translated into Arabic a few months ago, Strategic Depth, in the launching, I made this -- they asked me to give a speech. I gave a speech, and I said what is -- the question was, what is the purpose of the book? I said the purpose of the book is normalization of history. Just this is the simple formula of our foreign policy. Normalization of history. Because Cold War was abnormality. Abnormality. Because of Cold War statical polarization, we became isolated from Syria. Our border at Syria is not natural. Our border with Georgia is not natural. Our border with Iraq is not natural. What we want to do without changing the borders, with full respect to the borders, we want to have full integration with all the neighbors, with all the surrounding regions. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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What is the economic reflection of this policy? The economic reflection is clear. Let me say, just imagine map in your mind and put in the West, in Europe in the West, Germany, France, Italy; in the North, Russia; in the East, China and Japan and India. In the rest of all Afro-Eurasia, the biggest economy is Turkish economy. The most dynamic economy is Turkish economy. We don’t want to have sanctions, isolations, trade barriers, visa barriers in these regions. We want our economy to be integrated with all.
Last year one of my colleagues from Europe, minister, asked me a question. You can imagine even debts is becoming an issue. He said we are in international economy crisis, and we are thinking to close our embassies in Africa in order to make some saving. And when we are doing this, you are opening 18 embassies in Africa in one year. Eighteen? yes. In 8 years, we opened 12 embassies in Africa; in last 2 years -- in 1-1/2 year we opened and even completing next 6 months, 18 embassies. He said, why? The question is what Turks want to do in Africa. Turks want to do something very simple, because in Africa -- in Cameroon, for example -- Turkish business industrialists -- industries, entrepreneurs are working there, and they are demanding us that they want to have an embassy in order to do their business.
This is economic relation. Wanting one more thing we want to do, that Africa is our continent. We are not far away from Africa. And this is the global dimension of our foreign policy. Today there is a transformation in global politics, global economy, global culture; and we don’t want to have global divides between East and West in cultural sense, between North and South in economic sense, and between transatlantic and others in geopolitical sense. Because in all these divides, Turkey’s in the middle, and we are suffering. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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After 9-11, if there is a tension, a global cultural tension like clash of civilizations between East and West, Turkey will be affected negatively. We would have to make a choice. We don’t want to. We have a choice that we want to integrate with all the environment. If there is a clash between North and South, Turkish economy will be affected. We want to defend the rights -- economic rights of African people.
Therefore, next year in May we will be hosting the least developed country summit in Turkey. Around 6,000 people will come to Istanbul. We are a member of OECD, yes. We are from the North, yes. But at the same time, we are from the South because of our historical links, because of our big demography, huge demography, and because of our economic characters. And as a global power, we are a member of NATO, yes. We are a member of Transatlantic Alliance, yes. But we don’t want NATO to have any confrontation with other nations or group of nations or other regions.
Therefore, we were very careful in NATO summit not to declare an enemy front, because we suffered enough during Cold War because of this polarization. You don’t want a new geopolitical polarization in our world, so this restoration what we need. Economic-political-strategy restoration needs a foreign policy formulation based on regional and global peace, and Turkey is a force of peace. We will not be a party or side of any conflict. We will be pioneering of the peace around us, peace at home as it was declared by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Peace at home, peace in the world. This is the field of our foreign policy.
Thank you very much. (Applause)
I prefer to stay here. Yeah. Throughout of my life, academic life, I never give lectures when -- I don’t want to give lecture but -- when I am sitting. I prefer to have eye contact here. Yes. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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MR. TAŞPINAR: Minister, we now know why they refer to you --
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: But you can sit if you want.
MR. TAŞPINAR: Okay, I’ll prefer to sit.
We now know why they refer to you as professor all the time, and you have a very lecturing style, and I think you gave us a very rich summary of Turkey’s strategic vision. However, mortals in this city usually think about Turkey in the framework of three major polarizing issues, and they have nothing to do, unfortunately, with the larger strategic vision and the historical depth that you provided us.
The image of Turkey in Washington I think is being shaped by the divergence that we have currently with the United States on the question of Iran and the nuclear agenda, especially the fact that Turkey voted no in the United Nations Security Council. That, I think, fueled the image of Turkish foreign policy’s axis shift so to speak.
The other one is basically Turkey’s relations and the deterioration with Israel. So, Turkish-Israeli relations also fuel a certain negativity in Turkey’s image.
And, finally, relations with Armenia.
So, those are the three areas where I would kindly ask if you could say a few words before we open it up to the Q & A.
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: I didn’t mention enough these issues during my presentation, because I was sure that this question would come. (Laughter) So, I didn’t want to waste my time in presentation about this.
These -- all these three let me implement the same methodology which I made in my presentation. If you made a picture analysis -- for example, in your question -- of course, you didn’t have this intention. You said no words in your answer to the context . Typical picture analysis. There’s a picture, Turkish permanent representative is ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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voting no to sanctions against Iran. What happened before? What happened afterwards? It is not being discussed. This is again --
MR. TAŞPINAR: That’s why we have WikiLeaks. (Laughter)
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Yes, not -- not you, but this is very -- you didn’t mean that, of course.
MR. TAŞPINAR: Of course not. (Laughter)
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: But today I was telling in another meeting -- I said if all the official cables and other dictums are being disclosed, we will be very happy. Really. Turkey will be very happy, because we follow the foreign policy of principles. We didn’t use broad language. We didn’t say something in Tehran and different in Washington and other different in New York or in another place. We already is challenged. Open all these archives. Our foreign policy was sincere, principle oriented, honest, candid. Therefore, we follow it. Because of these principles, we wanted to suggest a country which -- to region and global peace.
In all these three issues, let us implement not the picture analysis but process analysis. About Iran -- from the very first day, we declared that from the basic principles of Iranian policy four years ago that Turkey’s against any nuclear proliferation, wherever it is. By which country is not important. We are against it. Turkey’s against any nuclear power in our region. Whichever country has war, we are against it. And Turkey’s in favor of nuclear peaceful capacity if that country is a partner or a party in NPT and IAEA. These are important, and Turkey has been, yes, very active.
Just to make a picture analysis again, in 2007, the most successful meeting between P5+1 and Iran was held in Ankara. Last year, 1st October, another successful meeting by Jalili and Solana was arranged by us on 12th of September during ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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my visit to Tehran. I called from Tehran, so -- and Mr. Solana said first of October was fixed.
In the first of October meeting, there was a suggestion that there is an exchange proposal of uranium TRR, for TRR, the Tehran reactor. This was not our idea. We didn’t produce -- creatively produce such a policy just to defend Iran. No. It was the idea of Mr. ElBaradei consulting with P5+1. Since there was no mutual trust for each other by both parties, he bought this idea to us that since both parties trust you, can you help us. Therefore, we started the democratic process. And until May, we worked very closely with our allies. And whether they were in agreement I don’t want to go into because it’s a long history. Maybe one day WikiLeaks will make this all public. (Laughter) But we worked in a very close coordination with our allies, and at the end we had a Tehran declaration.
So, that’s the background of everything. And as I said, to be frank and we are telling this here, because of this restoration, of economic restoration, we don’t want to have sanctions or tensions -- military tensions -- around Turkey. We want stability and security, because sanctions against Iraq harm Turkey more than Saddam regime. Therefore, we work very hard not to defend Iran or another country or to act in another country. We try to defend our national interests, that to prevent any source of tension or isolation or sanction. So, this the background, that ’no’ did not occur one day in one hour. In order to keep Iran on the ground, on the negotiation ground, we had to vote no in order to keep that negotiation continued. Because Iran declared that if Turkey and Brazil has abstained or yes, then it missed the end of TRR deal. It means the end of negotiation.
Therefore, we continue to work very hard, and 15th of July this year ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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Iranian -- Iran, Istanbul -- Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs declared that they are ready to freeze, to stop enrichment if Tehran agreement is being implemented. So, these are all process -- part of the process. Even still now, today, unless two, three months.
Turkey has been working very hard. Together with our allies, P5+1, and our neighbor, Iran, in order to restart the talks and we will continue to work very hard. So, nobody can blame because of just one incident. This is a long process we need to understand.
About Israel. Same thing. If somebody reads a critic from Prime Minister Erdoğan or from me regarding Israeli policies and just take that picture and say Turkey -- Turkish authorities are attacking Israel, okay, did it happen? And, again, the same terminology is coming: pro-Islamic government in Ankara is attacking because they’re allied with Iran against Israel. If this was true, why in 2008 Turkey was mediating between Syria and Israel? Why Prime Minister Olmert four days before the attack against Gaza stayed in Prime Minister’s Erdoğan’s house, room, six hours. There is only one person who stayed in Prime Minister’s Erdoğan’s house six hours. It is Prime Minister Olmert. Just to make fifth round of talks by phone, and I was translating. I was carrying the message between President Bashar al-Assad and Olmert in another room through Prime Minister Erdoğan. Why did we work if we had this intention to be against Israel or just to attack? Why did we work so hard? Again, make it process analysis. Yes, we were upset. We were angry, because that Monday the direct talks would have started. We agreed. We saw that only one part was missing to the agreement. Saturday, when there was a planned telephone conversation between Prime Minister Olmert and Prime Minister Erdoğan at 11:00, they, in order to finalize and just to specify the venue to start direct talks, 10:30 Israel attacked us. Who is supposed to be blamed? ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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Again, afterwards, they -- against all the civilized protocols and manners, conduct, code of conduct, they insulted our ambassador. Despite of this, we had -- we tried to restore the relations. But the most shocking event came when Israel attacked and killed eight Turkish, one American civilian in international waters. Although this did not violate Israeli territories, did not harm any Israeli interest, they killed these people. That’s the first time Turkey citizens were killed by a regular army of another country.
Throughout history, nobody can say that Turkey had an anti-Semitic background. No one. Again, looking at the process analysis. Turkish history is so clean regarding to relations with Jews, the Jewish people. There are four categories of nations regarding to this issue: some countries who oppress Jews in history: ghettos, genocide. Some countries, second, had war against Israel after the establishment of Israel. Some countries didn’t have such a close relation with them. But there is only one country didn’t have any history of oppression. Just the opposite, became safe haven for all Jews throughout history and didn’t make any war against Israel as a state, it is Turkey, and a close relation. And Israel has alienated itself from such a country through these policies. We are not -- we -- therefore, it should be understood properly. And if there was no attack that 31st of May, 1st of June, we would have a meeting, an appointment here with Prime Minister Netanyahu to discuss what could be the next stage of Syrian-Israeli talks.
But we cannot tolerate. Of course, we are working zero problems with neighbors, with all these ideas. We want to have political stability in the Middle East. Of course, the rights of Palestinian people should be respected. We cannot tolerate civilians -- women, ladies, children -- being killed by such attacks using some special weapons. This is unacceptable. We cannot tolerate any country to violate international law, killing innocent civilians in international waters. This should be understood properly. If you look ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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at this process analysis, you can read that this is not a policy against Jewish people or a policy against people of Israel, citizens of Israel. Even not with all the Israeli governments, but it is -- we are criticizing the existing government because of the policies which are -- which is not compatible with our regional peace and stability.
On Armenia, okay you can raise what about the protocols? Again, make a picture and I will process that. Ten years ago in Turkey you wouldn’t have an environment to discuss Armenian issue in a free manner. Today we have. Everybody is talking, and -- but you don’t have that freedom in France or in some European countries. As a Turkish intellectual, you cannot defend your version of history.
Again, five years ago there was no protocol which was signed. Today we have this. There is a gradual improvement of our relations and we are optimistic. We are hopeful. That we will improve our relations with Armenia, with Armenians wherever they are, and also we’ll be able to establish a political order in Caucasia through peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia. These are compatible. And we are optimistic and we will continue to work. One day we will start -- re-start Israel-Syrian direct talks. We will try to help Middle Eastern peace process, but that should be done only if we see the respect from Israel to the rights of our citizens. And that’s -- the way it’s clear, apology and compensation. Thank you.
MR. TAŞPINAR: Thank you, Foreign Minister.
What we’ll do now is to open up to questions. Please wait for the microphone, identify yourself, and instead of making a statement please ask a question.
SPEAKER: Arsen Khaturian from Voice of America’s Armenian Service.
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Armenian Service.
SPEAKER: As you just finished with Armenia, let’s go with Armenia ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Okay, go ahead.
SPEAKER: Do you -- while your lecture and speech manifested the duality of your personality, the identity of academician and politician, so my first question will be to the academician. I will talk to, and second to the politician.
You mentioned two important transformations in Ottoman history: Tanzimat in 1912 or 1908 revolution, later republic creation. What was the impact of Armenians on that creation, if at all, because you didn’t talk actually about Armenians of that period.
And the second question will be about the protocols. You, as well as President Gül and Prime Minister Erdoğan have been constantly mentioning importance of progress in the Minsk Group negotiations. And just today, earlier in Bern, President Gül announced that unless there is progress there, there is not going to be a progress in the protocol site. Now, many in Washington, D.C., have been speculating that the protocols will go forward in Turkey after the elections. You as a politician -- do you see that as an obstacle and will they go forward after the elections, and what do you exactly mean under the progress in the Nagorno Karabakh issue? Thank you.
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Thank you. Again, look at this long transformation. Turks and Armenians live together ten centuries, from 10th century until 20th century. Even 21st century now we are together. And if we have a long-term analysis, nine centuries plus nine and a half centuries there was not any tension between Armenians and Turks in Anatolia or anywhere. We have all Ottoman archives. If you look at, for example, the tensions between two common tribes in Anatolia, are much more frequent than any tension between Turks and Armenians. So, therefore, this is the difference ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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between Jews having genocide in Europe, because Jews were -- had this oppression because of an original sin, let me say. Being Jew was something -- not -- I don’t mean now, but in Europe, in Spain, or in 14th, 15th century or later. Therefore, they were oppressed in ghettos, lived in different places, and then genocide. They were not seen like equals. But I had many Ph.D. students. I asked them to study shared existence, especially about the inheritance, and there you can see the most rich people in all the neighbors in Istanbul, whichever century you can take, whichever neighborhood you can take -- in any city. The richest people are either Armenian or Greek. And they didn’t tell you -- you don’t tell any Armenian or Greek quarter isolated from this. They live together. They live together. In all the cities. This is our history.
Why did we have problem? It was not because of Armenians, because of Turks. It was the solution of Ottoman empire -- an imperial structure where people were living, but the new rising sense of belonging was nationalism. And only after 1870s, not even beginning of 19th century, we had these tensions. Even despite of that, Armenians in 1914, one year before, there were Armenian ministers in Ottoman’s government. There were Armenian ambassadors in European capitals. And Armenians in Ottoman archives were called as (inaudible), which means the loyal nation which live together peacefully with the Turkish people.
Why I am giving you these details. If we want to restore Turkish-Armenian relation, what I call, we need to have a just memory. Not just -- not memory of one small part of our history and not only from Armenian or Turkish perspective. We are ready to share our pains. 1915 is symbolic year for Armenians, yes, but we need to know 1915 is the year of Gallipoli, as well, where only in one front in Çanakkale 250,000 Turks were killed, and one of them was my grandfather. In Yemen, in Balkans, this is like the -- ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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an organic society was divided, like you are taking the body out of the context. I don’t want to justify any mistake. If there are mistakes, we need to share. We need to discuss and share these. But if you ignore nine centuries and just focus on time when there was no political order anywhere in Ottoman territories, then we may face problem. If this is a starting point of all dialogue, then all nations will ask revenge from another nation. I can -- I don’t want to give, but, for example, I mentioned how many thousand -- hundred thousand Bosnians, Albanians, Turks had to migrate from Balkans, were killed in Balkans. How many Caucasian Turks -- I mean Abkhazians, Chechens, Georgians were killed and had to migrate to Anatolia? This is an unfortunate event. Did we, all of us, did we remind each other this painful part of our history, or did we remind the good side?
Now, before there was one-sided -- maybe from our side as well -- we were denying -- I mean, denying -- nothing happened -- no, something happened. But something happened to us as well, to all of us. Now it is time to restore. Therefore, it is a just memory. Ready to discuss everything. Otherwise, all nations will accuse each other of genocide: red Indians here, Mexico for Spain. Oh, there are -- there is -- unfortunately, there was no zero problem at that time. (Laughter) Now we need to restore my dear friend. This is our approach. Therefore, we sign protocol with this understanding.
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Hmm?
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: I’ll come. I will come. Don’t worry about it. I don’t forget anything. I am ready for any challenge. (Laughter)
And I signed myself and I prepared a speech. Unfortunately, later my ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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counterpart, Mr. Nalbandian, didn’t want. We didn’t make it. I was referring to this just memory. We want to start a new history.
Unfortunately, the Constitution Court of Armenia made an interpretation about these protocols and nullified the content of the Historical Commission. The Historical Commission is important. We don’t want to have just two -- it was a policy, a strategy of three objectives: normalize our relations between Turkey and Armenia as two nation states neighboring; normalize our relations between Turks and Armenians wherever they are -- here in Washington, California, Boston, wherever, Paris; and bringing original stability in Caucasia. These were three legs of our approach. And all these three should be together. They are still defending protocols. They are not giving up. I never give up. And one day Turkish-Armenian relation will be having a new paradigm. But I know from our experience between Syria and Israel -- we learn in practice -- if you don’t have regional context of the peace, that peace cannot be sustainable. When Syrian-Israeli indirect talks started one week before that, I had meetings with two delegations and I put just one condition. I said to both that during our negotiations Gaza and Lebanon must be quiet, because I was knowing very well that if there’s a tension in Gaza that process cannot continue, or in Lebanon. Lebanon was for Syria; Gaza was for Israel. And although everything was going very well, a crisis in Gaza collapsed all the process between Syria and Israel. Similarly, even if there is a normalization between Turkey and Armenia, if the Armenian occupation in Azerbaijani territory continues -- I don’t mean only Karabakh, I mean also the other similar regions -- and if there is a tension there, next day we have to close that border again. Therefore, what we did to have a comprehensive vision of Caucasian peace. Therefore, you need to have a simultaneous process between Turkey and Armenia and Armenian-Azerbaijan ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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so that we can achieve both original peace and a full and sustainable normalization between Turkey and Armenia. It is not a matter of election. It is more a matter of intention. Our intention is to achieve both. But if Armenia says we want to normalize our relations with Turkey only, we don’t want to normalize our relations with Azerbaijan, and we keep Azeri territories under occupation, that intention cannot be prevailing. Here I don’t question the intention of our Armenian colleague. I know that they also want peace. We hope that one day we will achieve these together. And I am optimistic. You will see we will achieve this together with Armenians and other as it is together, and that will be restoration of our relation as well for each country of 9 century without any problem.
MR. TAŞPINAR: What we’ll do is to take two questions. I know we’ll have to wrap because you have another speech, so we’ll have to finish basically in 10 to 15 minutes maximum. So, two more questions.
One there and then there.
SPEAKER: Foreign Minister, it’s a privilege to listen to you here. Thanks so much for your presentation.
MR. TAŞPINAR: Could you identify yourself please?
SPEAKER: Sorry. (inaudible) for Hürriyet Daily News (inaudible).
MR. TAŞPINAR: Hürriyet Daily News.
SPEAKER: Hürriyet Daily News.
MR. TAŞPINAR: Hürriyet Daily News.
MR. TAŞPINAR: I was expecting a question from Greek. (Laughter) Yes, okay.
SPEAKER: Sir, you talk about restoration process, different restorations ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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in your speech, and you talk that traditional democracy actually goes back to early decades of 19th century, and also as a final restoration process you talk about the last decade when your administration started to rule Turkey. Economic and political component or development of the latest restoration is obvious made Turkey much more democratic than before, and most of the areas. Turkey became, first of all, start accession talks at the EU, and thanks to your administration for that. My question is there is one area that Turkey seems that its ranks increase sharply in the freedom of the press. When your administration started, Turkey was 99th place and now it’s 138th out of 175 countries. My question is why is freedom of the press a problem that cannot solve in Turkey or could you please elaborate on that why we just cannot catch up with the Western countries in this (inaudible). Thank you.
MR. TAŞPINAR: And we’ll take one more question over there. Yes.
MR. MAHMETLI: Badir Mahmetli with U.S. Azeris Network. I have a quick question. Mr. Davutoğlu, how concerned are you with the most recent transfer of uranium from Armenia to be sold to an Al-Qaeda representative? I’m not sure you heard about the recent arrest that was made in Georgia, in the capital Tbilisi. There Armenian citizens were trying to sell uranium to undercover Georgian special agent, but they were discovered --
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: To which special agent?
MR. MAHMETLI: Georgian special agent.
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Georgian.
MR. MAHMETLI: Special officer. No, it was never on the news, so they were trying to sell uranium. It was exported from Armenia to -- was designed to be sold to Al-Qaeda representative but that was an undercover Georgian special officer. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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DR. DAVUTOĞLU: Okay.
