There was a time not too long ago when Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu was hailed as one of the most brilliant minds in contemporary international diplomacy. His doctrine of ‘zero problems’ with Turkey’s neighbours drew praise as ‘visionary’. But when Davutoglu asserts, as he did today that Turkey is prepared to go to war with Syria, it only strengthens a growing opinion that Turkish foreign policy is of late losing its way.
Where exactly Turkish foreign policy is heading is becoming hard to say, but the ground reality is that Ankara is alienating its neighbours. Alas, Davutoglu has lost his magical touch. Or, is it that this highly cerebral political scientist and academic is simply left with no choice but to follow his chief’s — Prime Minister Recep Erdogan’s — whimsical lead?
Davutoglu fumbled to give a cogent reasoning as to why Turkey wants to go to war with Syria. There are 7605 Syrian ‘refugees’ in Turkey at the moment, which is hardly good enough reason to attack a neighbouring country. Yet, Turkish army is concentrating on the Syrian border.
Perhaps, the reason is to be found in the very denial Davutoglu gave when he said Turkey is not acting in concert with the West’s strategies in the Middle East. Davutoglu’s reasoning is that the developments in Syria cannot be considered as that country’s internal affair. “We shouldn’t be indifferent towards the oppression and ongoing violence in Syria. We support the Syrian people’s pleas and Turkey will not abandon them in their needs”, he said. That is plain nonsense. Turkey does not hesitate to use military force against its own people.
Again, why is Erdogan selective in his democracy project? He turns a blind eye to the repression in Bahrain or Saudi Arabia but gets excited over Libya and Syria. It seems increasingly that there is a pattern behind Erdogan’s erratic policies. He is emulating Barack Obama — flowery rhetoric hiding realpolitik. He seems once again placing Turkey in the vanguard of the West’s regional strategies as in the Cold War era. Yet his alienation of Israel endears him to the ‘Arab street’. Maybe, he sees what we cannot, namely, that a western military intervention in Syria is on the cards — with or without a UN mandate.
Posted in Politics.
– October 7, 2011