Turkey between Introversion and Regional Hegemony : From Ozal to Davutoglu

Επιστημονικό άρθρο που γράφτηκε πριν 4 χρόνια, όταν ο Αχμέτ Νταβούτογλου ανέλαβε το τουρκικό ΥΠΕΞ και άρχισε να θέτει σε εφαρμογή το δόγμα των <<Μηδενικών Προβλημάτων με τους Γείτονες>>. Παρουσιάζει εξαιρετικό ενδιαφέρον, το πως θα συμπεριφερθεί η Τουρκία στις διεθνείς της σχέσεις υπό την απόλυτη καθοδήγηση της δυαρχίας Ερντογάν- Νταβούτογλου τώρα που ο τελευταίος αναλαμβάνει την πρωθυπουργία. Εμείς θα παρακολουθούμε.

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Nicos Panayiotides * Journalist- Visiting Lecturer of Political Studies  American College

Published (The Cyprus Journal of Sciences Vol 8/ 2010)

 

ABSTRACT

 

The aim of this article is to demonstrate Turkey’s efforts to become a strong regional power, using its capability to exert geopolitical influence. It analyzes Turkey’s foreign policy under the prism that Turkish politicians are very well aware, that USA needs turkish support in the Middle East in order to promote its regional interests. Using as case referrals the strategy of the Turkish President, Turgut Ozal, during the Gulf crisis (1991), as well as the Grand Strategy of Turkey under the current minister of Foreign Affairs, Ahmed Davutoglu, it is trying to illuminate the neo- ottoman model to the turkish foreign policy and its consequences on the regional states, Greece and Cyprus. More specifically, this article shows that Turkey’s efforts to gain Regional Hegemony runs at the expense of a fair solution of the Cyprus Problem.

 

Keywords: Regional Hegemony; New Ottoman Model; Pax Ottomana; Cyprus Problem; Hegemonic Power.

 

 

  1. Introduction

 

The founder of the modern turkish state, Kemal Ataturk, having the full knowledge of Turkey’s weakness after World War I[1] and wanting to free his country from every external binding related to the ottoman heritage, he proclaimed the doctrine of “peace in the country, peace in the world.”[2] However, not all subsequent formers of turkish foreign policy willingly adopted this doctrine. On the contrary, there were- and still are- those politicians who are flirting with the country’s ottoman past and depending on international coincidences, they want Turkey to adopt a more active presence and role in the sub-system that belongs, with whatever this entails. Examples like these, are the ex President and Prime Minister, Turgut Ozal[3], as well as the policy followed by Turkey’s governing party, of Justice and Development (AKP), with main inspirer, the current minister of foreign affairs of Turkey, Ahmed Davutoglu. Before, however, entering into an analytical record of the policy of these two men, we will try to outline the post – cold war environment in which Turkey found itself.

 

The enormous systemic change that came after the collapse of the Soviet Union and the redistributions of power caused by it, brought Turkey face to face with new challenges, new dilemmas, but also facing the need for the redefinition of its role and interests in the international system. The threat which was in the northeast for over fifty years eliminated or decreased. Now, the role of the turkish state as the basic embankment of the West against soviet penetration into the Middle East differentiated. It acquired borders with new states and was confronted with which policy to follow against these states, with which it is culturally related. Some of the countries which acquired their independence from the former USSR are considered to be of Turkish descent and Ankara-did not- and does not hesitate to use this relation to promote her influence on the area.[4] A number of analysts of that period have talked about Ankara’s neo-ottoman policy.

 

The changes in the international and regional distribution of power, after the collapse of former USSR, were also reflected in other states with aspirations in the region, like Iran. In addition, the enfeeblement of the power factors of the former Soviet Union also reduced the capabilities of the client – states, of which Russia acted as a protector. States bordering with Turkey, as Syria, lost their main ally. At the same time the Palestinians lost the possibility to manoeuvre between the superpowers and as a result they were forced to accept the Oslo agreement (September 1993) .[5]

 

 

2. Turkey’s Strategy after The Cold War

 