MR. MAHMETLI: Are you concerned about this news?
DR. DAVUTOĞLU: About freedom of press. Freedom of press is one of the basic character of any modern democratic society. And if we need to do more, we need to say that we need this more, and there is no perfectability in the process of democratization. There is always some room for improvement. But at the same time, many of this press -- freedom-of-press issues are two sided, and the press also needs to improve the standards of media ethics. But we need both, and we have to be open minded to discuss this. If we have a question of media ethics or a question of freedom of press, this will deteriorate the situation on both sides and a decline in freedom of press will deteriorate the situation of media ethics and vice versa. We are ready to discuss, but if you look at the -- in last eight years, we made several reforms in freedom of press. The press law -- I think it was in 2004 -- has enlarged the freedom of expression. And you can take any critical issue and those statistics that are different criteria, but in your daily practice in Hürriyet or in academic life, today you cannot compare the situation with 10-year cycle. There is no taboo anymore. There is a huge discussion on many very sensitive issues. But it depends how you deal with this.
I can give you now tons of examples how we need to -- how we face the problems of media ethics. I don’t want to mention, but there are many.
They are a dynamic society, and we have many challenges. Freedom of press and media ethics are two important challenges at the same time, and we need to deal with both. If there is more established media ethics, there will be less discussion on -- and less restrictions. I don’t mean -- I don’t try to justify any restriction, but the actions and the discussion on media -- even in foreign policy issues, it is surprising. For ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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example, recently, there was a press report regarding a statement of Iraqi president -- President Talabani -- which created some problems in foreign policy between Turkey and Iraq. It was taken to the press as a headline in one very respected Turkish newspaper. After a few days, President Talabani made a statement saying that this is not correct, it was not correct quotation of my speech, that it was not headlined, it was a small note in 20 or 21st page. You see? Then you lose respect of the press. And we are freezing so many problems regarding it. This is when foreign policy on individual respect as well.
You know, the columnist -- the most experienced person in Turkish press -- which type of phrase type of phrase he used for leading Turkish politicians, and he had to resign from Europe journalist. Then of course he created tension, a discussion on press. I don’t blame -- I don’t say that this -- we are perfect. There are many things to be done, but there are many things to be done in both fronts. Once we have established code of conduct, we will be having also, once we have established principles of freedom of express, we will have a much better situation than today. We need to work together. I don’t say we don’t have any problem, but we have to understand the source of the problem as well in all sense.
About these, of course, if the second I don’t have intelligence report in my hand and we doubt any such report or verification, that it is difficult for us to make any comment. But assume that without any report, just say in principle, if somebody from country B sells or gives uranium or anything dangerous to a terrorist organization in country C, we think that it’s a threat. We don’t accept that. But without a verification of these, it is difficult to accuse, but if there is such verification, of course we have serious concern and in Caucasia especially we have to be very careful not to create new problems. ANDERSON COURT REPORTING
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Okay, thank you very much.
MR. TAŞPINAR: Foreign Minister, you are a busy man, and thank you very much for making time for us at Brookings. Thank you very much for a great lecture. Will the audience please remain seated as the official party departs? This will take only 60 seconds.
* * * * *
CERTIFICATE OF NOTARY PUBLIC
I, Carleton J. Anderson, III do hereby certify that the forgoing electronic file when originally transmitted was reduced to text at my direction; that said transcript is a true record of the proceedings therein referenced; that I am neither counsel for, related to, nor employed by any of the parties to the action in which these proceedings were taken; and, furthermore, that I am neither a relative or employee of any attorney or counsel employed by the parties hereto, nor financially or otherwise interested in the outcome of this action.
/s/Carleton J. Anderson, III
Notary Public in and for the Commonwealth of Virginia
Commission No. 351998
Expires: November 30, 2012
BY AHMET DAVUTOGLU MAY 20, 2010 Turkey's Zero-Problems Foreign Policy
Throughout modern history, there has been a direct relationship between conflict and the emergence of new ways of arbitrating world affairs. Every major war since the 17th century was concluded by a treaty that led to the emergence of a new order, from the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 that followed the Thirty Years' War, to the Congress of Vienna of 1814-1815 that brought an end to the Napoleonic Wars, to the ill-fated Treaty of Versailles that concluded the first World War, to the agreement at Yalta that laid the groundwork for the establishment of the United Nations in 1945. Yet the Cold War, which could be regarded as a global-scale war, ended not with grand summitry, but with the fall of the Iron Curtain and the collapse of the Soviet Union. There was no official conclusion; one of the combatant sides just suddenly ceased to exist.
Two decades hence, no new international legal and political system has been formally created to meet the challenges of the new world order that emerged. Instead, a number of temporary, tactical, and conflict-specific agreements have been implemented. From the Nagorno-Karabakh region to Cyprus, and even the deadlocked Israeli-Palestinian dispute, a series of cease-fire arrangements have succeeded in ending bloodshed but have failed to establish comprehensive peace agreements. Overall, the current situation has quantitatively increased the diversification of international actors and qualitatively complicated the foreign-policy making process.
The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks made it clear that this situation is not sustainable. Immediately after the attacks, the United States began attempting to establish an international order based on a security discourse, thus replacing the liberty discourse that emerged after the collapse of the Berlin Wall. It is in this context that the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq can best be understood. The intent was to transform an unstable international environment by targeting crisis-prone zones that were considered to be the sources of insecurity. But in the process, predictions about the end of history and the expansion of civil rights and liberties have largely lost their appeal.
U.S. President Barack Obama challenged the security-based perspective of the post-Sept. 11 era as soon as he assumed the presidency in 2009. He has actively attempted to restore America's international image, and has made considerable efforts to adopt a new vision that embraces a multilateral international system and fosters close cooperation with regional allies.
Still, we are faced with an incredibly difficult period until a new global order is established. Many of today's challenges can only be resolved with broader international involvement, but the mechanisms needed to meet fully those challenges do not exist. It will therefore fall largely to nation-states to meet and create solutions for the global political, cultural, and economic turmoil that will likely last for the next decade and beyond.
In this new world, Turkey is playing an increasingly central role in promoting international security and prosperity. The new dynamics of Turkish foreign policy ensure that Turkey can act with the vision, determination, and confidence that the historical moment demands.
Turkey in the post-Cold War era
Turkey experienced the direct impact of the post-Cold War atmosphere of insecurity, which resulted in a variety of security problems in Turkey's neighborhood. The most urgent issue for Turkish diplomacy, in this context, was to harmonize Turkey's influential power axes with the new international environment.
During the Cold War, Turkey was a "wing country" under NATO's strategic framework, resting on the geographic perimeter of the Western alliance. NATO's strategic concept, however, has evolved in the post-Cold War era -- and so has Turkey's calculation of its strategic environment. Turkey's presence in Afghanistan is a clear indication of this change. We are a wing country no longer.
Turkey is currently facing pressure to assume an important regional role, which admittedly has created tensions between its existing strategic alliances and its emerging regional responsibilities. The challenge of managing these relationships was acutely felt in recent regional crises in the Caucasus, the Balkans, and the Middle East. Turkey remains committed to establishing harmony between its current strategic alliances and its neighbors and neighboring regions.
Turkey's unique demographic realities also affect its foreign-policy vision. There are more Bosnians in Turkey than in Bosnia-Herzegovina, more Albanians than in Kosovo, more Chechens than in Chechnya, more Abkhazians than in the Abkhaz region in Georgia, and a significant number of Azeris and Georgians, in addition to considerable other ethnicities from neighboring regions. Thus, these conflicts and the effect they have on their populations have a direct impact on domestic politics in Turkey.
Because of this fact, Turkey experiences regional tensions at home and faces public demands to pursue an active foreign-policy to secure the peace and security of those communities. In this sense, Turkish foreign policy is also shaped by its own democracy, reflecting the priorities and concerns of its citizens. As a result of globalization, the Turkish public follows international developments closely. Turkey's democratization requires it to integrate societal demands into its foreign policy, just as all mature democracies do.
The European Union and NATO are the main fixtures and the main elements of continuity in Turkish foreign policy. Turkey has achieved more within these alliances during the past seven years under the AK Party government than it did in the previous 40 years. Turkey's involvement in NATO has increased during this time; Turkey recently asked for, and achieved, a higher representation in the alliance. Turkey also has advanced considerably in the European integration process compared with the previous decade, when it was not even clear whether the EU was seriously considering Turkey's candidacy. EU progress reports state that Turkish foreign policy and EU objectives are in harmony, a clear indication that Turkey's foreign-policy orientation aligns well with transatlantic objectives.
As we leave behind the first decade of the 21st century, Turkey has been able to formulate a foreign-policy vision based on a better understanding of the realities of the new century, even as it acts in accordance with its historical role and geographical position. In this sense, Turkey's orientation and strategic alliance with the West remains perfectly compatible with Turkey's involvement in, among others, Iraq, Iran, the Caucasus, the Middle East peace process, and Afghanistan.
Over the past seven years, Turkey has been able to formulate a systematic and cohesive methodological approach to world affairs because its political party has been able to govern, resulting in real political stability at home.
Three methodological and five operational principles drive Turkey's foreign policy today. The first methodological principle is its "visionary" approach to the issues instead of the "crisis-oriented" attitude that dominated foreign policy during the entire Cold War period.
For example, Turkey has a vision of the Middle East. This vision encompasses the entire region: It cannot be reduced to the struggle against the PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party), the radical Kurdish separatist group that for decades has waged a campaign of terror against Turkey, or efforts to counterbalance specific countries. Turkey can use its unique understanding of the Middle East, and its diplomatic assets, to operate effectively on the ground. Turkey's Lebanon policy, its attempts to mediate between Syria and Israel and achieve Palestinian reconciliation, its efforts to facilitate the participation of Iraqi Sunni groups in the 2005 parliamentary elections, and its constructive involvement in the Iranian nuclear issue are integral parts of Turkey's foreign-policy vision for the Middle East.
The second methodological principle is to base Turkish foreign policy on a "consistent and systematic" framework around the world. Turkey's vision for the Middle East is not in opposition to its approach in Central Asia or in the Balkans; our approach to Africa is no different from our approach to Asia. Turkey is also actively trying to improve relations with nearby countries like Greece, Iraq, the Russian Federation, and Syria.
The third methodological principle is the adoption of a new discourse and diplomatic style, which has resulted in the spread of Turkish soft power in the region. Although Turkey maintains a powerful military due to its insecure neighborhood, we do not make threats. Instead, Turkish diplomats and politicians have adopted a new language in regional and international politics that prioritizes Turkey's civil-economic power.
From these three methodological approaches, five operational principles guide Turkey's foreign policy-making process. The first principle is the balance between security and democracy. The legitimacy of any political regime comes from its ability to provide security and freedom together to its citizens; this security should not be at the expense of freedoms and human rights in the country. Since 2002, Turkey has attempted to promote civil liberties without undermining security. This is an ambitious yet worthy aim -- particularly in the post-Sept. 11 environment, under the threat of terrorism, in which the general tendency has been to restrict liberties for the sake of security.
Turkey has made great strides in protecting civil liberties despite serious domestic political challenges to such freedoms over the past seven years. This required vigorously carrying out the struggle against terrorism without narrowing the sphere of civil liberties -- a challenge Turkey successfully overcame. In the process, we've found that Turkish soft power has only increased as our democracy has matured.
Second, the principle of zero problems towards neighbors has been successfully implemented for the past seven years. Turkey's relations with its neighbors now follow a more cooperative track. There is a developing economic interdependence between Turkey and its neighboring countries. In 2009, for example, we achieved considerable diplomatic progress with Armenia, which nevertheless remains the most problematic relationship in Turkey's neighborhood policy.
Turkey's considerable achievements in its regional relationships have led policymakers to take this principle a step further and aim for maximum cooperation with our neighbors. Since the second half of 2009, Turkey established high-level strategic council meetings with Iraq, Syria, Greece and Russia. These are joint cabinet meetings where bilateral political, economic, and security issues are discussed in detail. There are also preparations to establish similar mechanisms with Bulgaria, Azerbaijan and Ukraine as well as other neighboring countries. Turkey abolished visa requirements with, among others, Syria, Tajikistan, Albania, Lebanon, Jordan, Libya and Russia. Turkey's trade with its neighbors and nearby regions has substantially increased in recent years.
The third operative principle is proactive and pre-emptive peace diplomacy, which aims to take measures before crises emerge and escalate to a critical level. Turkey's regional policy is based on security for all, high-level political dialogue, economic integration and interdependence, and multicultural coexistence. Consider Turkey's mediation between Israel and Syria, a role that was not assigned to Turkey by any outside actor. Other examples of pre-emptive diplomacy include Turkey's efforts to achieve Sunni-Shiite reconciliation in Iraq, reconciliation efforts in Lebanon and Palestine, the Serbia-Bosnia reconciliation in the Balkans, dialogue between Afghanistan and Pakistan, and the reconstruction of Darfur and Somalia.
The fourth principle is adherence to a multi-dimensional foreign policy. Turkey's relations with other global actors aim to be complementary, not in competition. Such a policy views Turkey's strategic relationship with the United States through the two countries' bilateral strategic ties and through NATO. It considers its EU membership process, its good neighborhood policy with Russia, and its synchronization policy in Eurasia as integral parts of a consistent policy that serves to complement each other. This means that good relations with Russia are not an alternative to relations with the EU. Nor is the model partnership with the United States a rival partnership against Russia.
The fifth principle in this framework is rhythmic diplomacy, which aspires to provide Turkey with a more active role in international relations. This principle implies active involvement in all international organizations and on all issues of global and international importance. Turkey became a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and is chairing three critical commissions concerning Afghanistan, North Korea, and the fight against terror. Turkey undertook the chairmanship-in-office of the South-East European Cooperation Process, a forum for dialogue among Balkan states and their immediate neighbors, for 2009 and 2010. Turkey is also a member of G-20, maintains observer status in the African Union, has a strategic dialogue mechanism with the Gulf Cooperation Council, and actively participates in the Arab League. Turkey has also launched new diplomatic initiatives by opening 15 new embassies in Africa and two in Latin America, and is a signatory to the Kyoto Protocol. These developments show a new perspective of Turkey, one that is based on vision, soft power, a universal language, and implementation of consistent foreign policies in different parts of the world.
A new vision
Today, Turkey has a great deal of say in the international arena. More importantly, there is a critical group of countries that lends a careful ear to Turkey's stance on a myriad of regional and international issues. At this point, the world expects great things from Turkey, and we are fully aware of our responsibility to carry out a careful foreign policy.
Our "2023 vision," to mark the Turkish Republic's centennial, is a result of this necessity. The first step of this vision is to integrate Turkey's foreign-policy discourse into its national discourse. Any possible contradiction, gap or contrast between these two will make it difficult to carry out an active, responsible, and successful foreign policy. In the coming era, Turkey plans to deepen and strengthen its democracy, place relations between Turkish society and Turkey's governing institutions on firm ground, and show the world the strength of its own domestic balance. There is a continuous need to integrate domestic political accomplishments into the vision of foreign policy (i.e. democratization and cultural respect) and to inject foreign-policy activism and self-confidence back into the domestic political scene.
Thanks to the multi-dimensional and dynamic nature of Turkish foreign policy, Turkey's relations with the US are being built on firmer ground. Turkish-U.S. relations have reached a point where they can ensure bilateral cooperation and work toward global stability. Put into a framework of "model partnership" described by President Obama when he visited Turkey on his first overseas trip, bilateral relations are of vital importance for both countries. The term "model partnership" emphasizes the importance of high-level cooperation between Turkey, with its multiple regional identities and an increasing say in global affairs, and the United States, which has long-lasting ties with regional countries and direct responsibility for global stability. The partnership is guided by a set of shared values and principles aimed at bringing peace, security, stability, and economic prosperity to the zones of conflict in various regions.
Meanwhile, relations with the EU are also being bolstered. It is no longer possible to think of the EU and Turkey independent of one another when considering Turkey's foreign policy. EU integration is undoubtedly a process that is favorable to Turkey. But this process brings great benefits to the EU itself, both regionally and globally.
Turkey's foreign-policy objectives and its vision of how to achieve them are very clear. Turkey has multiple goals over the next decade: First, it aims to achieve all EU membership conditions and become an influential EU member state by 2023. Second, it will continue to strive for regional integration, in the form of security and economic cooperation. Third, it will seek to play an influential role in regional conflict resolution. Fourth, it will vigorously participate in all global arenas. Fifth, it will play a determining role in international organizations and become one of the top 10 largest economies in the world.
These goals aim to build a strong and respectable Turkey that is able to make an original contribution to the world community. To achieve them, Turkey must make progress in all directions and in every field, take an interest in every issue related to global stability, and contribute accordingly. This collective effort will make Turkey a global actor in this century. Turkey's actions are motivated by a great sense of responsibility, entrusted to it by its rich historical and geographic heritage, and by a profound consciousness of the importance of global stability and peace.
18.1.2010. Ομιλία Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου στους Τούρκους Πρέσβεις
Τ/ΥΠΕΞ Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου
Δευτέρα, 18 Ιανουαρίου 2010
Τουρκία – Συνέδριο των Πρέσβεων – Ομιλία Νταβούτογλου
Πραγματοποιήθηκε από τις 4 ως τις 10.01.2010 το 2ο Συνέδριο Πρέσβεων του Τουρκικού Υπουργείου Εξωτερικών υπό την προεδρία του Τ/ΥΠΕΞ Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου (το 1ο είχε συγκληθεί από τον τότε Τ/ΥΠΕΞ Αλί Μπαμπατζάν τον Ιανουάριο 2008). Το μεγαλύτερο μέρος του Συνεδρίου πραγματοποιήθηκε στο Συνεδριακό Κέντρο του Πανεπιστημίου Μπίλκεντ στην Άγκυρα και η σύνοδος αξιολόγησης στις 9 και 10 Ιανουαρίου στην πόλη Μάρντιν της νοτιοανατολικής Τουρκίας. Στο Συνέδριο συμμετείχαν περί τα 200 άτομα -πρέσβεις της Τουρκίας που υπηρετούν στο εξωτερικό και στελέχη του Τ/ΥΠΕΞ.
«Κύριε Νομάρχα, κύριοι βουλευτές, κύριε Δήμαρχε, κύριε πρύτανη, αξιότιμοι συνάδελφοι, φίλοι καθηγητές και φοιτητές,
Πρωτίστως, θα ήθελα να πω ότι είναι μεγάλη τιμή για μένα να βρίσκομαι εδώ στο Πανεπιστήμιο Αρτουκλού του Μάρντιν μαζί με τα στελέχη του Υπουργείου μας των Εξωτερικών και τους αξιότιμους πρέσβεις μας που υπηρετούν στο εξωτερικό. Θεωρώ χρέος μου να ευχαριστήσω για άλλη μια φορά για την πρόσκληση και τη φιλοξενία που μας προσφέρουν στο Μάρντιν, τον Νομάρχη, τον Δήμαρχο, τους βουλευτές και τον πρύτανη του Πανεπιστημίου Αρτουκλού.
Αυτή εδώ είναι η πιο διευρυμένη συνάντηση που έκανε ποτέ το Υπουργείο μας εκτός Άγκυρας. Γιατί, σχεδιάζοντας τη συνάντηση αυτή σκεφτήκαμε το Μάρντιν, αυτό πρέπει να το εξηγήσω –έχει σημασία.
Σχεδιάζοντας το πρόγραμμα, μου προτάθηκαν διάφοροι τίτλοι για την ομιλία μου, όπως ‘Μεσανατολική Πολιτική’ ή ‘Οι διεθνείς μας σχέσεις». Τους είπα ότι δεν μπορεί σε μια πόλη σαν το Μάρντιν να γίνει μια ομιλία με τόσο συγκυριακό τίτλο. Το Μάρντιν εκφράζει αφ’ εαυτού του το ιστορικό βάθος. Εκφράζει επίσης ένα φιλοσοφικό και διανοητικό βάθος. Χρειαζόταν, λοιπόν, ένας τίτλος ταιριαστός με το Μάρντιν. Γι’ αυτό και επέλεξα την επικεφαλίδα «Από τον αρχαίο πολιτισμό στην παγκοσμιοποιημένη τάξη».
Αρχαίος πολιτισμός και Μάρντιν – δεν υπάρχουν, νομίζω, δύο άλλες λέξεις που να είναι, η μια δίπλα στην άλλη, τόσο σωστές και τόσο αλληλοκαλυπτόμενες.
Γιατί αρχαίος, γιατί Μάρντιν;
Αν το αντιληφθούμε αυτό, θα καταλάβουμε το ‘γιατί η Τουρκία’ και το γιατί θα γίνει η Τουρκία κεντρικός παίκτης στην παγκόσμια τάξη που τώρα μορφοποιείται στον κόσμο. Διότι, όταν οι ρίζες κάποιου δεν πάνε τόσο βαθειά μέσα στη γη όσο του πλάτανου, δεν μπορεί να κάνει σκιά. Διότι, ρηχή είναι η σκιά αυτού που οι ρίζες του είναι αβαθείς, δεν είναι σκιά πυκνή.