In between these developments, Turkey was called to make some important decisions which would allow it to continue to cash, either way, its important geopolitical position. Towards the end of the 80s and beginning of the 90s, Turgut Ozal tries to underline again to the Americans the important geopolitical position of his country.[6] Using as a means its Islamic identity, but also diverging from the traditional non-adventurist line of non expansion or intervention to surrounding states (Deringil, 1992), Turkey will move towards obtaining a new role in the area, the role of the regional hegemon. Demonstrating his expansive aspirations, the Turkish politician will declare in a Greek newspaper (May 1991) that “ The Dodecanese Islands was never Greek, they belonged to the Ottoman Empire. If I had been in Ismet Inonu’s place in 1944, i would have gone in and taken them. Turkey committed a historic error in this case.” (Deringil, 1992)

Turgut Ozal is considered to be the politician who introduced the neo -ottoman model to the Turkish foreign policy. What exactly is neo-ottomanism, though? As Yiorgos Karambelias (2009), notices: “ Neo-ottomanism is a completion and expansion of islamism-kemalism, in the field of foreign affairs and regional policy. Confronted with the weakening of most of Turkey’s neighbours, the temptation is born for an expansive policy with new conditions, a combination of economic, military and geopolitical power, which uses Islam and the strategic alliance with the West as its two gateways.”

At this point it is useful, for the purpose of our analysis, to refer to how political scientists set the boundaries of Turkey’s history, from the foundation of the Turkish republic to Ozal’s prevalence in 1983 (Veremis, 1995). The first period starts with the foundation of the Turkish Republic by Ataturk (29th October 1923) and ends with World War II.[7] This period is characterized by the avoidance of any involvement in the area, beyond the securing of its borders. The Lausanne Treaty, which essentially certifies the deconstruction of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the Arabic state system, is in a prime position. However, during this period, and specifically in 1939 Turkey, with flexible diplomatic manoeuvres, and in violation of the Lausanne Treaty gets Alexandretta with the help of France.

 

The second period ends in 1964 with the crisis in Cyprus. During this period, Turkey plays the role of the deputy of western interests via the Baghdad Pact (February 1955) and then CENTO which was under american supervision. It is worth noting that during this period the Middle East is split into two opposing sides. The first one consists of states which are supportive and friendly to the West, while the second one consists of states which are under the Soviet Union. The United Arab Republic (1958-1961) with the unification of Syria and Egypt will be the beginning of what the experts in Middle East happenings have called       “ the Arabic cold war”.[8] In between these developments, one can realize how important Turkey is for the West, as well as the narrow boundaries in which the strategy of the Greek Cypriot leadership should be articulated as far as the Cyprus Problem is concerned.

 

Finally, the third period ends in 1980 and is characterized by Turkey’s turn to the USSR[9] as well as the reviving of its relations with the Muslim states. When Turgut Ozal came into power in 1983, the main strength of turkish policy was the position his country held during the second Gulf crisis, having as its main aim to obtain regional hegemony.

As far as this crisis is concerned (Niblock, 1994), its historical and political boundary was articulated in the following way: In August 1990, Saddam Hussein accused Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates of exceeding their share in oil production by far and that they deliberately increased petrol prices, which for Iraq, was a cause of war. Saddam Hussein then demanded from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait to forget the 40 billion dollar loans that Iraq owed them. Revisional Iraq under Saddam Husein went a step further, demanding from Kuwait to give it control of the area of Rumaila which was rich in deposits, as well as compensation of 2.4 billion dollars for the oil it had drawn up to that point. Saddam Hussein also demanded from Kuwait to give Iraq control of certain islands which made access to the Gulf easier.

 

Numerous efforts from the Arabic governments to avoid the crisis, failed, and as a result on 2nd August Iraq projects its revisional might, conquering small Kuwait. At this point let us be allowed to turn our attention to the Cyprus Problem: Twenty seven years after the Turkish invasion to Cyprus, an expansionist state (Iraq), much more powerful than small Kuwait, attacks it, violating every international justice norm. The answer of the international community is known. Nevertheless, when Turkey invaded Cyprus in 1974, the international community, including the then Great Powers remained uninterested and did nothing. This, however, was not the case with the invasion of Iraq into Kuwait, since a mechanism of “collective security” was set very soon, and pointed out the victimizer (Iraq) and the victim (Kuwait) and afterwards, with the “Provide comfort” project, exerting superior power (24th February 1991) made the revisional state return to status quo ante. Iraq, which was quite hurt after an eight – year war against Iran, tried again to rearrange its powers. Internal reasons (prevention of destabilization of the regime due to financial causes) as well as external reasons (acquiring regional hegemony) indicated its revisional strategy against Kuwait. All this unfolded in the regional level.

 

In the international level, the collapse of the bipolar international system and the emerging of a new structure under the supremacy of the USA, dictated the re-engraving of its strategy as well as the reaffirmation of its role in the international system. The Gulf War and what came after it constituted the occasion for the consolidation of “Pax Americana” in the new international system. The hegemonic power wanted also to safeguard the control of the sub- system of the Middle East which was rich in oil deposits. Relevantly, in the Gulf crisis, the attitude of the USA brings in the limelight, the selective actions “double moral criteria” (Wight, 1991) when the major games in the region are threatened: The flow and price of oil and a favorable balance of power for the superpower, with the prevention of appointment of strengthened local poles of power, harmful for the regional interests of USA. Such developments may have also destabilizing results for the safety of USA’s regional allies (Turkey-Israel) . From a different point of view, the regional allies of the superpower (Turkey-Israel) are ready to profit from the redistribution of power,[10] but also to contribute to their consolidation.

 

At this point we are obliged to return to Ozal’s strategy. The Turkish politician, waiving the reactions in the interior[11], is all ready to profit from the whole crisis. Ozal’s statements are indicative of his intentions: “My conviction is that Turkey should leave its previous passive and non decisive policy and follow a more energetic policy. The reason for which I placed this objective is that we are a powerful country in the region.” (Veremis,1995).

 

Despite the material profit that his country acquired from its involvement in the crisis[12], Ozal’s words were consistent with his actions. He ordered the closure of the pipeline that transported oil from Iraq to the Mediterranean via Turkey (despite the economic cost) and allowed the american aviation to use the base in Injirlik for attacks against Iraq.

 

So, Turgut Ozal accomplished to underline again to the West that Turkey can always be useful to the engraving of american strategy in the region. On one hand, as an important geopolitical axis, with an increased role and prestige in the region, and on the other hand, as an Islamic state with a cosmic character, which can be the <<peacemaking state>> through its parliamentary experience, and this will help the West to handle the <<outcast states>> of the Arabic – middle eastern sub- system.

 

At the regional level, the importance of Turkey for the american strategy is shown. Consequently, it emerges that states with an important geopolitical position can profit from the systemic interactions, acquiring thus the power to violate international justice, and as a result to be intolerant to any efforts for negotiations. Consequently, regional problems such as the Cyprus Problem are difficult to be solved based on the rules of international justice. On the contrary, they are perpetuated in the meshes of power created by the hammering of cliental relations – on an exchanging basis- between the superpower (USA) and its client states (Turkey). Such states are useful as critical geopolitical axons in important regions on the planet. As the Professor of International Relations, and excellent expert in geostrategy, Zbigniew Brzezinski (1998), points out: “Turkey is an important geopolitical axis. It stabilises the region of Black Sea, it checks the access from it into the Mediterranean, it compensates Russia in Caucasus, it also constitutes an antidote to the Muslim fundamentalism and is useful as a southern anchorage of NATO.”

In his effort to show the potentially vulnerable position the United States will find itself in, in the event that Turkey is not obedient to the American commands, Brzezinski adds: “An unsteady Turkey would probably start more violence in the southern Balkans, while it would facilitate the Russian control in the southern Balkans.”

At this point it should be noted that the Turkish intervening policy is not terminated with the death of Turgut Ozal in 1993, but is also continued by his successors. Turkey did not hesitate to intervene in the Balkan region with the pretext of the existence there of Turkish and islamic minorities, but also in order to create balancing processes against Greece. Once again, it secures its geopolitical position by granting bases to America.

 

During the Bosnia crisis (1992-1995), the United States with the help of Ankara will get involved in the creation of the Croatian-Muslim alliance (March 1994) by providing equipment and educating the Bosnian Muslims, changing the local balance against the Serbian side (Uzgel, 2001). During the Kosovo crisis, in order to underline again its geopolitical position, Turkey will allow the American forces to use two bases in Western Turkey, strengthening thus the effectiveness of the strategic bombardment of Yugoslavia, in April 1999.[13] Even though finally the Turkish bases did not need to be used because of the acceptance by Belgrade of the terms of NATO, this fact indisputably proves once again the dependence of American geostrategy on Turkey.