Γιατί διάλεξαν οι πρόγονοί μας ως σύμβολό τους το πλατάνι, επειδή οι ρίζες του είναι βαθιές και δεν μπορεί εύκολα να ξεριζωθεί. Η σκιά του πλάτανου είναι πραγματική σκιά. Κι όταν γίνονται σκιάδι τα πλατάνια μας δεν κάνουν διάκριση ανάμεσα σε δόγμα, φυλή και θρησκεία. Με την έννοια αυτή το Μάρντιν είναι μια πόλη με ρίζα βαθιά και μέλλον λαμπρό -ίδια με τη χώρα μας.
Χρόνια πριν, όταν ακόμα ήμουν στον ακαδημαϊκό χώρο, είχα κάνει μια ομιλία σχετικά με την ιστορία των πόλεων, στην οποία ταξινομούσα τις πόλεις –η ιστορία πόλεων ήταν ένα από τα μαθήματα που παρέδιδα στο πανεπιστήμιο και πιστεύω ότι το Αρτουκλού θα πρέπει να γίνει ένα από τα διαλεχτά ανώτατα ιδρύματα του κόσμου στον τομέα αυτό, γιατί πόλη σημαίνει Μάρντιν. Δεν θα μπω εδώ με λεπτομέρειες στην ταξινόμηση εκείνη. Θα αναφέρω μόνο μια κατηγορία, που εμπίπτει στη σχέση μεταξύ πόλης και πολιτισμού: ‘τις πόλεις που φτιάχνουν πολιτισμούς’. Υπάρχουν τέτοιες πόλεις. Είναι η Αθήνα, είναι η Μεδίνα. Υπάρχουν επίσης οι πολιτισμοί που φτιάχνουν πόλεις -η Βαγδάτη ανήκει σ’ αυτή την κατηγορία. Υπάρχουν οι πόλεις εκείνες που τις διαμορφώνουν ποικίλοι πολιτισμοί και τις αποδίδουν στο μέλλον. Η Ισταμπούλ είναι μια από αυτές. Τη Νέα Υόρκη θα μπορούσαμε επίσης σήμερα να την συγκαταλέξουμε ανάμεσα στις πόλεις που διαμορφώθηκαν από πολιτισμούς. Επιπλέον όμως υπάρχουν οι πόλεις που αποτελούν ‘σύνοψη των πολιτισμών’. Ιστορία του πολιτισμού, ιστορία της ανθρωπότητας, συμπυκνώστε ολόκληρη την ιστορία της ανθρωπότητας και τοποθετείστε τη σε έναν τόπο, έτσι ωσάν μια συνειδητή βούληση να έχει πει ‘να είναι αυτή μια τέτοια πόλη που να αποτελεί σύνοψη ολόκληρης της ιστορίας της ανθρωπότητας κι όσοι την κοιτούν, σαν να κοιτούν ένα μπιμπελό, να μπορούν να δουν σ’ αυτή την κάθε απόχρωση της ιστορίας της ανθρωπότητας, να ακούνε τους ωραίους ήχους της ανθρωπότητας, να νιώθουν την αρμονία της’. Αν μπορούσαμε λοιπόν να σκεφτούμε μια τέτοια πόλη ‘μπιμπελό των πολιτισμών’, αυτή σίγουρα θα ήταν το Μάρντιν.
Το 2001, σε μια από τις σπάνιες οικογενειακές μας εκδρομές , φτάσαμε εδώ βράδυ από την Ούρφα μέσω Κιζίλτεπε. Ερχόμασταν πρώτη φορά. Ο ήλιος κόντευε να βασιλέψει. Το Μάρντιν είναι ωραίο από όποιο σημείο κι αν το κοιτάξεις, όπως η Ισταμπούλ. Καθώς όμως προχωρούσαμε κι από το Κιζίλτεπε φάνηκε το Μάρντιν, μείναμε ενεοί, τι θέα ήτανε αυτή, είχαμε αντικρύσει τη Μεσοποταμία και το Μάρντιν που λες κι έχει ένα απόκοσμο μάτι που βλέπει τη Μεσοποταμία. Το φως που αντανακλούσε από το κάθε σπίτι έπεφτε με τέτοιο τρόπο πάνω στην πεδιάδα της Μεσοποταμίας, που θαρρείς το καθένα ανήκε σε μια βούληση εκτός του κόσμου τούτου, η οποία παρατηρούσε να δει πώς χρησιμοποιούν άραγε οι άνθρωποι τις ομορφιές που ευαρεστούμενη τους πρόσφερα… Σκέφτηκα πως το κάθε τζαμί, η κάθε εκκλησία, ο κάθε τόπος λατρείας, ο κάθε μεντρεσές, εκείνη τη βούληση αντανακλούσε.
Όπως ακριβώς η Ιερουσαλήμ… Πηγαίνετε στο Όρος των Ελαιών και κοιτάξτε από εκεί την Ιερουσαλήμ, δεν θα χορταίνεται να κοιτάτε. Στην Ιερουσαλήμ είναι το Μεστζίντι Ακσά, είναι εκκλησίες, είναι συναγωγές, αλλά η Ιερουσαλήμ είναι η ανθρωπότητα. Ίδια όπως το Μάρντιν είναι η σύνοψη της ιστορίας της ανθρωπότητας.
Συνέβησαν πράγματα που χώρισαν την ανθρωπότητα, που δίχασαν τις κοινωνίες, που προκάλεσαν αντιθέσεις στη βάση του έθνους και του δόγματος, υπήρξαν όμως κι αυτά που την ένωσαν. Την ένωσαν οι πόλεις. Δεν υπάρχει πολιτισμός όπου δεν υπάρχει πόλη, δεν υπάρχει ανθρωπότητα εκεί όπου δεν υπάρχει πολιτισμός. Όσοι ενστερνίζονται την κουλτούρα της πόλης, δεν προσπαθούν ποτέ να δημιουργήσουν μια πόλη μονο-πολιτιστική, μονο-εθνοτική, μονο-δογματική. Γιατί αν μια πόλη γίνει ομοιόμορφη, χάνει την ιδιότητα της ως πόλη. Ιδού λοιπόν, το Μάρντιν όπως έχει μεταφερθεί στο σήμερα, το πιο όμορφο παράδειγμα του αρχαίου και της πόλης… [μεταφράζεται ως ‘αρχαίο’ η λέξη kadim που χρησιμοποιεί, λέξη αραβικής προέλευσης που σημαίνει ‘αυτό που δεν έχει αρχή’, το παλιό, το ανέκαθεν, το άχρονο. Στα σύγχρονα τουρκικά το αρχαίο εκφράζεται με τη λέξη antik, ενώ το kadim χρησιμεύει πιο πολύ ως λόγιο στοιχείο, όπως στη φράση kadim dost=παλιός φίλος]
Λέμε ‘παράδειγμα αρχαίου’, θα πρέπει να ορίσουμε και το ‘αρχαίο’.
Το αρχαίο είναι η πιο θεμελιώδης έννοια της οθωμανικής κουλτούρας. Όταν ήθελε να περιγράψει τον εαυτό του ο Οθωμανός χρησιμοποιούσε τη λέξη ‘αρχαίο’. Αρχαίο θα πει κείνο που είναι τόσο παλιό ώστε η απαρχή του δεν μπορεί να εξακριβωθεί, όποιο λογαριασμό κι αν κάνει κανείς. Δηλαδή, ερευνά κανείς, μελετά, πηγαίνει στα βάθη των αρχείων… εκείνο όμως υπάρχει πριν από αυτά. Ο θεσμός της οικογένειας λόγου χάρη είναι αρχαίος θεσμός. Δεν είναι νοητή η ζωή της ανθρωπότητας χωρίς την οικογένεια. Αρχαίο είναι εκείνο που αντιπροσωπεύει το δέντρο που οι ρίζες του πάνε βαθιά. Όταν λέμε αρχαίος πολιτισμός εννοούμε τον πολιτισμό που εμπεριέχει όλα τα στοιχεία της ανθρωπότητας.
Το αρχαίο αυτό βρίσκει την εκδήλωσή του στο Μάρντιν.
Πολλοί ερεύνησαν την ιστορία του Μάρντιν. Και στο σημείο αυτό μνημονεύω με έπαινο και επιδοκιμασία τον Ιμπραχίμ μπέη –πριν από λίγο μάλιστα απέκτησα μερικά βιβλία του χάρη στον κ. Πρύτανη. Ίσως το πόσο μεγάλο πανεπιστήμιο θα γίνει το Αρτουκλού να εξαρτάται και λίγο από το πόσο θα μελετήσει το Μάρντιν. Πόσο θα καταφέρει να ζωντανέψει τις παραδόσεις Ζιντζίριε, Κασίμιε, Λατίφιε, Χατούνιε (πρόκειται για σημαντικούς μεντρεσέδες που ιδρύθηκαν μεταξύ 1385 και 1485 και δίδαξαν σε αυτούς θρησκεία και επιστήμες διάφοροι σπουδαίοι δάσκαλοι)–ελπίζουμε ότι θα το καταφέρει.
Πηγαίνετε όσο παλιά θέλετε, δεν νομίζω ότι θα μπορέσετε να βρείτε μια ημερομηνία για να πείτε, ιδού, αυτή είναι η αρχή της ιστορίας του Μάρντιν.
Λέγεται ότι πριν από επτά χιλιάδες χρόνια υπήρχαν στο Μάρντιν επτά διαφορετικές γλώσσες, επτά διαφορετικές θρησκείες, επτά διαφορετικοί πολιτισμοί. Είναι πέρασμα το Μάρντιν. Είναι πόλη συνοριακή αλλά ταυτόχρονα κεντρική πόλη. Το είδαμε πριν από λίγο στην προβολή. Η Ντάρα (το βυζαντινό Οχυρό Δάρα) ήταν πόλη στρατόπεδο ανάμεσα στους Σασσανίδες και την Ανατολική Ρωμαϊκή Αυτοκρατορία. Για πολλούς αιώνες υπήρξε συνοριακή πόλη ανάμεσα στην Ανατολική Ρώμη και τους Σασσανίδες. Κι ύστερα, μερικούς αιώνες αργότερα, έγινε, τούτη τη φορά, πρωτεύουσα του Αρτουκλού. Και ορθοπόδησε παντοιοτρόπως. Θαρρείς και τα απόκοσμα μάτια που κοιτούν την πεδιάδα της Μεσοποταμίας, είπαν και τώρα ας γίνει το Μάρντιν το κέντρο της Μεσοποταμίας. Κι ύστερα και το Μάρντιν ξαναγίνεται συνοριακή πόλη, διατηρώντας την λαμπρότητά του, ανάμεσα στους Αρτουκλού και τους αναδυόμενους οθωμανούς. Η πόλη μας στο σύνορο με το Ιράκ και τη Συρία.
Ποιος είναι ο στόχος μας; Να κάνουμε το Μάρντιν ξανά κεντρική πόλη της περιοχής. Θέλουμε όλοι οι δρόμοι να περνούν από το Μάρντιν, όλοι οι πολιτισμοί να περνούν από εδώ, όλο το εμπόριο να έχει με κάποιο τρόπο μια επαφή με το Μάρντιν. Θέλουμε η μεγάλη τέχνη που άνθισε εδώ να διαδοθεί παντού. Θέλουμε, όπως και η Ούρφα που αναφέρθηκε προηγουμένως στη στρατηγική σχετικά με τις γειτονικές χώρες, έτσι και το Μάρντιν να μην χαρακτηρίζονται απλώς από το γεγονός ότι είναι πόλεις συνοριακές, αλλά να αποκτήσουν την ιδιότητα του κέντρου όλης της Μέσης Ανατολής. Γιατί το Μάρντιν δεν είναι μια πόλη που εφευρέθηκε εκ των υστέρων. Είναι μια πόλη –με την έννοια που χρησιμοποιείται σήμερα για διάφορα φυτά- ‘οργανική’ (βιολογικής καλλιέργειας), επειδή είναι παλιά. Θα έλεγα μάλιστα κυριολεκτικά οργανική. Μακάρι να μπορούσα να είχα ζήσει περισσότερο καιρό στο Μάρντιν -δεν μπόρεσα να μείνω παρά λίγες μέρες σ’ εκείνη την εκδρομή και ξανάρθα μερικές φορές ακόμη με την ευκαιρία κάποιων συνεδρίων.
Αν θέλετε να ανακαλύψετε την ψυχή μιας πόλης που έχει ψυχή, τότε, ή θα τη γυρίσετε νύχτα ή θα βγείτε στο δρόμο πρωί αχάραγα και θα παρακολουθήσετε την ανατολή του ήλιου μαζί με την πόλη. Ειδικά σε πόλεις όπως το Μάρντιν που βλέπουν στην πεδιάδα της Μεσοποταμίας ή όπως η Ισταμπούλ που βλέπει στο Βόσπορο. Δεν υπάρχει τίποτε το περιττό όταν τριγυρνάτε στα άδεια σοκάκια του Μάρντιν. Τώρα φαίνεται πως έχουν δημιουργηθεί κάποια ‘περιττά’, αλλά ο Νομάρχης μας άρχισε να τα καθαρίζει. Στρεβλή δόμηση. Όταν περιδιαβαίνει κανείς τα σοκάκια ανάμεσα στο Ουλού Τζαμί και το Ζιντζίριε στην παλιά πόλη, όλα είναι τόσο εξαίσια τοποθετημένα στο φυσικό τους χώρο… Τα σοκάκια αυτά είναι σε τέτοια στενή και βαθιά επαφή μεταξύ τους –νιώθει κανείς σαν να πηγαίνει βόλτα σε ένα ωραίο δάσος όπου όλα ζουν το ένα δίπλα στο άλλο, σε απόλυτη επικοινωνία και επαφή. Τίποτα δεν είναι περιττό, τίποτα τεχνητό.
Να πω και κάτι ακόμα σχετικά με το βιολογικό και συνδυάστε αυτή την παλιά φυσικότητα με τον μοντερνισμό.
Το Μάρντιν είναι επίσης μια πόλη υγιεινή. Οι πέτρες του είναι ασβεστόλιθοι και του προσδίδουν έναν αέρα υγιεινής. Όταν ανακαλύπτετε το Μάρντιν, ανακαλύπτετε συγχρόνως όλες τις ομορφιές του αρχαίου πολιτισμού. Τα χρώματα που άφησαν πίσω τους οι φυλές που πέρασαν από εδώ, τα στοιχεία που άφησαν οι πολιτισμοί που εγκαταστάθηκαν εδώ, στοιχεία που μεταφέρονται στις επόμενες γενιές –τα βλέπετε όλα αυτά δια γυμνού οφθαλμού. Γι’ αυτό η σημερινή παγκόσμια τάξη κι αν είναι κάποτε να δημιουργηθεί μια τάξη –εννοώ μια τάξη οικουμενική-, χρειάζεται, όπως είπα και πριν μερικές μέρες στην έναρξη αυτού του συνεδρίου, μια φιλοσοφία. Γιατί βρισκόμαστε αντιμέτωποι με σοβαρές κρίσεις –θα αναφερθώ στο θέμα αυτό αργότερα. Αν κάποια μέρα, και η μέρα αυτή δεν είναι πολύ μακριά γιατί πρόκειται περί βαθειάς ανάγκης, αρχίσουμε να καταβάλουμε προσπάθειες για να ξεπεραστούν οι κρίσεις, με τη φιλοσοφική έννοια, εκείνοι που θα το κάνουν αυτό πρέπει να κατανοήσουν την ψυχή και το πνεύμα του Μάρντιν. Γιατί η πόλη αυτή έζησε οργανικά, με τη φυσικότητά της με το αρχαίο, συνυπήρξε μ’ αυτό και μ’ αυτό θα διατηρήσει την ύπαρξη της ως την αιωνιότητα. Δικό μας καθήκον είναι να προστατέψουμε το πνεύμα αυτό και την ψυχή. Δικό μας καθήκον είναι να διασπείρουμε ως μήνυμα στο σύνολο της χώρας μας αλλά και σε ολόκληρο την κόσμο την έμπνευση που παίρνουμε από το πνεύμα αυτό και την ψυχή. Είπα ‘αρχαία τάξη’. Στο σημείο αυτό καλό είναι να καταλάβει κανείς τη σχέση ανάμεσα στη νοοτροπία και την τάξη για να καταλάβει το ‘αρχαίο’.
Νομίζουμε –πράγμα που είναι μια ιστορική πλάνη- ότι αυτοί που ζούσαν τότε και τα όσα ζούσαν, ανήκαν στο τότε, είχαν τα ιδιαίτερα χαρακτηριστικά της εποχής και των γενεών εκείνων. Εμείς βιώνουμε κάτι τώρα, παρακολουθούμε τις μεγάλες τεχνολογικές αλλαγές. Και λέμε πως είμαστε μια πολύ τυχερή γενιά ή μια άτυχη γενιά βάσει των όσων βιώνουμε. Πολλές γενιές στην ιστορία, νόμισαν, με τον ίδιο τρόπο, ότι ήταν οι πιο σπουδαίοι πρωταγωσνιστές της ιστορίας.
Βρισκόμαστε τώρα αντιμέτωποι με ένα φαινόμενο που λέγεται παγκοσμιοποίηση καθώς και με τα προβλήματα που δημιουργεί… Και σκεπτόμαστε ότι μονάχα εμείς το ζούμε, πως δεν έχει προηγούμενο. Αυτό είναι άνευ προηγουμένου, λέμε. Ναι, ίσως στο πλαίσιο αυτό να μην έχει προηγούμενο. Αλλά, ίσως όχι στο ίδιο πλαίσιο, αλλά στο παρελθόν η ανθρωπότητα είχε σίγουρα κάποια παρόμοια εμπειρία. Αν αυτό το αντιληφθούμε σωστά, [τότε] μπορούμε να οικοδομήσουμε το μέλλον σωστά.
Πώς δηλαδή, θα πείτε.
Ρίξτε μια ματιά στους αιώνες μεταξύ του 5ου και 7ου αιώνα π.Χ. Πρόκειται για μια περίοδο όπου μεγάλα ρεύματα, θρησκευτικά, ιδέες θρησκευτικές διαδόθηκαν στο σύνολο του πλανήτη. Η περίοδος αυτή προσφέρει θαρρείς ένα εργαστηριακό παράδειγμα για να τεθεί σωστά η σχέση ανάμεσα στη νοοτροπία και την τάξη. Τάξη δεν μπορεί να δημιουργηθεί χωρίς την αλλαγή νοοτροπίας. Στην περίοδο εκείνη υπάρχουν τα σημάδια του ότι μια νέα τάξη μπορεί να δημιουργηθεί μόνο με μια νέα νοοτροπία. Τους αιώνες αυτούς σε διάφορες γωνιές της γης, σε διαφορετικές περιοχές όπου ανθούσαν πολιτισμοί παρουσιάστηκαν σημαντικά φιλοσοφικά ρεύματα, ηγετικές φυσιογνωμίες, θρησκευτικοί αρχηγοί. Λόγου χάρη στην περιοχή του ελληνικού πολιτισμού είχαμε τον Σωκράτη, τον Πλάτωνα, τον Αριστοτέλη. Επί μερικές γενιές, τη μια μετά την άλλη. Την ίδια περίοδο και λίγο πριν, περίπου δύο αιώνες πριν, έζησαν ο Ζαρατούστρα στο Ιράν, ο Βούδας στην Ινδία, ο Κομφούκιος και το Ταό στην Κίνα. Και δύο τρεις αιώνες αργότερα, η διανοητική κινητικότητα που δημιούργησαν αυτά τα φιλοσοφικά ρεύματα, έγινε αιτία να αναδυθούν σημαντικά τοπικά καθεστώτα (τάξεις). Κι αυτά τα περιφερειακά καθεστώτα άρχισαν να διαχέοντα το ένα μέσα στο άλλο. Μαθητής του Αριστοτέλη ο Μέγας Αλέξανδρος, ό,τι πήρε από το δάσκαλό του, πολλαπλασιάζοντας το καθ΄οδόν -πέρασε έξω απ’ το Μάρντιν- το μετέφερε ως τις Ινδίες και την Αίγυπτο. Δημιουργήθηκαν πάμπολλες πόλεις με τ’ όνομα του (Αλεξάνδρειες) και αναδύθηκε μια τάξη.
Η Μεγάλη Περσική Αυτοκρατορία, που απόρροια της είναι μια από τις πιο ριζωμένες αρχαίες πόλεις, η Περσέπολις, ήρθε αντιμέτωπη [με τον Μεγαλέξαντρο] και αναδύθηκε η κινητικότητα το Ιράν.