 

Finally, in the critical decade of 1990, Turkey appears to be credited by the West and mainly the USA with the possibility of exercising geopolitical and strategic influence in the wider region in which it belongs. From another perspective, the cloak of neo – ottomanism in which Turkey seems to be dressed in, in the region of Caucasus and Central Asia, brings it in opposition with other powers in the area, namely Russia and Iran. Also, the whole effort basically contains the element of contradiction because as we know in the interior of Turkey, when Islam rekindles, then this causes nuisances to the military. As far as the Cyprus Problem is concerned, however, Ankara with its strategy, acquires further support for its intransigence.

 

3.Turkish Geostrategy: Ahmed Davutoglu

and the theory of “Strategic Depth”.

 

At this point we will turn our attention to the current Turkish Foreign policy and specifically to the person considered its absolute reformer, the professor of geopolitics, Ahmed Davutoglu. Davutoglu, who is the head adviser of the Turkish Prime Minister, Tayip Erdogan on foreign policy issues, was upgraded in May 2009 to minister of the foreign affairs of the Erdogan Government. He is the inspirer of the doctrine of “strategic depth” (Davutoglu, 2010). This doctrine promises that the strategic depth, presupposes a geographical and a historical depth. According to the Turkish professor, Turkey as the contractor country of the Ottoman Empire possesses important geographic depth. This geographic depth places Turkey in the epicentre of many geopolitical fields of influence. Consequently, rationalizing the aforementioned, the Turkish geopolitician indicates that the doctrine of strategic depth requires active commitment to all the regional sub-systems that border on Turkey. This approach of the Turkish professor, however, lurks dangers for Turkey itself, as well as for the regional peace and stability.

 

It should be noted that, Ahmed Davutoglu, indicates that Turkey should not be considered a geopolitical region, but a geographic-geopolitical centre     (Mazis, 2008). It is the geographic centre of Afro-Eurasia, located at the point where Europe meets Asia and Africa. It has, therefore a central geographic position and allocates inhexaustible geographic depth, extended to the Balkans/Europe, Eurasia[14], Asia, Middle East and North Africa. Relevantly, as we have also seen with the policy of Ozal and his successors, Ahmed Davutoglu prefers the Turkish foreign policy to be intensely involved in all the geographic areas that surround it.

 

More analytically, the planning proposed by the Turk geostrategist abuts in two axes (Mazis, 2008) of exercise of geopolitical influence:

a) economic/active (private investment in Central Asia and reinforcement of transit energy role of Turkey)[15] and

b) cultural (intensification and projection of linguistic/cultural kinship, reinforcement of bonds via the Islamic cultural tool).

Ahmed Davutoglu does not omit to mention the new upgraded geopolitical role he wants his country to play. In a conference in Sarajevo[16] he mentioned among other things: “We wish for a new Balkan, that will be founded in political values, economic interdependence, collaboration and political harmony. All this was ensured in the Balkans”. And he adds: “We will revive this era, the Ottoman Balkans were a successful part of History and now it should be reborn”.

The Turkish minister of foreign affairs unfolding his thoughts even more, he adds: “We will make the Balkans, Caucasus, the Middle East, along with Turkey, the epicentre of the international political scene”. Studying Davutoglu’s statements, we can easily observe that his mentioning of “Ottoman Balkans” refers to his theory on geographic depth, while the mentioning of all the all above regions that along with Turkey will constitute the epicentre of international relations, refers to his theory on “strategic/geographic depth”. Underlining the phrase along with Turkey clearly refers to the fact that Turkey – according to Davutoglu- should be the geopolitical centre that will lead the new period of “Pax Ottomana”.

All these perceptions of Davutoglu for the reviving of a new regional order in the area, mean that regional problems – like the Cyprus problem- will be solved on Turkey’s terms. Finally, the Turkish politician supports that there is no incompatibility between Islam and western democracy and he is a warm supporter of Turkey’s entry in the European Union.[17] The geo- economic dimension of the geopolitical vision should not be overlooked. It should be noted that Turkey is “a rising economy” and is a member of the 20 industrial states, G-20. Since 31st December 1995 it has been commercially connected to the European Union. Main commercial partners of the country are the EU (59% of exports and 52% of imports), the USA, Russia, Japan and the Gulf countries (Rakkas, 2009).