Στις Ινδίες, μερικούς αιώνες μετά τον Βούδα εμφανίστηκαν οι αυτοκρατορίες του Ασόκα και των Μαούρια, στην Κίνα μερικούς αιώνες μετά τον Κομφούκιο εμφανίστηκε η Αυτοκρατορία των Μεγάλων Χάνων. Αυτές δημιούργησαν μεγάλα καθεστώτα. Τα καθεστώτα αυτά θα δημιουργούσαν αργότερα το Δρόμο του Μεταξιού με παρεπόμενα τις εμπορικές ανταλλαγές και τις πολιτιστικές αλληλεπιδράσεις.
Δηλαδή, κάτι παρόμοιο με την παγκοσμιοποίηση που ζούμε σήμερα, βιώθηκε σε παλιότερες εποχές.
Ο ισλαμικός πολιτισμός πάλι γεννήθηκε γύρω ‘από το δόγμα της μοναδικότητας του Θεού’ [το Κοράνι] στη Μεδίνα. Αλλά, έχτισε τη Γρανάδα, την Κόρδοβα. Το Μαρακές. Τη Βαγδάτη. Μετέφερε το πνεύμα αυτό στην Ισταμπούλ. Στη Μπουχάρα, το Ισφαχάν, την Μπάλχ. Αν δεν είχε βιώσει τη μεταμόρφωση της νοοτροπίας της ισότητας στον τόπο που γεννήθηκε, στη Μέκκα και τη Μεδίνα, δεν θα μπορούσε να παρουσιάσει μια τέτοια αντίληψη τάξης.
Αν θέλετε να κατανοήσετε, μετέπειτα, την Οθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, πρέπει να έχετε καταλάβει την περιπέτεια των Σελτσουκιδών, την περιπέτεια του Αρτουκλού που προηγήθηκαν. Πρέπει να καταλάβετε το τόξο που εκτάθηκε απ’ την κεντρική Ασία ως την Ανατολία, το πώς αναμείχθηκαν με τους πολιτισμούς οι άνθρωποι που κινούνταν μες στο τόξο και τι είδους συνθέσεις δημιούργησε η ανάμειξη αυτή στην Ανατολία. Το πνεύμα της τάξης που λέμε οθωμανική δεν πρωτοπαρουσιάστηκε τον 16ο αιώνα. Αναδύθηκε από τη συνάντηση εκείνων των κινητικών ανθρώπινων στοιχείων και του σταθερού χώρου. Οι άνθρωποι κινήθηκαν από την κεντρική Ασία κατά μεγάλα μεταναστευτικά ρεύματα, αλλά έχτισαν νέες τάξεις στα μέρη που συνάντησαν. … Προϊόν μιας τέτοιας σύνθεσης –της σύνθεσης Ιράν-Τουράν- είναι οι Σελτσουκίδες. Δάσκαλος ή βεζίρης του Μελικσάχ, γιού του Αλπασλάν, ήταν ο Νιζαμούλ-μουλκ. Σύνθεση δύο πολιτισμών από τους οποίους ο ένας ήταν πιο κινητικός ό άλλος πιο εγκατεστημένος.
Ύστερα, η κινητικότητα αυτή δημιούργησε μεγάλες συνθέσεις στην Ανατολία. Το Μάρντιν είναι μια από τις συνθέσεις αυτές, η Μεσοποταμία είναι μια άλλη. Οι κοινότητες που έφεραν μαζί τους την κινητικότητα ενώθηκαν με τις εγκατεστημένες, εκείνες δηλαδή που κατοικούσαν εκείνη την εποχή εδώ και μαζί δημιούργησαν μεγάλους και ισχυρούς πολιτισμούς. Βγάλτε μια από αυτές [τις κοινότητες] εκτός ιστορίας κι έχετε εξολοθρέψει και την άλλη. Σταθερή ήταν η Μεσοποταμία, η Ανατολία του Ρουμ της εποχής εκείνης. Γι’ αυτό και το όνομα του Μεβλανά ήταν Μεβλανά Τζελαλεντίν Ρουμί. Γεννήθηκε στη Μπαλχ και μέσω Ιράν ήρθε και εγκαταστάθηκε στην Ανατολία. Επηρεάστηκε από τον πολιτισμό της Μεσοποταμίας. Και τις εποχές εκείνες οι άνθρωποι δεν χωρίζονταν σε τουρκομάνους, κούρδους, άραβες, ιρανούς, πέρσες. Δεν διαχωρίζονταν βάσει της εθνικότητάς τους. Ο τόσο ισχυρός πολιτισμός της Μεσοποταμίας αναδύθηκε μέσα από την ιστορική εμπειρία όλων των λαών που ζούσαν εδώ, των συροχαλδαίων, των γιελντανί, των κελντανί, των περσών και ίδρυσε μεγάλα κέντρα από την συνάντηση του με τα κινητικά και με βαθιές ρίζες τουρκικά και τουρανικά στοιχεία.
Η οθωμανική αυτοκρατορία αναδύθηκε τον 12ο – 13ο αιώνα επειδή κατάφερε να αξιοποιήσει τη σύνθεση αυτή, επειδή την ανέμειξε, ή, αλλιώς, επειδή υπήρχε ένας τέτοιος πολιτισμός εκεί, από μέσα του βγήκε η Οθωμανική αυτοκρατορία. Και γι’ αυτό οι οθωμανοί χρησιμοποίησαν την έννοια ‘αρχαίο’. Εννοούσαν τούτο: Εγώ μπορεί να μην ξέρω το χρώμα, τη φυλή, το δόγμα σας και ως κράτος δεν χρειάζεται καν να ξέρω. Όμως, όλοι σας, ως μέρος της ανθρωπότητας και ως προέκταση του αρχαίου είστε για μένα ιεροί. Γι’ αυτό ο σουλτάνος Μεχμέτ ο Πορθητής πλάι στο ‘σουλτάνος’ και το ‘χαγάνος’ –αργότερα προστίθεται το ‘χαλίφης’- χρησιμοποίησε χωρίς αναστολή τον τίτλο ‘καίσαρας των ρωμαίων’. Καίσαρας των Ρωμαίων. Γιατί βρισκόντουσαν εκεί. Γιατί εκεί που ήταν υπήρχε το Ιράν κι όλες αυτές οι διαφορετικές κουλτούρες. Με την αντίληψη αυτή, η έννοια ‘αρχαίος’ χρησιμοποιήθηκε για να ορίσει την τάξη που ένωσε όλους τους προς τα πίσω πολιτισμούς. Κι αυτός [ο Πορθητής] που κοιτούσε με το ίδιο μέτρο το μέλλον, ακριβώς επειδή κατανοούσε το αρχαίο, ονόμασε το κράτος αιώνιο κράτος [devleti ebed müddet], ρήση που σημαίνει την αντίληψη για ένα κράτος που θα διαρκέσει αιώνια. Το αιώνιο κράτος έπρεπε να βασίζεται σε ένα ριζωμένο αρχαίο.
Οι κουλτούρες που αναμείχθηκαν στα χώματα αυτά, βοήθησαν η μια την άλλη σε δύσκολους καιρούς. Στον Πόλεμο της Ανεξαρτησίας, στον Πρώτο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο. Όταν μιλάμε με τους ιρακινούς για την Κουτούλ-Αμάρα [σημερινή Ελ-Κουτ (160 χλμ από τη Βαγδάτη) που κατέλαβαν οι άγγλοι το 1915 και όπου ο οθωμανικός στρατός κατήγαγε ένδοξη μάχη εναντίον τους] συγκινούνται και αυτοί, συγκινούμαστε και εμείς. Διότι όταν τότε ο οθωμανικός στρατός πολεμούσε με τους άγγλους, στο στρατό εκείνο υπήρχαν όλοι -τούρκοι, κούρδοι, άραβες, συροχαλδαίοι, κελντανί, γιεζιντί. Αυτή είναι η ενότητα που αποτελεί το θεμέλιο της σημερινής τουρκο-ιρακινής φιλίας. Αυτή η ενότητα απέναντι στο πεπρωμένο.
Για το λόγο αυτό, σε ένα άλλο άρθρο μου, πάλι πριν να πάρω το σημερινό μου πόστο, είχα χρησιμοποιήσει μια έννοια πέρα από την έννοια της υπηκοότητας, την έννοια του ΄συμπατριωτισμού’, μια έννοια που από νομική άποψη μας περιζώνει όλους και σημαίνει ‘αυτούς που έχουν μοιραστεί την ίδια ιστορία’. Όποιοι δεν έχουν ζήσει μια κοινή ιστορία ακόμη κι αν είναι συμπατριώτες, όπως στη Γιουγκοσλαβία, δεν μπορούν να προσδώσουν νόημα στο ‘συμπατριωτισμό’. Η υπηκοότητα δημιουργεί νομικούς δεσμούς, η έννοια ‘αυτού που έχει μοιραστεί την ίδια ιστορία’ δημιουργεί κοινωνικούς δεσμούς, μείξεις. Για το λόγο αυτό η βάση της χώρας μας, της κοινωνίας μας, η μαγιά της, είναι πολύ ισχυρή. Με την ίδια λογική, με την ίδια προοπτική δημιουργήθηκε από την αρχή η Δημοκρατία μας.
Η Αλβανία στα Βαλκάνια σήμερα, ή, ας πούμε, το Αζερμπαϊτζάν στον Καύκοασο, η Βοσνία Ερζεγοβίνη, το Ιράκ, η Συρία είναι διαφορετικά κράτη –οι λαοί του Καυκάσου, οι λαοί των Βαλκανίων, οι λαοί της Μέσης Ανατολής είναι χωρισμένοι κατά διαφορετικά κράτη. Στην Ισταμπούλ όμως ή σε οποιαδήποτε άλλη μεγάλη πόλη μας, αν μπείτε σε μια πολυκατοικία μπορεί να δείτε ότι σε ένα πάτωμα μένει ένας αλβανός, στο άλλο ένας βόσνιος, ένας τσετσένος, ένας αζέρος. Όλοι αυτοί, επειδή είναι προϊόντα αυτής της ανάμειξης, είναι κατ’ εμάς, ισότιμοι πολίτες της Τουρκικής Δημοκρατίας. Κι επειδή συνδέονται μεταξύ τους με τα δεσμά αυτά –του ‘συμπατριωτισμού-, θα συνεχίσει η δημοκρατία μας, ο λαός μας, το κράτος μας να ζει ενωμένο ως όλο.
Επικαλούμενος την υπομονή σας, θα ήθελα να επισημάνω ακόμη μερικά σημεία κοιτώντας από αυτό το ιστορικό και φιλοσοφικό φόντο και λαμβάνοντας υπόψη τις αντανακλάσεις του φόντου αυτού στον οικουμενικό πολιτισμό.
Ναι, ο κόσμος χρειάζεται μια νέα τάξη.
Η νέα αυτή τάξη μπορεί να δημιουργηθεί με μια φιλοσοφική οπτική που θα φέρει εντός της τα στοιχεία που ανέφερα προηγουμένως σχετικά με το Μάρντιν. Ποιες θα πρέπει να είναι οι αρχές αυτής της νέας τάξης και ποιο ρόλο θα μπορούσε να παίξει στις αρχές αυτές η Τουρκία;
Πρώτον, η νέα αυτή τάξη πρέπει να είναι μια τάξη ‘δεκτική’, όχι απορριπτική. Δεν πρέπει να απορρίπτει καμιά χώρα, καμιά ήπειρο, κανένα λαό, κανένα χρώμα. Πρέπει να βασίζεται σε ταυτότητες που ‘είναι δεκτικές’. Όχι στους άξονες Ανατολή-Δύση, Βορράς-Νότος. Αντιθέτως, πρέπει να προσφέρει στέγη, να καλύπτει όλες τις ταυτότητες, όλους τους άξονες.
Τότε μόνο μπορεί να δημιουργηθεί μια τάξη που να ερίζει πως είναι οικουμενική. Προϋπόθεση μιας ‘δεκτικής’ τάξης είναι η δημιουργία μιας ενοποιητικής ταυτότητας.
Υπάρχουν σήμερα σε πάμπολλα μέρη του κόσμο μας συγκρούσεις ταυτότητας και απορριπτικές συμπεριφορές –οι απορριπτικές αυτές συμπεριφορές, μιας ομάδας λόγου χάρη, φέρουν μαζί και μέσα τους στην πραγματικότητα μια τάξη όπου δεν υπάρχει καμιά ισότητα.
Τώρα είμαστε μέλη του Συμβουλίου Ασφαλείας των Ηνωμένων Εθνών. Το σύστημα των ΗΕ πρέπει να είναι ‘δεκτικό’. Όλοι να αισθάνονται ότι εκπροσωπούνται εκεί. Κανένας δεν πρέπει να απορρίπτεται.
Η Τουρκία ίσως να αποτελεί το πιο χτυπητό παράδειγμα αυτής της αρχής. Τίθενται διάφορες ερωτήσεις. Λένε λόγου χάρη για την Τουρκία ότι είναι γέφυρα ανάμεσα στην Ανατολή και τη Δύση, έτσι δεν είναι; Είναι, λένε επίσης, ρυθμιστικός παράγοντας ανάμεσα σε Βορρά και Νότο.
Απ’ τη μια μεριά, η Τουρκία υπερασπιστής της ανάμειξης Ανατολής-Δύσης και των διαφόρων πολιτισμών στο πρόγραμμα του Συνασπισμού των Πολιτισμών, απ’ την άλλη η Τουρκία άμεσος ανακλαστήρας των οικονομικών ανισοτήτων ανάμεσα σε Βορρά-Νότο ως μέλος των G-20.
Τι ακριβώς εκπροσωπούμε εμείς, δηλαδή;
Το ερώτημα αυτό μου έθεσε, σε μια συνάντηση που είχαμε, ένας πρώην γενικός γραμματέας του Υπουργείου μας. Θα ήθελα τώρα να το εκφράσω πιο καθαρά. Εμείς τους εκπροσωπούμε όλους. Γιατί ο αρχαίος πλούτος που έχουμε μας κάνει να συναντιόμαστε με όλους τους πολιτισμούς της Ανατολής, έχουμε πάρει κάτι από όλες αυτές τις κουλτούρες, ταυτόχρονα όμως, με την έννοια της πολιτικής κουλτούρας βρισκόμαστε στο κέντρο της Δύσης. Η υποψηφιότητά μας να γίνουμε μέλος της ΕΕ, οι επαφές μας στην Ασία, οι δεσμοί μας στη Μέση Ανατολή δεν είναι, με την έννοια αυτή, αντικρουόμενοι, αλλά δημιουργούν μια ολότητα. Γι’ αυτό όσο ‘γίνουμε δεκτικοί’ σε όλα αυτά, όσο πιο δραστικά κινούμαστε σ’ αυτά τα επίπεδα, τόσο πιο ενεργητικό ρόλο θα έχει η Τουρκία στην αναζήτηση της οικουμενικής τάξης.
Για ένα πράγμα να είστε βέβαιοι! Απ’ την σκοπιά αυτής της αρχής –της δεκτικότητας-, καμιά χώρα στον κόσμο δεν έχει την ιδιαιτερότητα της Τουρκίας να αντιπροσωπεύει την εμπειρία της ανθρωπότητας. Εμείς είμαστε σίγουροι γι’ αυτό και προχωρούμε στην εξωτερική μας πολιτική με αυτή την αυτοπεποίθηση.
Δεύτερο, αυτή η νέα τάξη πρέπει να είναι ‘συμμετοχική’.
Δηλαδή, αυτοί που πρόκειται να αποτελέσουν στοιχεία αυτής της τάξης πρέπει να λειτουργούν ίδια όπως η πόλη του Μάρντιν, όπου διαφορετικά στοιχεία έζησαν μαζί σε αλληλεπίδραση –το παγκόσμιο σύστημα μπορεί να επιβιώσει αποκλειστικά και μόνο αν είναι συμμετοχικό. Το σύστημα των ΗΕ, δεν είναι αρκετό να βασίζει τη λειτουργία του στα πέντε μόνιμα μέλη. Οι δομές που στηρίζονται στις πολιτικές εξισώσεις που δημιουργήθηκαν μετά το Δεύτερο Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο χάνουν πλέον σιγά σιγά την βαρύτητα, την εγκυρότητά τους. Χρειάζεται να επιδειχτεί μια πιο συμμετοχική προσέγγιση. Είμαστε υποχρεωμένοι να αντιληφθούμε σωστά την αλλαγή της ευρω-κεντρικής δομής του 19ου αιώνα.
Θα ήθελα να αναφερθώ για άλλη μια φορά στο σημείο αυτό, στη σχέση ανάμεσα στην παγκοσμιοποίηση και το μοντερνισμό που ανέφερα πριν από λίγο. Όπως στους αρχαίους πολιτισμούς υπήρχε σχέση ανάμεσα στη νοοτροπία και την τάξη, ακριβώς το ίδιο συνέβη και την ώρα που αναδυόταν ο μοντερνισμός, από τον 14ο ως τον 18ο αιώνα, η μεταρρύθμιση, η αναγέννηση, οι μεγάλες διανοητικές επαναστάσεις, οι μεγάλες αλλαγές στη φυσική όπως η μηχανική του Νεύτωνα. Ως αντανάκλασή αυτών ο 19ος αιώνας έγινε ένας ευρω-κεντρικός αιώνας. Ο 20ος είναι ένας αιώνας με κέντρο τον Ατλαντικό.
Αλλά με την εμφάνιση της παγκοσμιοποίησης, ιδού, οι άνοδοι στην Ασία, οι νέες αναζητήσεις στη Λατινική Αμερική, οι αναδεύσεις στην Αφρική, μας δείχνουν ότι στον αιώνα που διανύουμε, αν καταστεί δυνατόν να δημιουργηθεί μια συμμετοχική τάξη, τότε μόνο θα εξασφαλιστεί μια παγκόσμια τάξη και όποιοι συντελεστές μπορέσουν να συνεισφέρουν στη συμμετοχική αυτή τάξη, αυτοί θα βγουν στο προσκήνιο ως σημαντικοί συντελεστές.
Εμείς ορίσαμε με την έννοια αυτή την ΕΕ ως στρατηγικό στόχο. Αλλά ποτέ δεν θα παραμελήσουμε τους δεσμούς μας στην Ασία, τις επαφές μας στη Μέση Ανατολή, τις ρίζες μας στα Βαλκάνια, ούτε τον Καύκασο και την Αφρική.
Γιατί όσο πιο συμμετοχικά μπορέσουμε να τους εκπροσωπήσουμε, στον ίδιο βαθμό θα μπορέσουμε να έχουμε λόγο στην παγκόσμια τάξη.
Θέλω να μοιραστώ μαζί σας ένα πολύ ενδιαφέρον παράδειγμα.
Πέρυσι, πριν από την συνάντηση των G-20, ήμασταν με τον Πρόεδρο της Δημοκρατίας στην Τανζανία. Ο Πρόεδρος της Τανζανίας ζήτησε μια χάρη από τον Πρόεδρο μας: ‘Η Αφρική δεν εκπροσωπείται όπως θα της άξιζε στους G-20, σας παρακαλούμε γίνετε εσείς εκπρόσωπός μας, εκπρόσωπος δηλαδή της Αφρικής στους G-20’.
Εκείνοι που δεν μπορούν να συμμετάσχουν στο παγκόσμιο σύστημα, εκείνοι που παραπονούνται για την ανισότητα του παγκόσμιου συστήματος, εκείνοι που περιμένουν μια φωνή να τους στηρίξει, στρέφουν το βλέμμα τους στην Τουρκία.
Για αυτό το λόγο η παρέμβαση του Πρωθυπουργού μας πέρσι για το θέμα της Παλαιστίνης, η δίκαιη κραυγή του, βρήκε ανταπόκριση όχι μόνο στη Μέση Ανατολή αλλά σε ολόκληρο τον κόσμο. Για το λόγο αυτό το νέο όραμα που θέλουμε να εγκαθιδρύσουμε στη Μέση Ανατολή βρίσκει απήχηση σε κάθε γωνιά του κόσμου. Την ώρα που η Μέση Ανατολή διαμελίζεται, εμείς με το όραμα που έχουμε διακηρύξει, που διαμορφώνεται με την ισχυρή πολιτική βούληση που εκφράζει ο Πρωθυπουργός μας, γινόμαστε οι εκφραστές ενός διαφορετικού οράματος. Η Τουρκία προχωρεί στη διαμόρφωση σχέσεων ‘ενοποίησης’ με τους γείτονές της. Κι αυτό είναι ένα θέμα που σας αφορά πολύ.