 

At this point, however, we should turn our attention to the Cyprus Problem. To reinforce the aforementioned, the Turkish minister of the Exterior in a shared press conference with the Swedish Presidency and the Commission on 21st December 2009 expressed deep disappointment for the decision of Nicosia to freeze the six Turkish negotiation chapters. Characterizing the decision as one sided, he reported that it causes more and more concern for Turkey, how long these matters can continue, which as he supported, have nothing to do with the negotiations, but with certain irrelevant political matters, thus blocking the way between Turkey and EU. Ahmed Davutoglu went on to say, that the majority of the member states realise Turkey’s strategic advantages. He also mentioned that these “minor matters” cannot avert from the great advantages the European Union acquires, due to its relations with Turkey. As we observe, the Turkish minister considers the illegal possession of Cyprus from his country “a minor matter”, which the European Union should overlook compared to other advantages that Turkey will offer to her. More specifically, in his book “Strategic Depth: Turkey’s International Position”, the Turkish Minister mentions: “Even if neither one Muslim Turk existed in Cyprus,Turkey owed to maintain a Cypriot question. No one country can remain incurious for such an island, that it is found in the heart of her vital space”. Analyzing more his geopolitical reasoning, Ahmet Davutoglu , adds: “Cyprus has a central position in the world continent as it is found in equal distance from Europe, Asia and Africa.it has the place of constant base and aircraft carrier, that will touch the pulse of marine ways of Anten and Chormouz, along with the basins of Gulf and Caspian Sea, that is the most important ways of connection Eurasia-Africa.A country that ignores Cyprus cannot be active in the world and regional policies.”

So, Davutoglu’s views regarding Cyprus do not render us optimistic that there is the required political will from the Turkish political elit for a peaceful settlement of the Cyprus Problem, where Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots will live in conditions of peace and security. The geopolitical perspective under which Ahmed Davutoglu faces the Cyprus Problem provokes great concerns if Turkey really wants to leave the two communities to administer their common future.

 

Moreover, we may add that the Turk geostrategist does not omit in any way to underline the geopolitical position of his country to the superpower (USA), in his effort to realise political profits from this position. The policy of “no problems” with the neighbours, which aims to settle Turkey’s relations with Armenia as well as Syria, and Ankara’s efforts to acquire a mediatory role in the conflict of the United States with Iran for its nuclear program, aim to send messages to the superpower that Turkey does constitute this “hegemonic stabilizer” the Americans can rely on, in order to solve regional problems which threaten their interests.

 

However, this direction of alliance between USA and Turkey is not unilateral, as we also mentioned above. Ahmed Davutoglu seeks to extract political profits and perhaps the tolerance of American government for the way of resolution of the Cypriot problem. The Turkish minister of Foreign Affairs himself, in his interview in “Newsweek”[18] magazine, when asked what the USA is expecting from Turkey, he answered the following: “If you allow me, the way that this question is formulated corresponds to the logic of the Cold War. It suggests that there is a superpower, the United States, which expects various things from its allies. However, alliance means mutuality. It has to do with communication, not only imposition. If you ask the minister of Foreign Affairs, Hilary Clinton, to tell you the ten most important matters of American foreign policy and then you ask me the same question, you will see that we will report the same things: “Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, energy safety, Caucasus, Balkans.” Being a professor of Geopolitics himself and consequently an expert in the theory of “client-state” relations” between actors of unequal power, Davutoglu sends the USA the message that in order to take, they will have to give. Additionally, Davutoglu knows that Americans cannot impose their opinion on Turkey 100 %, but will have to collaborate if they want to keep –with its collaboration- a favorable distribution of power in the various regional fronts, in which Ankara is willing to act, with its major strategy on “strategic depth”.

 

More analytically, in an alliance where the participants are of unequal power (NATO), it is very likely for the powerful state (USA) to find itself in what is called “the trap of investment”. That is to say, it is in the interest of the powerful side that nothing happens, which will cancel previous military and political investments. Abiding by the proportions that are in effect in each individualised case, the United States interests lie with “nothing happening” on Turkey’s part, that would endanger their interests in the sensitive region of the Middle East. Ahmed Davutoglu, as an expert in geopolitics, realises that there is a type of dependence on the USA by Turkey, specifically with regard to the region of the Middle East, as well as Caucasus.