Υπογράψαμε, όπως γνωρίζετε, τον περασμένο μήνα 51 συμφωνίες με τη Συρία. 48 συμφωνίες με το Ιράκ. Ποιος είναι ο στόχος μας; Ο στόχος μας είναι ο ακόλουθος: να πάψουν το Μάρντιν, η Ούρφα, το Γκαζιαντέπ να είναι χωμένα σε μια γωνιά σαν πόλεις συνοριακές. Να συναντηθεί το Άντεπ με το Χαλέπι, το Μάρντιν με τη Μοσούλη, το Χαλέπι με την Λατάκεια και ακόμα πιο μακριά. Αυτή είναι η προσδοκία της τουρκικής κοινωνίας, αυτός είναι ο ορίζοντας της Τουρκίας.
Καθώς θα προχωράει η ‘ενοποίηση’ θα δούμε ότι αυτά που φαίνονται ως πολύ μεγάλες διαφορές, στην πραγματικότητα δεν είναι και τόσο μεγάλες διαφορές. Μοιραζόμαστε την ίδια κουλτούρα. Κοιτώντας από οποιοδήποτε σπίτι του Μάρντιν προς τη Μεσοποταμία είναι αδύνατο να δείτε πού αρχίζει το σύνορο ανάμεσα στην Τουρκία και τη Συρία. Η πεδιάδα αυτή απλώνεται και πάει, η πεδιάδα αυτή ήταν ενωμένη στη διάρκεια της ιστορίας, και έτσι θα είναι και στο εξής. Κανείς να μη σκέφτεται πως επειδή κάποιος σχεδίασε εκεί ένα σύνορο, ότι τα σύνορα θα είναι μόνιμα.
Και φυσικά θα σεβόμαστε τα σύνορα αλλά στα πλαίσια της φιλίας, ακριβώς όπως έγινε στην Ευρώπη, στην πορεία της δημιουργίας της ΕΕ, θα νοηματοδοτήσουμε αυτά τα σύνορα στο πλαίσιο της φιλίας. Θα φροντίσουμε ώστε να πάψουν τα σύνορα να είναι ‘τείχη’, θα τα μετατρέψουμε σε αληθινές ‘πύλες’ με την έννοια των συνοριακών πυλών. Η πύλη είναι για να εισέρχεται κανείς, η πύλη μένει ανοιχτή. Το τείχος δεν μπορείτε να το ανοίξετε. Έτσι ήταν ως τώρα το σύνορο Τουρκίας-Συρίας. Σαν να μην έφτανε που ήταν τείχος, είχε κιόλας ναρκοθετηθεί -για να προστατεύεται το τείχος. Λες και αυτοί που ζουν εκατέρωθεν αυτού του συνόρου θα ήθελαν να ζουν για πάντα χωριστά. Τώρα, οι νάρκες καθαρίζονται, άρχισαν να καθαρίζονται στο Νουσάϊμπιν (Νισυβύη). Το τείχος γκρεμίστηκε. Η Συρία και η Τουρκία αναμειγνύονται.
Όταν κατά τη διάρκεια της επίσκεψης του Μπεσάρ Άσαντ στην Τουρκία και μετά τη συνάντησή του με τον Πρωθυπουργό μας, ανακοινώσαμε μαζί με τον Βελίντ Μουαλίμ την είδηση ότι ‘καταργήθηκε η βίζα’, πιστέψτε με το τηλέφωνό μου δεν σταμάτησε να χτυπάει. Λάβαμε συγχαρητήρια απ’ όλη τη Μέση Ανατολή και ιδίως από τις συνοριακές περιοχές των δύο χωρών. Η είδηση εορτάστηκε σαν να ήταν γιορτή. Το τι συνέβαινε πριν από δέκα χρόνια, το ξέρει καλά ο Χουλουσί μπέης, Γενικός Πρόξενος μας στο Χαλέπι την εποχή εκείνη, πώς κατά μήκος των συνόρων πετούσαν ο ένας απ’ τη μια κι ο άλλος απ’ την άλλη τα δώρα τους μέσα σε τσουβάλια –αίσχος. Αταίριαστη εικόνα για κοινωνία του εικοστού αιώνα… εικόνα αταίριαστη με το πολιτισμό μας που αίρει τις καταβολές του από τους αρχαίους χρόνους. Σήμερα οι εικόνες εκείνες δεν υπάρχουν πια. Πολλά άλλα θα πάψουν να υπάρχουν. Εμείς, δεν θέλουμε πολέμους στην περιοχή μας, δεν θέλουμε εντάσεις. Θέλουμε αδελφοσύνη και ειρήνη. Θέλουμε η χώρα μας και οι σχέσεις μας να γίνουν ένα όμορφο μοντέλο που θα διαδοθεί στη Μέση Ανατολή.
Όχι μόνο με τη Συρία και το Ιράκ, καταργήσαμε τη βίζα και με την Ιορδανία. Με το Ιράκ, Θεού θέλοντος, θα κάνουμε ακόμη πιο προωθημένα βήματα μετά τις εκεί εκλογές. Όταν είχα πάει στη Μοσούλη, πρώτος τούρκος υπουργός εξωτερικών που πήγαινε στην πόλη αυτή, με είχε υποδεχτεί ο νομάρχης Μοσούλης κι είχαμε ζήσει πολύ συγκινητικές στιγμές. Η Μοσούλη, η Αρμπίλ, το Κιρκούκ ως πέρα τη Βασόρα είναι μέρη όπου εξακολουθούμε να μοιραζόμαστε μυρωδιές και χρώματα. Ένας κάτοικος της Βασόρας θα μπορεί να σηκωθεί ένα πρωί και να φτάσει χωρίς καμιά δυσκολία ως την Εντίρνε [Αδριανούπολη]–σας το εγγυώμαι αυτό.
Ή πάλι, από την Υεμένη, που σήμερα θεωρείται ότι είναι μέσα σε κρίση, θα μπορεί να ξεκινάει κάποιος και να έρχεται μέσω Σαουδικής Αραβίας, Ιορδανίας και Συρίας. Η Υεμένη δεν είναι για μας χώρα μακρινή. Ξέρουμε τα τραγούδια της και την ιστορία της. Είναι ένας τόπος όπου είχαν πάει οι προπάπποι μας ένα αιώνα πριν. Ο πόνος της είναι δικός μας πόνος. Πείτε μου τώρα, είναι δυνατόν να κοιμάται ήσυχος ένας τούρκος υπουργός εξωτερικών όταν στην Υεμένη γίνονται αυτές οι συγκρούσεις;
Ό,τι αισθανόμαστε για την Υεμένη, το αισθανόμαστε και για τη Βοσνία Ερζεγοβίνη. Το ίδιο αισθανόμαστε για τα βάθη της κεντρικής Ασίας. Δεν ξεχωρίζουμε τα μέρη αυτά. Χωρίς να μας νοιάζουν οι εθνοτικές καταβολές, θεωρούμε μέσα στα πλαίσια των ενδιαφερόντων μας κάθε κοινότητα που ‘έχει μοιραστεί μαζί μας την ίδια ιστορία’. Αυτό σημαίνει η αρχή της ‘συμμετοχικότητας’ που ανέφερα προηγουμένως. Δεν σκοπεύουμε να διαφεντέψουμε πάνω σε κανένα και δεν επιτρέπουμε να μας διαφεντεύει κανείς. Όμως, θα δώσουμε βαρύτητα και προσοχή ώστε η τάξη που θα δημιουργήσουμε να είναι μια τάξη όπου όλοι θα μετέχουν ισότιμα, όλοι τα συμβάλουν. Κι επιθυμούμε η οικουμενική τάξη να υιοθετήσει αυτή την αρχή της ‘συμμετοχικότητας’.
Τρίτη αρχή. Είμαστε υποχρεωμένοι να είμαστε ‘συνθετικοί’. Οι μονοδιάστατες, μονόχρωμες τάξεις δεν έχουν πιθανότητα επιβίωσης. Εξάλλου, αυτό που λέμε τάξη έχει νόημα μόνο αν συνδυάζει τα χρώματα. Σκεφτείτε ένα πίνακα που να έχει ζωγραφιστεί με ένα μοναδικό χρώμα. Ή βάλτε με το νου σας μια αρχιτεκτονική που να βασίζεται σε ένα απαράλλαχτο μοτίβο. Ένα κιλίμι που να μην περιέχει στο σχέδιο του παρά ένα μοναδικό στοιχείο. Τάξη θα πει διαφορετικότητες. Οτιδήποτε μονοδιάστατο μπορεί μετά από λίγο να γίνει αιτία σύγκρουσης.
Δικός μας στόχος είναι να γίνουμε εκφραστές κι εκπρόσωποι μιας φιλοσοφικής αντίληψης που συνδυάζει διαφορετικές εμπειρίες της ανθρωπότητας, που τις βλέπει ως μια σύνθεση και να αντικατοπτρίσουμε τη φιλοσοφική αυτή αντίληψη στον τομέα της εξωτερικής πολιτικής.
Την ερχόμενη εβδομάδα θα πάω στην Κροατία. Θα πραγματοποιήσουμε την τριμερή συνάντηση Τουρκίας-Κροατίας Βοσνίας Ερζεγοβίνης. Την άλλη μέρα θα πάω στο Βελιγράδι, όπου θα πραγματοποιήσουμε την συνάντηση Τουρκίας-Σερβίας-Βοσνίας Ερζεγοβίνης.
Γιατί γνωρίζουμε ότι αν θέλουμε να εγκαθιδρυθεί μιας καινούρια τάξη στα Βαλκάνια, πρέπει πρώτα να μπορέσουμε να δημιουργήσουμε τις ‘συνθέσεις’. Να υιοθετήσουμε μια προσέγγιση όχι βασισμένη στις προκαταλήψεις, στις αναμνήσεις των πόνων του παρελθόντος, αλλά μια προσέγγιση που να κοιτάει προς το μέλλον, που να διαμορφώνει έναν ορίζοντα και να φέρνει κοντά τα διαφορετικά στοιχεία.
Τέλος, ένα άλλο μάθημα που η οικουμενική τάξη πρέπει να πάρει από τον αρχαίο πολιτισμό, είναι η υιοθέτηση από τον άνθρωπο μιας προσέγγισης που να βασίζεται στην ισότητα. Όχι στις διαφορές, όχι στις πολώσεις και τα ιεραρχικά καθεστώτα, αλλά ένα μέλλον όπου ο καθένας θα έχει την αξία του απλά γιατί είναι άνθρωπος, και καθένας θα κατευθύνει το μέλλον του στο πλαίσιο της αλληλεπίδρασης χωρίς τη χρήση οποιουδήποτε μέσου ισχύος. Δηλαδή, έχουμε την ανάγκη μιας συμμετοχικής, συνθετικής και βασισμένης στην ισότητα διεθνούς τάξης. Τα σημάδια μιας τέτοιας τάξης μπορούμε να τα βρούμε μόνο στα βάθη της ιστορίας της ανθρωπότητας. Είναι ευτυχές το γεγονός ότι ζούμε σε μια χώρα που εμπεριέχει τα κάθε είδους παρελθόντα της ιστορίας της ανθρωπότητας. Έχουμε μια εκπληκτική πείρα που βασίζεται από τον ελληνικό πολιτισμό ως την Μεσοποταμία, από τον ιρανικό πολιτισμό ως τις επιρροές από την Αίγυπτο, από το χαρμάνι που δημιούργησαν οι τεράστιες μετακινήσεις από τις Ινδίες και την Κίνα, από την γεμάτη δυναμισμό εμπειρία που έχει έρθει από τα Βαλκάνια και τον Καύκασο. Εκείνο που τώρα μας χρειάζεται κι εκείνο που θα αποτελέσει άξονα για την εξωτερική μας πολιτική, που θα αποτελέσει κίνητρο, καταφύγιο και εστιακό σημείο της ψυχολογίας μας είναι το αίσθημα της αυτοπεποίθησης.
Πιστεύουμε στην ιστορία από την οποία προερχόμαστε. Εμείς, ενστερνιζόμαστε την ταυτότητά μας με όλα τα στοιχεία που την αποτελούν και την δομούν.
Και έχουμε εμπιστοσύνη σε εσάς, εμπιστευόμαστε τη δυνατή φωνή που φτάνει ως εμάς από όλα τα μέρη της Ανατολής, όλα τα μέρη της Βαλκανικής, τη φωνή που έρχεται από τα βάθη της ιστορίας, τη φωνή που θα στείλει μήνυμα στην ανθρωπότητα, γιατί εμπιστευόμαστε το Μάρντιν. Πιστεύουμε στο πνεύμα και την ψυχή του Μάρντιν. Το πνεύμα του Μάρντιν είναι το πνεύμα της Τουρκίας. Και το πνεύμα της Τουρκίας αποτελεί το κέντρο του πνεύματος που στο μέλλον πρόκειται να αποτελέσει το πνεύμα της παγκόσμιας τάξης. Με την αυτοπεποίθηση αυτή προσπαθούμε να ασκήσουμε την εξωτερική μας πολιτική. Σας ευχαριστούμε ξανά που μας φιλοξενήσατε. Και θέλω για άλλη μια φορά να τονίσω ότι όλο το Υπουργείο Εξωτερικών θα εξακολουθήσει να είναι στην υπηρεσία όλων των Μαρντινλίδων και ολόκληρου του λαού μας».
Σύνδεσμοι ομιλιών Τούρκου ΥΠΕΞ Νταβούτογλου
Articles of the Minister
• Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in Irish Times Newspaper (Ireland) on 9 March 2010 • Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in Asharqalawsat Newspaper (Saudi Arabia) on 02.01.2010 • Article by Foreign Minister of Turkey H.E. Ahmet Davutoglu and Minister Frattini published in Corriere della Sera Newspaper (Italy) on 18.11.2009 • Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in El Pais Newspaper (Spain) on 16.11.2009 • Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in Nine o’Clock and Adevarul Newspapers (Romania) on 29.10.2009 • Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in De Volkskrant Newspaper (Netherlands) on 08.10.2009 • Article by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu published in Daily Star Newspaper (Lebanon) on 31 July 2009
Speeches of the Minister
• Address by Foreign Minister of Turkey H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu at the 133rd. Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Arab League, 3 March 2010, Cairo • Address by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Turkey at the Opening Session of the Alliance of Civilizations’ First South East Europe Ministerial Conference, 14 December 2009, Sarajevo • Address by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Turkey at the OSCE Ministerial Council Meeting, 1-2 December 2009, Athens • H. E. AHMET DAVUTOĞLU AT 24 NOVEMBER 2009 IN TRIPOLI • Speech Delivered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu at the “Nueva Economia Forum”, 16 November 2009, Madrid • Ministerial Meeting of the Friends of Democtaric Pakistan, Opening Speech by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, 25 August 2009, İstanbul • Speech Delivered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu at the 28th Annual Conference on US-Turkish Relations Organized by ATC-DEIK: “Turkey-US relations: A Model Partnership, Global and Regional Dimensions” (Washington DC, 2 June 2009) • Address by H.E. Prof. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey at the Security Council Meeting on Iraq, 18 June 2009, New York • Statement by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, at the 36th Session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers, May 23-25, 2009, Damascus • Statement by H.E. Ahmet Davutoğlu, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey, At the United Nations Security Council Meeting on the Situation in the Middle East, Including the Palestinian Question, 11 May 2009, New York • Speech Delivered by the Minister of Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoğlu to EU Ambassadors On the Occasion of Europe Day, 8 May 2009, Ankara
Σημ. το άρθρο περιγράφει την τουρκική διπλωματία των Γκιούλ, Ερτογαν, Νταβούτογλου.
The AKP Sees Big
Published on Foreign Affairs (http://www.foreignaffairs.com)
Morton Abramowitz and Henri J. Barkey
MORTON ABRAMOWITZ, a Senior Fellow at the Century Foundation, was U.S. Ambassador to Turkey in 1989-91. HENRI J. BARKEY is a nonresident Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Professor of International Relations at Lehigh University.
In recent years, Turkey has earned kudos from the international community for its economic dynamism, its energetic and confident diplomacy, and its attempts to confront some of its deepest foreign policy problems, such as in northern Iraq and Cyprus. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Turkey is one of seven rising powers with which the United States will actively collaborate to resolve global problems. But Turkey has not yet become the global, or even regional, player that its government declares it to be. These days, as always, daunting domestic issues are bedeviling Turkey's progress. Increasingly polarized views about the leadership of the ruling Justice and Development Party (known as the AKP) have undermined the government's ability to spearhead profound political change. Even some of the AKP's traditional supporters have begun to question whether the party will follow through on its goals, including that of getting Turkey to join the European Union.
There are two camps. The first, and largest, group, which includes center-right politicians, liberals, and the religious, fully supports the AKP. It sees the party as fighting the dead hand of the past to free Turkish politics from subjugation by the military and the judiciary. To most AKP supporters, the party is genuinely committed to instituting a much greater measure of democracy and tackling Turkey's most difficult issue: recognizing the democratic rights of its large Kurdish population. According to them, the party is serious about meeting the difficult requirements for EU accession and about launching fresh and constructive diplomatic initiatives in the Middle East, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. And they interpret the widespread claims that the AKP wants to establish a religious state as both fanciful and retrograde.
The other camp is primarily composed of staunch secularists, the military and civilian bureaucratic elites, and various types of nationalists. And they, remembering the AKP's roots in Islamist movements, claim that the party is increasingly contemptuous of its political opposition, authoritarian, interested in destroying the opposition press, and determined to weaken the Turkish military despite the country's unstable neighborhood. These skeptics argue that the party cares mostly about winning the next election and that the AKP's commitment to the EU's membership requirements is largely a pretext for passing measures that eviscerate the military. To them, as well as to many Turkey watchers, the AKP is making the country more religious, partly in order to consolidate its position in the Muslim world even at the expense of its traditional alliance with the West. The AKP, they charge, has consistently overlooked the appalling behavior of Muslim governments toward their own people even as they have ferociously pointed out other countries' mistreatment of Muslims.
Much can be cited to support either view, but the reality of Turkish politics is more complex. The basic question is whether the AKP, by far the country's dominant party, both in terms of power and in terms of popularity, can avoid being held back by its Islamist past and the culturally conservative inclinations of its core constituents.
The AKP's success in achieving rapid economic growth since its first electoral victory, in 2002, won the party vast political support and propelled it to a spectacular reelection victory in July 2007. It was the first time since 1954 that an incumbent in Turkey had increased its share of the vote, and the AKP did so by an astonishing 14 percentage points. The global economic crisis, however, stopped growth in its tracks. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan downplayed the crisis' impact at first and so was slow in stimulating the economy. By the first quarter of 2009, GDP had declined by more than 14 percent since the first quarter of 2008 and unemployment had risen to 15 percent. It now seems that Turkey has survived the worst, but the bloom is off the rose of the Turkish "miracle." The AKP has grown cautious about enacting controversial political reforms, most important, passing a badly needed constitution to replace the one imposed by the military in 1982. Real change is on the chopping block.
Turkey has always been a conservative country, and the vast majority of Turks have traditionally voted for center-right parties. The rise of the AKP represents a struggle between the military and civilian bureaucratic elites -- which have controlled the state and the economy since independence -- and the new, largely provincial and pious middle class. This new bourgeoisie took advantage of the market reforms of the 1980s to build an export-driven industrial base in the backwater of Anatolia. As its wealth grew, it began to challenge the economic elites traditionally favored by the state and its military backers.
And in 2002, the new middle class helped elect the AKP, a party whose piety and relative indifference to the legacy of Kemal Atatürk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic, challenged the ideological underpinnings of the Turkish state: secularism, nationalism, and centralization. Since then, the AKP has allowed for more public manifestations of Islam and expressed its attachment to hot-button issues, for example, by supporting the right of women to wear headscarves in universities, which is currently prohibited. More headscarves can be seen today than ten or 20 years ago, and their visibility disturbs the secularist elites. To them, it indicates that the AKP government is indeed using its influence, locally and nationally, to facilitate religious practices. The AKP's attempt to lift the headscarf ban landed the party leadership in front of the Constitutional Court in 2008, when the state prosecutor attempted to have the party banned for challenging the country's secular constitution. The AKP narrowly won that fight, but secularists are convinced that the party is unlikely to mend its ways, and rumors occasionally circulate about another court case being brought to try to finish off the party.
Since coming to power, the AKP has managed to reduce the political influence of the generals. It has pushed through legal changes that limit the military's power over politics. Erdogan brushed aside the military's effort to prevent Abdullah Gül, a leading AKP member, from assuming the presidency in 2007. Erdogan brought civilians to the National Security Council, which had long been dominated by the military. In July, he spearheaded legislation that subjects active-duty soldiers to review by civilian courts for crimes not related to their military duties. The days of military coups are likely over, partly because the country has become far more diverse and complex and power is now more diffuse, and partly because of these AKP-led reforms.
To be sure, much of this development is also the officers' doing. They have intervened four times since 1960 to depose civilian governments but have resisted change themselves. On civil-military relations and the questions of religion and Kurdish identity, the military has refused to countenance any vision other than its own. It has been wedded to a very strict definition of secularism, for example, and until very recently, it completely rejected even the Kurds' most basic demands for cultural rights. A recent investigation into an extensive secret effort by some officers and civilian leaders to destroy the AKP has been a revelation to many Turks. Although the handling of this so-called Ergenekon inquiry has been criticized, it has already landed many officers, academics, and others in jail. Whatever facts are eventually unearthed, the investigation has already tarnished the military's reputation.
The AKP will live or die by its policies toward the Kurds. So far, it has managed, courageously and skillfully, to modify Turkey's long-standing policy toward the Iraqi Kurds. For years, the Turkish government had treated the quasi-independent Kurdistan Regional Government as a danger to Iraq's unity and an instigator of Kurdish separatism in Turkey. But the AKP has now engaged the Kurdistan Regional Government in an attempt to win the confidence and cooperation of the Iraqi Kurds on a slew of issues, ranging from security to economic exchanges.
On the harder question of how to treat the estimated 12-14 million Kurds who live in Turkey, however, the AKP government has promised much and done little. This issue is now the biggest drag on Turkey's political life, undermining the political and administrative reforms, constraining the country's foreign policy choices, and requiring huge military expenditures to combat the decades-old insurgency led by the Kurdistan Workers' Party, the Turkish Kurdish rebel group known as the PKK. After years of promising that it would bring a fresh approach to the Kurdish question, the AKP government sparked a charged debate this summer by calling for a "democratic opening" (sometimes referred to as a "Kurdish opening") and launching a series of conversations with Kurdish and Turkish political and civil-society groups. The perspectives of both Turkey's Kurds and influential elements in the AKP appear to be changing, but nothing can be taken for granted. The country is too divided. Many Turkish Kurds still take their cue from Abdullah Öcalan, the imprisoned leader of the PKK, whom the Turkish military, most Turks, and most Western governments consider to be a terrorist. Although Erdogan has promised to unveil a new comprehensive policy, as of this writing, no specifics had yet been revealed. Erdogan will probably propose incremental changes allowing the Kurds to express their cultural identity more freely, such as easing the restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language. But this is unlikely to satisfy many Kurds; real reform will require a long-drawn-out process. The most difficult short-term issue is whether to consider granting amnesty to PKK fighters, particularly the group's leaders. How the government handles this question may determine the scope of change possible on the broader Kurdish question. It remains to be seen whether Erdogan has the stamina and the political fortitude to carry out measures to end the PKK's 25-year insurrection that will enable most of the PKK fighters to return home and release the many prisoners associated with the organization without necessarily legitimizing its stance. Nevertheless, Erdogan has opened the door to truly radical change, and this will continue to generate fractious debate and uncertain consequences for Turkey's political stability.
Turkey has never before had a foreign minister with the drive, vigor, and vision of Ahmet Davutoglu. Even before he acceded to the post, last May, Davutoglu had been promoting a forceful vision of Turkey's role in the world. He has gathered an A list of senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has set forth an ambitious policy advocating "zero problems with neighbors," with the hope of settling long-standing differences through a high degree of engagement with the leaders and the peoples of Turkey's neighbors. The aim is to turn Turkey from a "central," or regional, power into a global one in the new international order. Implicitly, this is also a project to demonstrate to the world that a Muslim country can be a constructive democratic member of the international community.
More explicit is Turkey's ambition to better deal with the Muslim nations of the Middle East and beyond, whether friends or foes of the West. The AKP government has been enormously active -- but with mixed results, despite the acclaim it showers on itself. It has been most successful in expanding its trade and investment abroad. It has been far less so in making progress toward satisfying the EU's accession requirements and has failed to come to grips with the question of whether the Ottomans' treatment of the Armenians a century ago constituted a genocide. It is still unclear whether the AKP has the will to break much domestic crockery on matters of foreign policy.
Its major breakthrough so far has been to end Turkey's political isolation of Iraqi Kurdistan. Ankara no longer pretends the region does not exist and that it need only deal with Baghdad. This 180-degree turn was in part prompted by the recent U.S. decision to begin withdrawing its troops from Iraq. Turkey is trying to anticipate the evolution of Iraqi politics in the absence of U.S. combat units in the country. The AKP government wants Iraq to remain whole, but it realizes that if tensions in Iraq devolve into all-out violence and the country breaks apart, Turkey would be better off with a friendly partner in Iraq's energy-rich north. The AKP government managed to convince the Turkish military that an opening to the Iraqi Kurds would not exacerbate existing difficulties with the Turkish Kurds and would increase Turkey's influence in Iraq. The Turks have come to understand that for the Iraqi Kurds, having better relations with Ankara is a strategic choice: Turkey is their door to the West. Yet the Turkish authorities and their Kurdish counterparts in Iraq still have to sort out some explosive issues, such as the contested status of the oil-rich area of Kirkuk. The Turks believe that it is essential to keep the city's control out of the hands of the Kurdistan Regional Government, both to help prevent the breakup of Iraq and to limit the aspirations of the Iraqi Kurds.
The Turkish government also made an impressive move earlier this year when it reversed its long-standing policy of isolating Armenia. In April, despite an apparent promise to U.S. President Barack Obama, Erdogan delayed opening Turkey's border with Armenia after nationalists in Turkey and Azerbaijan protested. But in another surprising about-face, in August, Turkey approved the text of two protocols establishing diplomatic and economic relations between the two countries and an agreement on opening the Turkish-Armenian border. This is a major step forward for diplomacy in the Caucasus. Turkey also hopes that the initiative will help its case with the EU and reduce the pressure on the U.S. Congress to pass a resolution on the Armenian genocide next year. It remains to be seen whether the AKP will stand up to opposition. Erdogan has promised the government of Azerbaijan that Turkey will not open its border with Armenia until Armenia relinquishes control over the regions it holds surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh, a landlocked province in Azerbaijan. Erdogan seems to be betting that a diplomatic solution to this issue will somehow be found this fall. But it is quite possible that Erdogan's deals with Armenia will fail to pass in the Turkish parliament because of Azeri and Turkish nationalist pressures.
SORES ON THE SIDE
The issue of Cyprus continues to be the main hurdle to Turkey's accession to the EU. Despite Turkey's renewing negotiations with the two Cypriot parties for the umpteenth time, there is no great hope for settling the island's contested status. The Turkish government will also have to decide soon whether it will open its ports to shipping from the Greek part of Cyprus, as it has pledged it will do to under its agreement with the EU. The European Commission is expected to release a report on Turkey's progress in November, and that could set the stage for recriminations. The fact that in 2003 the Turkish government displayed the courage, at least in domestic political terms, to drop its traditional obstructionist stance in favor of a pro-European one seems to hold little water today. The EU failed to reward the Cypriot Turks for the dramatic change in their patron's policy by providing them with trade opportunities, thereby undermining the AKP government's diplomacy and its credibility on this issue at home. Until its recent Armenian initiative, the Turkish government seemed to have grown mostly inert when it came to enhancing its standing with the EU.
Turkey did score a big win last July by signing an agreement with six other countries to build a pipeline that would bring natural gas from the Caucasus and Central Asia through Turkey to Europe. Whether the Nabucco pipeline will ever be built is uncertain: the costs of construction and whether enough gas will be available to fill the pipeline are issues that still need to be worked out, and the Turkish government will have to maneuver delicately with both the West and Russia. But the pipeline project has already raised Turkey's importance in the eyes of the EU's energy-hungry countries.
Several Turkish foreign policy initiatives have given Western governments pause. One is Turkey's closer relationship with Russia, a rapprochement driven by a vast expansion in Turkish-Russian trade. During a highly publicized visit to Ankara by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin soon after the Nabucco pipeline deal was signed this summer, the Turkish and Russian governments struck a potentially conflicting agreement to develop the South Stream pipeline to bring Russian gas to Europe through Turkish territory. As soon as the Georgian crisis hit in August 2008, Erdogan jumped on a plane and tried to broker negotiations between Moscow and Tbilisi. His intervention, which was notably uncoordinated with Turkey's allies in NATO and the EU, yielded little more than Turkey's call for a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Pact -- an idea that pleased the Russians but appeared to vex Western governments. Whatever suspicions of Russia Turkey may continue to harbor, Erdogan has significantly improved the tenor of the two states' relations. He is also in no hurry to see Georgia's NATO aspirations fulfilled.
Perhaps the AKP government's most ballyhooed effort has been its diplomatic activism in the Middle East. The Turkish government took advantage of the vacuum created by President George W. Bush's unpopular policies in the region to participate in indirect talks between Israel and Syria. It injected itself into the negotiations following the crises in Lebanon in 2006 and Gaza in late 2008 and early 2009. French President Nicolas Sarkozy invited Davutoglu, then a foreign policy adviser, to join the French delegation that traveled to Damascus to discuss the Gaza crisis. Ankara has taken partial credit for the agreement governing the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq; it reportedly deserves some for hosting talks between U.S. representatives and Iraqi insurgents earlier this year. And Foreign Minister Davutoglu jumped at the opportunity to mediate Iraq and Syria's recent dispute (Iraq claims that bombings in Baghdad's Green Zone in August were carried out by insurgents from Syria).
Supporters of the AKP's new foreign policy argue that Turkey is finally finding its voice in international politics, but this may be weakening its ties with the United States and the EU. These traditional partners are now just one pillar in Turkey's new so-called multidimensional foreign policy. On the other hand, Turkey's diplomatic efforts in its immediate neighborhood often appear to be influence-seeking for its own sake. Aside from its successful brokering in Iraq and its ability to secure a seat in the UN Security Council this year, Ankara's diplomatic efforts have yielded little, especially in the Middle East. Turkey has become adept at transmitting messages, but such symbolic achievements have far exceeded concrete ones.
Some of the AKP's foreign policy initiatives have also been clumsy and irksome. At the Davos meeting early this year, Erdogan reprimanded Israeli President Shimon Peres, who has spent much effort advocating Turkey's cause with Europe, for Israel's recent military campaign in Gaza. Yet Erdogan apparently has had no problem welcoming Sudan's president, who faces an indictment for war crimes, to Ankara several times since early 2008. When asked whether the extensive killings in Darfur constitute genocide, the Turkish government invokes a cliché about the value of closed-door diplomatic undertakings on sensitive matters. Erdogan was one of only a few leaders, along with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah, to congratulate Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on winning Iran's contested presidential election in the spring.
And yet, somewhat incredibly, Erdogan has criticized the Chinese government for committing "almost a genocide" in China's western province of Xinjiang. However reprehensible the Chinese authorities' treatment of the Uighur minority in Xinjiang, the fact is that Turkey, which has been fighting off charges that it committed genocide of its own, against the Armenians, should be careful when it uses such a loaded word. In one of its biggest blunders, the AKP government opposed the appointment of former Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen as chief of NATO because he had defended, on free-speech grounds, a Danish newspaper's decision to publish cartoons that offended Muslims. Turkey thereby alienated many Europeans by seeming to favor Muslim sensibilities over liberal democratic values. The Turkish government eventually settled the matter by accepting the appointment of a Turk to the new post of deputy secretary-general for NATO, but the incident so irked French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner that he publicly renounced his support for Turkey's accession to the EU.
None of this is to indict Erdogan or the AKP; it is simply to explain why Turkey's strongest allies view its considerable progress with increasing unease. Turkey used to punch below its weight; now, it seems to be punching above it. This would be an unmitigated advantage for Turkey if the AKP were not so quick to call every one of its foreign policy initiatives a resounding success. Turkish foreign policy officials have even said that by suggesting China had committed genocide against the Uighurs, Erdogan actually increased Ankara's influence with Beijing. The Turkish government has also claimed credit for getting the Syrians out of Lebanon (angering the Americans and the French, who parented a UN Security Council resolution arguing for their exit) and for getting Hamas to accept a cease-fire with Israel (upsetting the Egyptians, who were the primary brokers). The Turkish government now runs the risk of believing its own grandiose rhetoric and of dangerously overreaching. Some also fear that Turkey's leaders might stop being able to divorce the country's foreign policy aims from their own cultural (and perhaps religious) sensibilities. Erdogan and Davutoglu sometimes appear to be conflicted: Do they hope to participate in global politics as practitioners of realpolitik or as representatives of an Islamic culture?
ASPIRING TO GRANDEUR
Erdogan dominates Turkish politics today not only because he is a dynamic leader but also because, as the head of a majority party, he can usually run roughshod over the opposition (the military aside). It helps him that the Turkish opposition is incompetent and that Turkish political parties are often essentially fiefdoms, with individual leaders deciding every issue and appointing every party representative in parliament. But even Erdogan must deliver. Many of the policy changes he has spearheaded will endure, but fractious politics could endanger his legacy. If somehow the AKP lost the next election, for instance, progress on the question of the Turkish Kurds' rights would likely be set back for a long time.
Turkey has become a far more complex country than it once was. Washington should not assume it knows it. The endless rhetoric about the "strategic" closeness between Turkey and the United States cannot substitute for concrete policy. Despite Turkey's Armenian initiative, tensions over the Armenian genocide issue could escalate next year. Ankara's position is getting increasingly difficult to maintain, particularly with a U.S. president who has said repeatedly that he thinks the killings of 1915 amounted to genocide. And as Turkey's economy has become more dynamic over the past decade, the AKP has walked in lockstep with the West less and less. Erdogan is his own man.
The increasing independence of Turkey's foreign policy is reinforced by the population's nativism. A recent poll by a Turkish university showed the Turks' deep mistrust and dislike of foreigners, especially their country's closest allies, the Americans and the Europeans. By very large majorities, they also indicated that they would not want to have atheists, Jews, or Christians for neighbors. A poll on transatlantic trends by the German Marshall Fund released in September suggests that despite their high regard for Obama, the Turks have a more negative image of the United States than do Europeans. Only 22 percent of the Turks polled said that they were positively disposed toward the United States, compared with 74 percent of the western European respondents. And the Turkish government is not doing much to change its citizens' views.
Turkey has problems with the EU, too, partly because of the distance between the EU's and Turkey's conceptions of liberal democracy. This gap might narrow over time, but that will require conviction and effort on the part of Turkey's leaders. Both the government and the opposition have failed to educate themselves or the public about the rule of law. Recent draconian measures against the press are one indication of the country's underlying illiberal penchant. Conversely, Washington and most other democratic governments have always had a tendency to ignore the long-term issues and focus on the immediate. Turkey's relations with Armenia may be the flavor of the day because Obama needs to manage the Armenian American constituency. Focusing on that without also acknowledging the AKP's Kurdish opening -- which offers a chance to transform Turkey in major ways -- would be a terrible mistake. The United States should help the AKP's efforts along by staying out of the reform debate in Turkey and encouraging the demobilization of the PKK in northern Iraq.
The AKP has a unique opportunity to change Turkish society, change the country's constitution and its archaic political system, and make peace with both its neighbors and its own people. It seems ready to seize it. But it needs assistance. The West should not act as if Turkey is moving in the right direction in all respects, but it can help keep Turkey on track to becoming a tolerant liberal democracy. Turkey's leaders, for their part, must not think that they can expand the country's influence without first having a firm footing in the West. Without a successful reform effort, Turkey will continue to be just an aspirant to grandeur.
Copyright © 2002-2009 by the Council on Foreign Relations, Inc.
All rights reserved.
Source URL: http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/65464/morton-abramowitz-and-henri-j-barkey/turkeys-transformers
Interview with Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu by Guillaume Perrier in Ankara; date not given: "Ankara Wants To Be Pole of 'Regional Stability'"
Paris LeMonde.fr in French 07 Nov 09
Ankara -- On Friday 6 November Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu began a visit to France, the first since he entered office, in May 2009. He is due to be received Friday by his counterpart, Bernard Kouchner, at a time when bilateral relations are hampered by France's opposition to Turkey's accession to the EU. The disagreement on Europe will be on the agenda for the talks. The two countries will also discuss recent developments in the Middle East and Afghanistan, in which areas Mr Davutoglu has adopted numerous initiatives in recent months. Having been the architect of Turkey's ambitious foreign policy -- described as "neo-Ottoman" -- during his term as advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and then as minister, he has implemented in his theory of "zero problems with neighbors" and granted Turkey a new regional dimension.
[Perrier] What kind of relations can Turkey maintain with France, the leading opponent of its accession to the EU?
[Davutoglu] Ever since the 16th century we have had strong relations with France. No other nation in Europe can understand Turkey's importance as well as it can. Even now France and Turkey have influence in the same regions. Genuine cooperation could impart a new boost in the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Caucasus, and the Middle East. This would benefit the EU, too. This is why there he is no foundation, either historical or political, for all the misunderstandings and misconceptions sometimes expressed in France.
[Perrier] Do you hope to modify Paris' viewpoint concerning membership?
[Davutoglu] The EU's most important value is observance of commitments: pacta sunt servanda. It is thanks to this principle that the EU has become a pole of attraction. If it loses it, it loses its entire legitimacy. If you remove this cornerstone of the European edifice, because of prejudices about Turkey, then you will weaken the EU more than Turkey. We expect no favors, no special treatment. Only that commitments be honored. Without a strong political will on our government's part, we could have halted the process, heeding the arguments of some of our European friends, who claimed that Turkey is not European or that it is not destined to become a member... Nobody can impose on us an options such as the special partnership. This kind of alternative has never been put forward for any other candidate country.
[Perrier] The Cyprus question remains the main obstacle. Will you open up your ports and airports to Greek Cypriots, as Brussels demands?
[Davutoglu] No, that would not be right. In 2004 the Greek Cypriots rejected Kopi Annan's peace plan, supported by the EU. As a reward, they secured this rejection of EU membership! As for the Turkish Cypriots, they voted for peace and accepted the plan. But they were punished by isolation. The European promise to allow Turkish Cypriots direct trade has not been honored. Unlike Armenia, with Cyprus we see no resolve to progress toward peace. For the past year the island's two leaders have met 50 times. Mehmet Ali Tat (the Turkish Cypriot president) is pressing for a peace agreement by April. On the other side (the Greek Cypriots) do not want to accelerate the process. You cannot make peace on your own: you need a strong partner. In 2004 they missed a historic opportunity by rejecting the Annan plan. We hope that they will not waste a second opportunity
[Perrier] Turkish diplomacy has been very active on numerous fronts in recent months. What is the objective?
[Davutoglu] On 1 October I met in Brussels with Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn (European Commission president and enlargement commissioner.) I said that October would be "the month of peace" for Turkish diplomacy. We have launched several initiatives -- in the Balkans between Serbia and Bosnia; in the Caucasus, by signing an agreement with Armenia; in Syria and in Iraq, where a few days ago I met with Masud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq; and so forth. All this pursues one single objective: peace. What we want is to create a zone of stability and prosperity in the region. We want to eliminate all tensions between ourselves and our neighbors, but also among our neighbors themselves. Hence our mediation between Syria and Israel, and between Syria and Iraq. With chaos in Iraq or elsewhere, Turkey cannot be a safe and stable country.
[Perrier] Does Turkey still enjoy Israel's confidence to act as mediator with Syria, following the recent Turkish-Israeli tensions?
[Davutoglu] I am sure of it. They are very well aware how honestly were performed our mediation mission last year. An alliance with a country does not rule out criticizing it when it makes a mistake. Yes, we did criticize Israel for the bombardments of Gaza. We will similarly criticize any country that commits such an attack. This does not mean that we are changing our objective in the region.
[Perrier] Is Turkey not changing its diplomatic axis, turning its back on the West and turning more to the East?
[Davutoglu] No. Turkish foreign policy is built on certain pillars -- relations with NATO and our EU candidacy. These are Turkey's strongest international ties. But at the same time Turkey is a country with a multidimensional geography. Is it wrong to improve relations with your neighbors? We are normalizing our relations with Syria -- with which we were on the verge of war 10 years ago -- as we are with Armenia.. Why are we not criticized for looking to the East, in connection with Armenia? And yet it is further to the east than Syria. Some Westerners still have the view that if we move closer to a Christian country, it is a good thing, but that if we move closer to a Muslim country, it is a diplomatic change of course... No! Everyone can live in peace, side by side. These efforts are compatible with European values, with the EU's experience. Peace, cultural coexistence, pluralism, stability, and so forth. These are our common values with the Europeans.
AHMET DAVUTOĞLU, Turkish foreign policy vision
O AHMET DAVUTOĞLU έγινε μόλις προχθές Υπουργός Εξωτερικών. Σε λίγες εβδομάδες, απ' ότι γνωρίζω κυκλοφορεί στα ελληνικά το βιβλίο του Στρατηγικό βάθος (Εκδόσεις Ποιότητα). Εδώ παραθέτω πρόσφατο ενδιαφέρον κείμενο. Πολλά αλλάζουν στον περίγυρό μας και κυρίως η Τουρκία. Εμείς εδώ βρισκόμαστε στον κατήφορο που μας έθεσαν κάποιοι που έπεισαν την ελληνική πολιτική ηγεσία ότι οι διακρατικές διενέξεις επιλύονται με ζειμπέκικα και κουμπαριές. Δεν έχει και πολλή σημασία γιατί ο καθείς παθαίνει ότι του αξίζει. Επειδή ο κόσμος πάει και έρχεται και ο τροχός γυρίζει εμείς θα πρέπει να ετοιμαζόμαστε για την επόμενη φάση, όταν θα περάσει η καταιγίδα.