 

In the theory of client-state relations (Ifestos, 2000) this is called “tyranny of the weak”. The tactics that are adopted vary in every case. They could have to do with the stubborn and final refusal of the less powerful party to obey the orders of the hegemonic power, and even the reliable formulation of threats that would cost the more powerful ally a great deal, even if their own cost is very big. In any case, the aim of such strategies is not the barren juxtaposition with the Great Power, but obtaining of concessions on vital interests of the less powerful.

 

The above apposition of the theory of international relations did not happen accidentally and it should be seen in absolute interrelation with the geopolitical position of Greece and how this is appreciated by the hegemonic power (USA). It is a fact that the american centres of decision-making give priority to Ankara and not Athens. According to an American document-directive[19] which was made public by a senior American officer, Greece is not as important any more in the American planning and all the weight and attention has been turned exclusively to Turkey. More specifically, the Obama government puts Greece aside “until further notice” and gives high and direct priority to Turkey because this way and via Turkey “American interests can be fully served”. This means that the Americans want Greece to become a simple recipient of their objectives through Turkey. And this means that Athens will become the recipient of increasing American pressure in order to conciliate with Turkey, with terms, however, detrimental to the Greek interests. Otherwise, the Ankara will not agree to what Washington is asking.

 

This type of reasoning is by no means advantageous for the resolution of the Cyprus Problem while in the triangular relation, Greece constitutes the week-compliable ally in the region, where it is carried away, in between a mesh of prompts, pressure and covered threats, into following a policy that many times does not best serve its national interests. On the contrary, Turkey is the stable-favored ally (Kefala, 1993) which has additional interests with the hegemonic power: The expansive plans against Cyprus, while it supports the United States in its wider objectives in the region. In the event of disagreement between these two types of allies the hegemonic power supports the objectives of the former (Turkey) against the latter (Greece), even if the objectives of its obedient ally are absolutely identified with the international justice and the international laws.

 

In conclusion, we report that the Turkish foreign policy has entered a new period, that of active involvement in the direct geographic region of Turkey. Ahmed Davutoglu seeks to revive a new regional order in the area, where Turkey will be the hegemonic centre. On their part, the United States consider Turkey a key country for serving their interests in the region. Therefore, Greece and Cyprus should be particularly careful in order for this “special relationship” not to turn out against their own interests.

 

4. Neo – Ottomanism and the United States.

 

Coming back to the question of “neo-ottomanism”, it should be marked that the political strategy of Turgut Ozal during the 90s, as well as that of Turkey’s controlling party, of Justice and Development, having as their most important point, Davutoglu’s theories on “strategic depth”, aim in the appointment of Turkey to a strong regional superpower.

Using as a compass the Ottoman past of the country and through the cultural relations with the turkish -speaking and Muslim populations of other states, the Turkish foreign policy aims to enlarge Turkish influence in the former wider geographic region of the Ottoman Empire.

Islamists today aspire to continue the efforts of Turgut Ozal for appointment of the country into a regional power. It should be marked that, in the field of foreign policy, Kemalism “compromised”[20] painlessly with neo-ottomanism, while political Islam on his part, having conscience of its weakness to impose an “Islamic State”, accepted the secular-Kemalic character of the Turkish state.

More specifically, during his premiership, Turgut Ozal, restored Islam in the political and social life of the country as well as in education. Ozal’s case constitutes an effort of composition between Islamism and kemalism. At the same time, with regard to the internal political scene of Turkey he faced the Kurdish populations who live in south-eastern Turkey with relative moderation.

As far as Turkey’s European perspective is concerned, Turgut Ozal included it to his wider western orientation and treated it as the final and solid anchorage in the West. Contrary to the states of Southern Europe that treated their integration to EU as a golden occasion of democratisation and reforms, but also as a pole against the USA, Ozal saw the Turkish integration, as a clear occasion of a surge of capital into Turkey                   (Pesmazoglou, 1993). The Turkish politician did not not omit to underline the strategic importance of his country for the West, but also the possibilities that were opened for european capitals to invest in Turkey.