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision:
An Assessment of 2007*
* Th is essay is based on the transcript of a CNN Turk program
with Prof. Davutoğlu on January 2, 2008.
** Professor of International Relations, Ambassador and Chief
Advisor to Turkish PM
If a map of the complex web of global relations
during the Cold War had been
drawn, Turkey would have been considered
a frontier country. As part of the Western
block, it was a means of control in the South
among the Western powers extending to the
East and at the edge of the West. It was institutionally
in the West, and was considered
the most important country in NATO; it still
preserves this position. Aft er the end of Cold
War in the early 1990s, a new notion of Turkey
emerged as a bridge country. As many new
problems emerged in the post-Cold War era,
among them the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and
the crises in the Balkans, Turkey’s main objective
became the protection of its own stability.
Turkey maintained its stability amid the chaos
that engulfed many of its near neighbors, and
the international community began to look to
Turkey as an island of stability and a bridge
country between east and west.
Today, in the new era marked by the
aft ermath of September 11th, an accurate
redefi nition of Turkey’s position is
urgently needed. Turkey’s new position
has both an ideational and a geographical
basis. In terms of geography, Turkey
occupies a unique space. As a large country in the midst of Afro-Eurasia’s vast
landmass, it may be defi ned as a central country with multiple regional identities
that cannot be reduced to one unifi ed character. Like Russia, Germany, Iran, and
Egypt, Turkey cannot be explained geographically or culturally by associating it
with one single region. Turkey’s diverse regional composition lends it the capability
of maneuvering in several regions simultaneously; in this sense, it controls an
area of infl uence in its immediate environs.
Th ere are continental countries such as the United States and Australia. Countries
in this category, which are continents themselves in some cases, are located
away from Afro-Eurasian heartland. One may include even Europe, India and
China in this category. In territorial terms, they are geographically big enough
so that they are not defi ned by reference to an external geographical region. Th ey
are self-suffi cient in many respects and have developed distinct cultures of their
own. Another cluster of countries could be considered island countries such as
Japan and the United Kingdom. Situated at the edges of a continent, they maintain
special relations with the continental powers. Peripheral countries constitute
a distinct category in that they belong to a region and could be defi ned by the
characteristics of that region.
Among all these classifi cations, Turkey holds a special position. Turkey’s geography
gives it a specifi c central country status, which diff ers from other central
countries. For example, Germany is a central country in Central Europe, which is
far from Asia and Africa. Russia is another central country in the lands of Europe
and Asia, which is far from Africa. Iran is a central country in Asia, which is far
from Europe and Africa. Taking a broader, global view, Turkey holds an optimal
place in the sense that it is both an Asian and European country and is also close
to Africa through the Eastern Mediterranean. A central country with such an optimal
geographic location can not defi ne itself in a defensive manner. It should be
seen neither as a bridge country which only connects two points, nor a frontier
country, nor indeed as an ordinary country, which sits at the edge of the Muslim
world or the West.
Turkey’s diverse regional
composition lends it the
capability of maneuvering in
several regions simultaneously
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
Just as geography, history, too, may
come to constitute a country as a central
country. Some countries play the central
country role in their region as a refl ection of their cultural and historical heritage.
For instance, Russia has a peculiar position of being a center of attraction because
of its historical role. Germany has played such a role since the Roman-Germanic
Empire. Turkey historically has been one of such centers of attraction. It was for
this reason that when Turkey embarked on a successful nation-building process
in the aft ermath of the Ottoman Empire, it gained population dynamism through
immigration from neighboring regions. Th e eff ects of having diverse Caucasian,
Balkan, Middle Eastern, Iraqi Turcoman and Anatolian elements, even in small
groups, are seen in everyday life in today’s Turkey, where diverse cultural elements
meet under the umbrella of the Turkish state. Turkey’s geography harmonizes
these elements. Turkey occupies a center of attraction in its region; its cultural
capital, Istanbul, spans two continents and is at once a Middle Eastern, Black Sea
and a Mediterranean city. In terms of its area of infl uence, Turkey is a Middle
Eastern, Balkan, Caucasian, Central Asian, Caspian, Mediterranean, Gulf, and
Black Sea country. Given this picture, Turkey should make its role of a peripheral
country part of its past, and appropriate a new position: one of providing security
and stability not only for itself, but also for its neighboring regions. Turkey should
guarantee its own security and stability by taking on a more active, constructive
role to provide order, stability and security in its environs.
Principles of Turkey’s New Foreign Policy
Since the year 2002, Turkey has begun to structure its policies on the basis of
this new vision, keeping in mind well-defi ned targets, and looking to benefi t from
its geographical position and historical assets. Five principles of Turkey’s foreign
policy making process need to be mentioned here. First, if there is not a balance
between security and democracy in a country, it may not have a chance to establish
an area of infl uence in its environs. Th e legitimacy of any political regime
comes from its ability to provide security to its citizens; this security should not
be at the expense of freedoms and human rights in the country. Administrations
that substantially restrict liberties in order to provide security are or soon become
authoritarian regimes. Since 2002, Turkey has maintained a position of promoting
civil liberties without undermining security. Th is is an ambitious yet worthy
aim, particularly in the post-September 11 environment, under the threat of terrorism,
in which the general tendency has been to restrict liberties for the sake of
Turkey’s geography gives it a
specifi c central country status
security. Turkey has protected civil liberties under all conditions, despite a serious
challenge to it in 2007. Th e challenge was to carry out the struggle against terror
without narrowing the sphere of liberties. Turkey successfully overcame this challenge.
In the fall of 2007, the Turkish military pursued a military operation against
terrorist formations in Iraq for several weeks, with no negative impact on liberties
in İstanbul, Ankara, Diyarbakır, or Van. Normal life continues, even while
Turkey wages a war against terror. Th is successful balance is a matter of political
culture. Turkish authorities did not declare state of emergency, elections were not
postponed, and the election results did not infl uence the process in a negative way.
Th ese results support the notion that Turkey’s most important soft power is its
democracy. Th e election resulted in a parliament that fostered the struggle against
terror. Despite concerns in early 2007, this experience demonstrated that the balance
between democracy and security is settled in Turkey.
Second, a “zero problem policy toward Turkey’s neighbors” has been successfully
implemented for the past four years. Turkey’s relations with its neighbors
now follow the right track in comparison to previous years. Th e most striking
examples of Turkey’s success in the region are its relations with Syria and Georgia.
Th ere is an intense economic interdependence with these countries. In contrast
to that of 5-10 years ago, Turkey’s level of relations with Syria today stands as a
model of progress for the rest of the region. It is the same with Georgia. Developments
such as the use of Batum airport as a domestic airport, and the growth of
the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway project, which were furthered without creating any
fear of imperial expansion, are exemplary. Th e economies of Syria and Turkey are
now integrated as a result of a free trade agreement. In addition, aft er Bulgaria’s
entry into the EU, Turkey’s relations with this country further improved in a striking
way. Turkish-Iranian relations did not face diffi culties during this sensitive
period, and the Solana-Larijani talk in Turkey created a meaningful channel for
discussion of the nuclear issue. All of these achievements indicate that Turkey has
developed a substantial trust in its relations with its neighbors.
Th e Iraqi challenge in 2007 sparked fears that the crisis would have a negative
impact on Turkey’s relations with the rest of its neighbors. Turkey has so far
been successful in tackling Iraq-related risks. Th e PKK had aimed to create a wave
of terror in order to bring Turkey face to face with Kurdish groups in Northern
Iraq, and to instigate confl ict between Turkey and the Iraqi central administration,
the Arab world, and if possible with the whole Middle East and the United
States. If Turkey had not responded with fi ne-tuned diplomacy and correct timTurkey’s
Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
ing, a crisis with the Iraqi government
would surely have ensued. Instead, Turkey’s
operations against the PKK continued
for more than a month and the
Iraqi government responded reasonably
with an understanding that the PKK is a
common enemy. Th is outcome demonstrates
how two neighboring countries
can cooperate against a common threat.
Th e third principle is to develop relations with the neighboring regions and beyond.
Turkey’s regional impact extends to the Balkans, the Middle East, the Caucasus
and Central Asia. Turkey became active in the Balkans, in particular, due to
the Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina crises. Providing infrastructure for this active
policy were Turkey’s relations with NATO, the European Union, and the West
in general. Turkey also enjoys close relations with Azerbaijan and Georgia in the
Caucasus. To date, however, there have been only limited possibilities for Turkey
to extend its infl uence to the Middle East. Th e PKK factor, as well as the existence
of mutual negative images on both sides, have been a stumbling block in the form
of a mutual psychological barrier. Nevertheless, thanks to our eff orts in the last
fi ve years, we have helped to overcome some of these barriers. Now, whatever may
happen in the Middle East, Turkey has channels to follow these developments immediately.
Despite its limitations, Turkey does have infl uence in Middle Eastern
aff airs, and not only at the state level but also at the societal level. For example,
during the recent Lebanon crisis, Prime Minister Erdoğan talked on the phone
with Nebih Berri and Saad Hariri, as well as with Siniora and Hezbollah. In 2004,
then Foreign Minister Gόl’s visit to Lebanon was the fi rst foreign ministerial visit
to Lebanon for the past 25 years. Turkey has since become one of the most active
countries in Lebanon recently, providing it with a fi rm diplomatic base. In this
sense, Turkey’s infl uence in the region has increased.
As a second example of such progress, in early 2007, a Sunni-Shia division occurred
due to tensions between Shia and Sunni groups in Iraq. Turkey assumed an
active role in seeking to bridge this divide and maintained a balanced policy toward
both sides. Pakistan’s President Musharraf organized a seven country meeting
in Pakistan, which was perceived as an attempt against Iran. Turkey joined this
group, but did not severe its relations with Shia groups in Iraq, the Iraqi government,
or with Iran. Turkey thus involved itself, but did not take sides in this dangerous
division. If one remembers the visits of Prime Minister Erdoğan to Iran,
Turkey should guarantee its
own security and stability
by taking on a more active,
constructive role to provide
order, stability and security in
Syria, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia in December 2006, and his speech at the Arab
League in 2007, it becomes clear that Turkish policy is to remain outside the Shia-
Sunni division. At the same time, Turkey does not follow a passive line; rather, it
pursues an active policy in regard to this tension in the region. Th is policy has
helped Turkey to develop good relations with the Shia-backed Maliki government
in Iraq. Moreover, Turkey has also developed good relations with the Sunni opposition
in the region. Likewise, Turkey is close to both the Sunni establishment
and the Shia opposition in Lebanon.
Th e fourth principle is adherence to a multi-dimensional foreign policy. Turkey’s
relations with other global actors aim to be complementary, not in competition.
Such a policy views Turkey’s strategic relations with the United States
through the two countries’ bilateral ties and through NATO, and considers its
membership process to the EU, its good neighborhood policy with Russia, and its
synchronization policy in Eurasia as integral parts of a consistent policy that serves
to complete each other. Turkey’s multi-dimensional foreign policy has been fi rmly
established for the past 4-5 years, and has been largely successful. Th e most signifi
cant threat to this policy came when the relations with the United States were
expected to collapse in 2007. A serious problem with the United States seemed
imminent, due to the developments concerning the Armenian resolution and the
Iraqi situation. Nevertheless, by the end of 2007, Turkish-American relations had
evolved such that both sides emerged with a better understanding of each other;
channels of communication continue to remain open on both sides. In regard to
the EU, although the integration process slowed down, a serious deadlock was
avoided and the process was not suspended. And although relations with France
seemed to have problems aft er the French elections, the expected crisis was managed
in a pragmatic manner. Overall, the relations with the EU did not progress
to an extent that we would like to see, but the relationship has continued, let alone
being suspended, as many feared. Also, an institutionalized pattern of relations
with Russia emerged.
Th e fi ft h principle in this framework is rhythmic diplomacy. Turkey’s serious
and sustained development in the fi eld of diplomacy becomes evident if we look at
the international meetings and organizations it has hosted since 2003. Th e NATO
Summit and the OIC Summit are just two examples: clearly Turkey has gained
more infl uence in international organizations. Interesting developments in this
regard took place in 2007. For instance, Turkey now has an observer status in the
African Union, a natural result of Turkey’s opening to Africa in 2005. Turkey has
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
been invited to the Arab League twice,
both at the level of foreign minister and
prime minister. Turkey signed a special
agreement with the Arab countries during
a meeting of Iraq’s neighbors held
in Istanbul on November 2 2007. Th is
agreement includes the plans for institutionalizing
the relations among Iraq’s neighbors, and constituting a Turkish-Arab
forum. As this line of important meetings continued, a meeting bringing together
the least developed 50 countries convened in Istanbul in July. On a diff erent note,
Solana and Larijani met in Turkey to discuss the Iranian nuclear issue. Similarly,
the only functional channel between Pakistan and Afghanistan was created by the
initiatives of Mr. Gόl; later, with the initiatives of Turkey’s President and Prime
Minister, Pakistani President Musharraf and Afghan President Karzai met in Turkey
in May. Th is dialogue will continue aft er Pakistan has resolved its current
instability. Similarly, the Palestinian and Israeli Presidents Mahmoud Abbas and
Shimon Peres came together in Ankara before going to the Annapolis meeting in
Turkish foreign policy anticipates a continuation of this pace with reliance on
the successful strategy of rhythmic diplomacy. It is important to recognize the
change in Turkey’s image brought about by its intense diplomatic activities from
2002 to 2007. Turkey now enjoys an image as a responsible state which provides
order and security to the region, one that prioritizes democracy and liberties,
while dealing competently with security problems at home. Turkey’s aim is to intervene
consistently in global issues using international platforms, which signifi es
a transformation for Turkey from a central country to a global power. It should
also be underlined that this transformation is the result of the performance of all
actors involved in foreign policy. Turkey’s success is not only the result of state
policies, but also the activities of civil society, business organizations, and numerous
other organizations, all operating under the guidance of the new vision.
Th e state’s macro strategy is in conformity with the micro strategies of individual
people, corporations, and civil society organizations. To list just a few examples,
one of Turkey’s business confederations, TUSKON (Confederation of Businessman
and Industrialists of Turkiye), organizes the Africa Summit in conformity
with the Africa policy and brings high numbers of African ministers to Turkey.
TUSIAD (Th e Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association) pursues lobby
activities to facilitate Turkey’s entry into the EU. MUSIAD (Th e Independent
If there is not a balance between
security and democracy in
a country, it may not have a
chance to establish an area of
infl uence in its environs
Industrialists and Businessman’s Association)
is actively involved in organizing
business events in the Gulf, bringing
together leading players in global economy and fi nance. And there are many other
civil society organizations whose activities further Turkey’s international aspirations,
like those that reached out to the devastated areas aft er the 2005 earthquake
in Pakistan and the Tsunami in the Indian Ocean. Turkish civil society organizations
form an integral part of the bigger picture defi ned as foreign policy. All of
these elements have become part of Turkey’s new international vision.
Turkey has been one of the most infl uential actors involved in solving the
question of Iraq’s future, during and aft er the invasion of Iraq. Th e meetings of
the Extended Neighboring Countries of Iraq have made a serious contribution to
the Iraqi question in the international arena. Turkey’s eff orts have not only helped
to establish the legitimacy of the Iraqi government, but also paved way for Iraq to
be not solely an American but an international issue to be dealt with within the
framework of the United Nations. Th is ‘neighboring countries’ process was initiated
by Turkey. Due to the presidential election in the Turkish agenda, the fi rst
meeting for bringing together the expanded neighboring countries of Iraq was
convened in Sharm al-Sheikh at the beginning of May 2007. Th e second meeting
was convened in Istanbul in early November of the same year. Th ese two meetings
defi ned a common international attitude toward Iraq. Replacing speculative
scenarios about Iraq’s fragmentation, these meetings have also provided the international
community with a way to commit itself to the territorial integrity and
unity of Iraq.
Today, it is important for Turkey to further establish its position in the Middle
East. Th is position must rest on four main principles. First of all, security for everyone,
not only for this group or that group, this country or that country, but
common security for the entire region. Second, priority must be given to dialogue
as a means of solving crises. Here Turkey’s role as a facilitator is already wellestablished.
Aft er all, why are Turkey’s prime minister, president, and minister of
foreign aff airs paying continuous visits to the Middle East? Because they are the
only leaders who can contact all Middle Eastern leaders. If, for instance, there
were no diplomatic relationship between two powerful countries such as Iran and
Egypt, and if their leaders did not meet, there would be little possibility for establishing
order in the Middle East. Would it be possible to establish order in Europe
Turkey’s most important soft
power is its democracy
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
if France and Britain did not have any
relations? In such a case, a country like
Germany or another important third actor
would have to intervene and set up
channels for political dialogue, just as
Turkey has done and continues to do in
the Middle East. Turkey has undertaken many positive promoter roles among
Middle Eastern states in recent years, some of which have been visible and some
invisible to the public eye. Th ose countries have found every confi dence in Turkey.
Today, Turkey and its diplomatic means have proven to be the strongest and
most reliable channels, not only between states, but also between communities
and non-state actors. All parties acknowledge this. When a message or a concern
has to be delivered from one place to another, Turkish channels are utilized.
Th e third principle is economic interdependence. Order in the Middle East
cannot be achieved in an atmosphere of isolated economies. Th is holds true for
Iraq, Syria, and others. Th e fourth principle is cultural coexistence and plurality.
Historically, none of the Middle Eastern cities have been composed of a homogenous
ethnic and sectarian fabric. Neither Basra, nor Damascus, İstanbul or
Kirkuk is a homogenous city. Th erefore, in order to establish order in the Middle
East, it is essential to maintain this composition in one way or another.
Th e fourth principle of cultural coexistence and plurality is especially important
for Iraq’s future. As ethnic disputes continue in the region, the international
community can take on an advisory role in establishing a multi-cultural and viable
Iraqi government. Several of Iraq’s neighbors have already weighed in on
Iraq’s future. As an important actor in Iraq, Iran prefers an undivided Iraq that is
governed by Shiite dominance. As an equally important actor, Turkey also prefers
Iraq to be undivided, to sustain its balancing role, and not to fall into chaos as a
result of successive surges of instability that would destroy its borders. Jordan considers
possible individual states that would emerge out of an Iraqi disintegration
to be a major threat. Saudi Arabia sees a potential Shiite state that would emerge
out of a fragmented Iraq as an arm stretching right towards the Gulf. Syria believes
that Iraqi disintegration would constitute a heavy blow to Arab nationalism.
In Iraq itself, there are no parties that would benefi t from disintegration. When
all these concerns are gathered together, even if the neighboring countries do not
seem to be able to establish a common ground in a positive and constructive way,
they share a common attitude towards the potentially dangerous consequences
Turkey’s regional impact
extends to the Balkans, the
Middle East, the Caucasus and
of the disintegration of Iraq. Th rough its
Neighboring Countries initiative, Turkey
has kept the ground for constructive
dialogue between Iraq and its neighbors
afl oat since 2003.
Unfortunately there is, at present, no political mechanism that would guarantee
a working political system in Iraq. Turkey’s eff orts to integrate the Sunni community
into the system are well recognized. Beyond that, Turkey maintains close
contacts even with the smallest groups in Iraqi society. According to what has
been observed through these channels until now, these groups remain unable to
compromise on a mutual agreement that would hold the political system in good
working order. Nevertheless, each of these groups is fully aware that they would
suff er from Iraq’s disintegration. Today, looking from this perspective (as opposed
to that of disintegration scenarios that had consistently risen to the agenda in
2005 and 2006) eff orts to centralize Iraq these days focus not on the best possible
structure, but on the most optimal structure. Turkey’s infl uence on the fragmented
groups within Iraqi society, its eff orts to bring together Iraq’s neighbors around
a common platform, its persuasive diplomacy over the USA, and its principled
relationship with the Iraqi government have all played an unprecedented role in
these eff orts.
In 2007, Turkey’s primary concerns over Iraq concentrated on two issues: fi rst,
the rising PKK terror in the region and the likelihood of Northern Iraq becoming
its breeding ground; and secondly, the Iraqi constitution’s Article 140 which had
set the deadline for the referendum in Kirkuk to be held by December of 2007. For
Turkey, the risks in 2007 involved the referendum in Kirkuk and the possibility of
a backlash of internal confl ict, particularly the emergence of a security risk.