Some years after the death of Ozal, the Islamist Nejmetin Erbakan accomplishes to shape a government in June 1996 but is forced to resign by the military in 1997. It should be underlined that Erbakan is considered to be the father of political Islam in Turkey, after he founds the “National Order Party” in 1970, a political shaping that had Islam as its main ideological reference. The party in question, which is renamed in 1973 into the “National Salvation Party”, was a religious fundamentalist party which believed in the principles of Islam. Erbakan sought the suppression of the kemalic principle of segregation of religion and state and declared the need to return to traditional ottoman structures (Yiallourides, 1997). It should also be marked that Erbakan then, just as Erdogan today, believed that there should be an autonomous pole in Turkey, which will be supported exclusively by the principles of Islam. However, Erbakan was much more counteractive in his ideas than the current Prime Minister Tayip Erdogan.

 

 

 

5. Conclusion

 

In conclusion, it should be marked that the victory of Tayip Erdogan, in the 2002 elections with the party of Justice and Development (AKP) signals a new period for Turkey, so much in the interior, as in the regional and international scene. The undertaking of the ministry of the Foreign Affairs by Ahmed Davutoglu created new facts. His handlings in the field of foreign policy, are a continuation of Turgut Ozal’s vison for the conquest of regional hegemony in the broader region that borders on Turkey and constitutes its “geostrategic depth’. Despite the issues[21] in the relations between Kemalists and Islamists, Tayip Erdogan managed to survive and, with Ahmed Davutoglu being the head of Turkish diplomacy, he follows a multidimensional exterior policy, which clears the road to the arabic world, as well as to countries of Central Asia and Caucasus, without breaking the bonds of the country with the West. It should be marked that the neo-Ottoman model does not come into contrast with the objectives of the superpower in the broader region of the Middle East and Central Asia. On the contrary, it goes together with the effort of the hegemonic power to consolidate a favorable distribution of power in the sub-system of the Middle East, via which it will accomplish to promote its geo-economic interests. From the beginning of his election, Tayip Erdogan rushed to appease any concerns for the policy he was going to follow. He warmly supports the policy of Turkey’s entry in the European Union and, as far as the big internal problem of the country -the Kurdish problem- is concerned, he tried to introduce reforms.

 

As it has already been pointed out, the United States needs the collaboration of Turkey in the sensitive and frail region of the Middle East and Central Asia. Despite the past “problems”in the relations of the two countries with Turkey’s refusal to allow the use of Turkish establishments during the Gulf war (March 2003), it is certain that the United States will continue to need Turkey’s help (Larrabee, 2008), in order to fulfill their objectives in the region, especially in the Iraqi front. It should be indicated that 70% of the military personnel and materials intended for Iraq, passes through Turkey. Moreover, many of the scenarios of disengagement of the United States from Iraq include the involvement of Turkey. Consequently, as we have already mentioned, the dependence of USA from Turkey in the Middle East, does not make us optimistic for a just and viable solution of the Cyprus Problem.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES

 

 

[1] The Lausanne Treaty (23 July 1923) had not ensured what Turkey would consider safety round its borders. During the period between the two world wars the Turkish state tries to consolidate a system of safety which will protect it from the threats that emanated from the surrounding states. There was the threat from Italy, which since 1912 made its intentions obvious by conquering Dodekanisa. In the time when the Sevres Treaty between the Ottoman state and the allies failed, Italy with Britain and France had contracted a Trilateral Agreement on Anatolia, which included its division in spheres of influence and economic exploitation. The disagreement with Britain on Mosouli was still there. Another matter that troubled the Turks was the matter of Dardanellia, which according to the Lausanne Treaty, they should be army free. The safety dilemma for Turkey was underlined even more because of its traditional fear for Russian intentions. This is also the reason that the Turks approached Britain, when the problem of Mosuli was solved in July 1926 with its concession to Iraq. Therefore, Kemal Ataturk, in his effort to solve these problems, approaches Greece and signs a treaty of reconciliation and neutrality with Eleftherios Venizelos (30 October 1930). Moreover, Turkey’s entry in the Balkan Agreement (9 February 1934) in which Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia participated, is another effort of the feeble Turkish state to acquire safety from a common Italian-Bulgarian attack (Athanasopolou, 1999).