Given this context, it was crucial for Turkey to break down this plot in the
making. In light of the political use of the PKK, Turkey had a clear course of action:
building an international and Iraqi coalition and a common stance against
the PKK, and attempting to fi nd a solution that will be acceptable to diff erent
ethnic and sectarian groups in Kirkuk. Today, as was the case by late 2007, it can
be easily said that Turkey has achieved its aims. Moreover, it has become clear
that soft power and military power must be employed in coherence. If these forms
of power are not managed together, even the most successful operation would
bring about damaging results. As a matter of fact, the ascendance of violence during
2006-2007 and its prolongation until October 2007 had a pretty clear target:
foreign policy has been fi rmly
established for the past 4-5
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
Kirkuk’s rise to the agenda. Th e apparent plan was to set Turkey initially against
the communities in Northern Iraq, and then against the Iraqi government, and
fi nally against the Arab World and America, thus ensuring Turkey’s isolation. Turkey’s
ensuing diplomacy to counter this scheme has been the following. On the
one hand, Turkey legitimized hard power through parliamentary resolution. On
the other hand, Turkey hosted almost all of the regional leaders between September
and December, following the presidential nomination. When the resolution
was approved in parliament, the Syrian President visited Turkey and gave his full
support to Turkey’s possible operations against the PKK. Following the approval,
Turkey engaged in intensive contacts with the Palestinian, Israeli, Jordanian and
Saudi Arabian heads of state, and their supports were secured.
Diplomatic relations between Turkey and Iraq also deepened. Iraqi president
Maliki visited Turkey two times and had phone conversations with the Turkish
Prime Minister many times. At the beginning of 2007, the two shared a normal
level of trust; by the end of 2007, their relationship had developed into full-fl edged
confi dence. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan took trips all over the region;
he became the fi rst Turkish Foreign Minister to visit Baghdad. Th e Prime Minister’s
contacts should also be situated at the center of these eff orts.
Against the tactics used by the PKK and other forces behind them, Turkey
has gradually drawn the Iraqi government, regional actors, the United States, the
European Union and Sunni-Shiite and Syriac communities in Iraq closer to itself.
Turkey is in contact with all these groups. In sharp contrast to its initial plans of
isolating Turkey, the PKK has become the party being isolated. Th is reversal demonstrates
how diplomacy, soft power, and hard power can be reconciled in the best
and most consistent manner possible. Owing to the correct timing of diplomacy
and military strategy, there was no piece in the Arab or Western media that disfavored
Turkey. Moreover, no state or international organization confronted Turkey
in an open way. Compared to Turkey’s bitter experience in the 1990s, when its
military actions came under heavy international criticism, the recent developments
indicate a remarkable success on Turkey’s part. Turkey’s success in this matter,
however, was not achieved instantly. Turkey’s total performance was based
on a variety of diff erent eff orts, on diff erent levels, all shaped by its new vision. If
this had not been the case, and Turkey had adopted a less cohesive strategy, the
Syrian president would not have chosen the day of the parliamentary resolution
for his visit to Turkey, nor would he have declared his support for the approval of
the resolution while he was in Turkey. Th e U.S. President would have adopted a
more critical attitude toward Turkey. In reality, due to the eff ectiveness of Turkey’s
eff orts, everyone has come to understand that losing Turkey would be more costly
than loosing the PKK.
Relations with the United States
Turkish-American relations has a solid geopolitical foundation, a strong historic
background and an institutionalized framework. From geopolitical perspective,
it carries almost all characteristics of a relationship between a continental superpower
and a central country having the most optimal geopolitical position in
Afro-Euroasia. Being a continental power located far from Afro-Eurasia landmass
which contains 80-85% of the global population, with its major energy resources,
cultural fortunes, and trade routes and being a superpower in the international
system are the fundamental dialectic of American foreign policy. A superpower
as such can only retain its status by means of alliances within the Afro-Eurasian
continent. For this reason, since the period of Mahan in 1905, there have been
two major components of the US strategy. First, maintaining an eff ective naval
force. Second, implementing regional strategies based on system of alliances
such as the Cold War era’s containment policy, which makes central countries
of Afro-Euroasia, such as Turkey, vital actors of American strategy. Turkey, as a
middle-size central country, on the other hand, needs the strategic weight of a
continental superpower within the parameters of the internal balances of power
Th e strategic alliance between two countries throughout the Cold War has
strengthened historic and institutional dimensions of this geopolitical foundation.
Th ere was a need for the re-adjustment of this foundation in post-Cold War
era in the 90s due to the radical changes in the international system. When we
analyze the fl ashpoints of world politics and the areas of military confrontation
in the post-Cold War era, we can see an intensifi cation in those regions where
three basic factors intersect: the geopolitical areas of strategic vacuum, geo-economic
transportation routes (including energy transfer), and geo-cultural zones
of encounter. Th e end of bipolarity has created sensitive regions where there is a
vacuum of power needed to control the strategic capabilities of the geopolitical
core areas as well as the vast resource-production-trade capabilities of the international
political economy and ethnic/secterian confrontations. US had to face this
challenge as the superpower of the unipolar system while Turkey, as a country at
the heart of all these sensitive regions, had to respond to the risks they pose.
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
Th e delay in re-adjusting Turkish-
American relations in the new dynamic
international/regional environment in
post-Cold War era made Iraq a critical
litmus test for this strategic relation
because all of these three factors were
directly relevant. Th e war in Iraq was
necessary for American strategists to
reframe regional and global order aft er
9/11. Such a war, on the other hand, was a source of great risks for Turkey from
the perspective of all the three factors. Th e negotiations before the Turkish Parliament’s
rejection of the March 1st motion in 2003 and the developments that
followed created mutual hesitations. Th ese hesitations were not only in the minds
of Americans but also in the minds of Turkish policy makers who had serious
concerns regarding the post-War conditions in Iraq due to the ambiguity of the
American plans. Th e rise of the consolidation and activities of the PKK terror in
northern Iraq aft er the Iraqi invasion has also increased these concerns.
Th e period between March 1st of 2003 and November 5th of 2007 was not a
sudden leap but a process. Both sides have reached certain conclusions in the
process. First of all, the Iraqi territorial integrity and political unity is essential
for the national, regional and global interests of both sides, and common eff orts
are needed in this direction. Th e rising threat of PKK to the stability of Turkey
and Iraq, increasing Turkish role in the reconciliation process in Iraq especially
through the political integration of the Sunni Arab elements, the signifi cance of
the regional engagement in Iraq through the process of neighboring countries
meetings, the interdependency between the situation in Iraq and the regional balance
of power proved the necessity of a joint approach. Secondly, there is a wide
scope of common strategic issues which should not be overshadowed by the disagreements
on individual concerns regarding Iraqi policy, such as stability in the
Middle East, Balkans, Caucasia and Central Asia, energy security, enlargement
of NATO, and fi ghting against terrorism. Th e transformation in the Balkans and
the role of NATO presence in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the completion
of Baku-Tiblisi-Ceyhan energy project in 2006 and other joint energy projects,
the increasing role of Turkey in the Middle East issues especially in Lebanon and
Palestine have demonstrated the need for a much more institutionalized channel
of consultation and cooperation. Th e fact that President Bush and Prime Minister
Erdoğan have consulted on the situation in Darfur in their meeting in October
Turkey now enjoys an image
as a responsible state which
provides order and security to
the region, one that prioritizes
democracy and liberties, while
dealing competently with
security problems at home
2006 indicates the diversifi cation of common agenda. Th irdly, there is a need of
new methodology and mechanisms for the readjustment of bilateral strategic relation.
Th e document entitled “Shared Vision and Structured Dialogue to Advance
the Turkish-American Strategic Partnership” declared by the then Foreign Minister
Gόl and Secretary of State Rice in July 2006 refl ected these conclusions and
priorities of both sides as an attempt of re-adjustment of bilateral relations.
Despite this common ground, 2007 was seen by some circles as a year of risk
in the Turkish-American relations at the beginning of the year due to the challenges
of PKK terror and Armenian resolution. Rational approaches on both sides
regarding these issues, however, did not only prevent a turbulence in bilateral
relations, but also prepared the ground for a new era of cooperation based on
frank and constructive consultation. In this sense, the Erdoğan-Bush summit
in November 2007 became a historic turning point. I regard the amelioration of
attitudes and creation of a common ground in Turkish-American relations as a
great achievement in 2007, and a step in the right direction for both parties. Th e
psychological ground on which Turkish-American relations is now moving has
been reconstituted. In this framework, Turkey is no longer a sole alliance nation
whose support is taken for granted, but a signifi cant country with regional and
global infl uence whose strong vision and the proven capacity to make meaningful
contributions need to be taken into account by a healthier communication and a
Th is new understanding is a natural consequence of Turkey’s foreign policy
performance. For instance, Turkey’s eff orts to integrate the Sunnis into the political
process in Iraq have been the most important success story among the
many other reconciliatory attempts made in the last fi ve years. In consequence,
the United States noticed that Turkey’s unseen soft power cannot be disregarded.
No one was expecting this outcome at that time. Over time, it has also been observed
in relation to Iraq that Turkey’s Iraqi policy does not depend merely on a
bare security refl ex, with all the obstacles that would encumber such a stance. On
the contrary, Turkey has a constructive attitude towards Iraq. Turkey developed
meaningful and rational projects on diverse issues in Iraq including Kirkuk, and
shared those with the Iraqi government, Iraqi groups, Americans and neighboring
countries. As for the Palestinian question, it is imperative to see and appreciate
the picture that Mahmoud Abbas and Shimon Peres exhibited during the Ankara
Forum meetings. All these new structures of relationship are products of Turkey’s
foreign policy performance. Th e United States has recently been making a good
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
assessment of this potential. Against this
background, a Turkish-American alliance
that relies on a solid geopolitical
basis and bears no historical prejudices
can be successfully sustained at diplomatic
and political levels.
Turkey is neither a country that has an excess of energy nor a country that produces
energy. Th anks to the geographical position Turkey enjoys, part of its national
strategy involves facilitating the transit of energy across its territory, which
is central to the East-West energy corridor. Th e most signifi cant oil pipeline project
in this regard, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan, initially travels to the West and later
descends to the south. It connects the trans-Caspian to Turkey and enables Turkish
access to Central Asia. Among Turkey’s mid-term targets is to link Kazakh
oil to this route. Secondly, “Şah Deniz”, a natural gas project that will connect the
energy routes of Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey with Greece, will create a new
East-West belt. With the Nabucco gas pipeline project, the Turkish energy corridor
stretching from East to West will be expanded.
Turkey’s energy agreements with Iran go back to 1996. During the present
government’s tenure, there has been no retreat from these energy agreements;
on the contrary, there have been continual eff orts toward improvement. Here all
our allies should take into consideration Turkey’s unique position. As a growing
economy and surrounded by energy resources, Turkey needs Iranian energy as a
natural extension of its national interests. Th erefore, Turkey’s energy agreements
with Iran cannot be dependent upon its relationships with other countries.
It is oft en claimed that energy projects engaging Iran and other neighbors
bypass and upset Russia. To the contrary, the route that extends from the Blue
Stream in the North and to the Eastern Mediterranean, through Aqaba, and all
those routes that descend from the North to the South actually safeguard Russia’s
interests. With that in mind, it is important to manage the East-West routes
in a way that takes the interest of international community into consideration.
Looking to the future, another route that is less anticipated but that could become
important in the future is a potential South-North route that would carry Arab
natural gas through Egypt-Syria-Jordan. Secondly, the most optimum transit corridor
for oil and natural gas for Iraqi energy resources would be a route over Ana-
Turkey is now a country that
has original thoughts extending
from Ankara to Pakistan, Saudi
Arabia to Latin America
tolia to the East Mediterranean, Europe
or Black Sea. Parallel to this, another
potential project to consider seriously in
the future is the transit of oil and natural
gas from the Gulf to Europe in a South-
North direction. Carrying liquefi ed
natural gas (LNG) from a risky region
like the Gulf to the European markets has tremendous risks, especially due to the
unstable balance of power in the Gulf.
Turkey’s national interest lies in the proper utilization of its geography. Here,
what disappoints and surprises us is the EU’s inability to grasp this vision. Some
Europeans seem to have this thought in mind: the Turkish state and its people are
not European but Turkey’s geography is freely open to European use. Such logic
does not provide a solid ground for managing Turkish-European relations. Th e
fact that the countries most opposed to Turkey’s integration into the EU are also
those that hold high expectations for these energy projects is a great contradiction.
Th e EU will comprehend this fact at some point. Turkey is patiently waiting
for the EU to appreciate its indispensable position with regard to energy security,
cultural politics and transit routes. When they acknowledge Turkey’s value
in these terms, they will realize that Europe’s global power can only be attained
through Turkey’s full integration into Europe. Turkey shares common interests
with Russia, Iran, and the United States for the successful operation of natural
gas and oil pipelines that run in various directions through the Turkish territory.
Hence, Turkish analysts try to combine all these interests in one single picture.
Th is is a rational calculation, not an ideological account. Turkey’s relations with
Iran will continue, and eff orts will be made to preserve its understanding with
Russia, based on mutual interest. As far as cooperation with the United States in
the fi eld of energy concerns, the joint projects on the Trans-Caspian as well as
strategic approach for energy security in global economy will be maintained in
the most eff ective way.
Th e European Union and Cyprus
Four processes are crucial for putting Turkey’s relations with the EU on the
right track. First is Turkey’s integration process into the EU. Because this has been
a process of modernization and reform for domestic transformation, it is impor-
As a growing economy
and surrounded by energy
resources, Turkey needs Iranian
energy as a natural extension of
its national interests
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
tant for Turkey to pursue it independently,
even if the EU freezes all its relations
with Turkey. Th e Turkish government
has shown its will to do this. It declared
at the beginning of 2007 that it would
do so until 2013. Th is determination on
Turkey’s part could not be implemented
much in 2007. Why? When this declaration
came to the fore in February, it meant that Turkey will continue to pursue
progress in the reform process without becoming discouraged by the suspension
of eight chapters because of Cyprus question. Aft er making this declaration of its
strong will to move forward along the road of accession, however, Turkey became
entangled in domestic political issues. Th e year was marked by presidential elections,
parliamentary elections, and a surge of PKK terror. In spite of these events,
the reform process did not stop and some progress was made. International attention
turned to Turkey, as many expected a crisis in April and May. Th e ‘sick man’
image again rose to the fore. In Europe, Turkey’s critics considered the situation
as strengthening their hands. Th ey were not expecting Turkey to overcome the
crisis so easily. Yet Turkey’s successful handling of the crisis ultimately served only
to increase trust in Turkey; even the French elections could not have a negative
impact on this confi dence. It is now time for Turkey to acknowledge its success in
this matter and to step forward in its revision of the constitution. Th is and other
reforms should be realized independently of the voices in Europe.
Th e second process involves a technical dimension, namely relations with the
EU Commission. Turkey has not had a serious problem with the Commission
since November 2005. On a technical level, the opening of negotiation chapters
and the following of this process was successful. Six chapters are opened, one is
closed and two are waiting. Education and culture is one of them. Th e technical
process is going smoothly since the Commission’s behavior is based on objective
criteria. Turkey’s real problem is the political negotiations at the level of the
European Council, which constitute the third necessary process. Whatever steps
Turkey takes toward improving its record, some actors would continue to set obstacles
before Turkey, which will slow down the process. Th ey consider the political
process as an opportunity to exploit for their own benefi t.
Th e fourth process is in the strategic dimension. Th e integration process and
its component reforms are prerequisites. However, a strategic vision is necessary
Turkey is patiently waiting
for the EU to appreciate its
indispensable position with
regard to energy security,
cultural politics and transit
to guarantee Turkey’s future in Europe. If
there is a defi cit in this vision, it will not
be possible to overcome the resistance
of certain countries. During the last EU
summit, a play of words led to ambiguity
over Turkey’s participation, and we were
not part of this setting. If Turkey were to
respond harshly to the negative developments,
as was expected by some circles
in Europe, relations would have been suspended by now. Th e process continues
in a critical way, largely due to developments in Europe, beyond our own control.
We have had a paradoxical situation as far as the domestic setting in France and
Germany is concerned. During periods when the Turkish-EU relations were on
a smooth path, actors critical of Turkey were in power in France and Germany.
When Turkey’s integration with the EU was going through diffi cult times, actors
close to Turkey dominated the political scene in these countries.
Nevertheless, the trauma expected to aff ect Turkish-EU relations aft er French
elections did not materialize. Th is is due to the fact that a dialogue channel was
established between the leaders of the two countries. Th is diplomatic channel of
dialogue remains open and provides continuous contact between Turkey and
France. Turkey made clear to the French administration that their approach of
seeking good bilateral relations and cooperation in regional aff airs while setting
obstacles to Turkey on the European level is not acceptable. Turkey’s policy has
three components in regard to relations not only with France but also with all
other European countries. Th ese are bilateral relations, EU-level relations, and
regional/global relations. None of them can be compromised at the expense of
the other. It is not possible to cooperate with an actor in the Middle East, which
is simultaneously pursuing a critical stance toward Turkey at the EU level. Turkey
will not allow such a problematic form of relationship to develop in its dealings
with France and other countries.
A major reason why the French acted prudently was their appreciation of the
weight of democratic process in Turkey. Moreover, they also came to understand
that if Turkish-French relations evolved in a positive direction, there would be
great potential for cooperation in many areas especially in the Middle East. Turkey
is in this geography and will stay here. Countries that wish to have an active role in
this geography should take Turkey seriously into consideration with all its weight.
Turkey shares common
interests with Russia, Iran,
and the United States for the
successful operation of natural
gas and oil pipelines that run in
various directions through the
Turkey’s Foreign Policy Vision: An Assessment of 2007
Turkey cannot demand EU membership
from a position of waiting outside
the door. We need to undertake diplomatic
initiatives to prepare the ground
and foster the psychological atmosphere to achieve this goal. It is important to
take stock of the new situation; the EU has changed the process to a technical and
routine one due to the suspension of eight chapters. Nevertheless, the process is
continuing between technical teams. Th e last EU progress report was both appreciative
and critical of the current developments in Turkey. Such assessments of
the reform process are necessary and it is pointless to oppose them. Th ey indicate
what to do and their purpose is to expedite Turkey’s smooth progress toward integration.
Th e section of the Progress Report, however, contained a misguided interpretation
about Cyprus. No new and comprehensive peace for Cyprus is on the horizon
under the current conditions. Greek Cypriots are aware of this situation and
they try to strengthen their position within the EU accordingly. Turkey has sought
every possible way to explain its just position. One possible way to persuade the
EU would be to capitalize on Turkey’s increasing strategic weight. A second policy
could be to intensify the exchanges of Northern Cyprus with other actors so that
it is increasingly integrated to outside world. Indeed, 2007 was a good year for
Northern Cyprus, and four openings now present themselves. Th e fi rst is in the
Council of Europe. Th e second is the opening of trade offi ces in Gulf countries.
Th e third is the start of mutual sea cruises to Syria’s Lazkiye port. And the fourth
is the offi cial state visits. President Talat has been received as head of state in Pakistan.
Th e OIC General Secretary and OIC teams visited Northern Cyprus with
offi cial status. Promisingly, the economic gap between the North Cyprus and the
South has decreased. A point may come when it may be necessary to persuade
the Northern Cypriots to unify with the South, for their recognition by the international
community and growing standards of life in the North will remove the
rationale for doing so. Th eir conditions are indeed improving.
First of all, Turkey needs to deepen and enrich its democracy, accommodate
the diff erences within its society, and strengthen the coordination and balance
within its institutions in 2008 and the years that follow. In this way, Turkey’s internal
situation will be considered an asset by external actors. Furthermore, Turkey
should avoid crises like the ones that occurred in April and May of 2007,
Strategic vision is necessary to
guarantee Turkey’s future in
which undermined the country’s image
and reputation outside. Secondly, Turkey
needs to deepen its participation
in regional matters. Specifi cally, Turkey
should contribute to peace, security, and
prosperity in its region. Obviously, Turkey
would benefi t from such a positive
environment; working toward it would
raise Turkey to an internationally proactive
position. Th is elevation could occur via Turkey’s implementation of energy,
transportation, and cultural policies. Turkey could pursue a more infl uential policy
line in international politics aft er asserting itself in its regional setting. When
these principles take roots, the relations with the United States will be pursued in
a more mutually benefi cial and meaningful way and the relations with the EU will
have a stronger base. Aft er all, Turkey is the rising actor in the region and will be
sensitive to the concerns of other regional players. In that respect, it will develop
a balanced relationship with Russia. Th e activities of civil society and Turkish
intellectuals will contribute to the attainment of those common goals. Turkey’s
engagements from Chile to Indonesia, from Africa to Central Asia, and from EU
to OIC will be part of a holistic approach to foreign policy. Th ese initiatives will
make Turkey a global actor as we approach 2023, the one hundredth anniversary
of the establishment of the Turkish republic.
Turkey needs to deepen
and enrich its democracy,
accommodate the diff erences
within its society, and
strengthen the coordination
and balance within its