[2] It should be underlined that one of the main reasons that Kemal Ataturk did not want to be involved in risky adventures abroad was the weakness of the Turkish state in combination with the multifaceted threats it faced –(see above). However, after Ataturk’s death, revisory tendencies were expressed in the Turkish foreign policy, having as their main points the effort of revision of the Lausanne Treaty, during the “Tripartite Conference” in London, in August 1955. In addition, in 1974, when Turkey found itself in a position of power, it did not hesitate to violate this doctrine, as well as international justice, with the invasion and occupation of northern Cyprus.

[3] The moderate islamist, Turgut Ozal was the founder of the centre- right party of Mother Homeland (ANAP). He was the Prime Minister of Turkey from 1983 up to 1989, when he was elected president. He kept his position up to his death in 1993.

[4] Towards the end of October 1992 when the President of Turkey, Suleiman Demirel, received the presidents of the newly founded states of Central Asia, of which the populations are of Turkish descend, he did not hesitate to talk about the Turkish state which will be extended henceforth not only between the Bosporus and the Iranian borders but also between the Adriatic sea and the Chinese walls. Therefore, the Turkish politician in a unique expression of grand vision restored in the turkish public sphere, the claims of the Ottoman Empire for national homogenisation of the region from the Balkans up to the western provinces of China. This approach of Demirel’s, is an explicit sample of Turkey’s effort to become a big regional power in this unsteady region (Yiallouridis, 2001).

[5] On the Oslo Agreement (September 1993) between the state of Israel and the Palestinians, see (Morris, 1999).

[6] A state will attempt to change the international system or the regional system in which it belongs, if the benefit (political, economic) exceeds the cost. In a similar way, a state will attempt to stop any tendency that undermines or threatens to undermine its position in the international system (Gilpin, 1983).

[7] We should point out that, since the birth of the first Turkish Republic (29 October 1923) up to 1946, a single-party status quo is in effect in Turkey. It is the period when the particular military-bureaucracy is consolidated in the country. The majority of Turkish presidents, with just a few exceptions, such as Jelal Bayar, Turgut Ozal and finally Abdullah Gull were military officials. In addition, a number of military officials participate in the Turkish parliament (Grand Turkish National Assembly). Finally, Kemal Ataturk himself a victorious general, becomes President of the Turkish Republic (Sarris, 1992).

[8] For this political phenomenon, see (Seale, 1986).

[9] The letter of American president Johnson to the Turkish president Ishmet Inonu in June 1964, damaged their special relation momentarily and caused intense anti-americanism in Turkey. As a result, there was a turn of Turkey to the former USSR. The Soviet Union, on its side, wished for the Russian-Turkish approach because Turkey possessed the straits of Dardanelle.

[10] The basic american position adopted in 1967, after the “ six days war” was that Israel should not be required to relinquish territories captured in 1967, without a quid pro quo form the Arab parties involving peace, security and recognition       (Quant, 1993) .This American stance is obviously against international law. For the American stance regarding the June 1967 crisis, see also (Quigley, 2005).

[11] Ozal as President maintained every power in the management of international relations and foreign affairs of his country. Therefore, he exclusively handled the participation of his country in the Gulf crisis. This caused reactions by the opposition who believed that this constituted a removal from the Turkish postwar policy of non involvement in the middle eastern affairs and conflicts. According to the opinion of Opposition, Ozal’s policy in this particular matter put Turkey at risk of an Iraqi attack. There were also reactions from the military status quo, which believed the crisis to be an intra-arabic issue. The head of the Turkish armed forces, general Nejip Torumbay, resigned on 3rd December 1990, bringing the generalised reactions of Ozal’s policy to the public eye (Veremis, 1995).

[12] Many researchers believe that the involvement of Turkey in the Gulf Crisis, did not attribute the expected benefits. And this is because after the crisis, the flow of Kurdish refugees into Turkey increased (Robbins, 2004).

[13] However, as soon as the American personnel reached Turkey, Belgrade accepted the demands of NATO and the Turkish establishments were not used. (Uzgel, 2001)

[14] For the importance of Eurasia in the planning of the strategy of the Great powers, (Mackinder, 1962)

[15] How Ankara can exploit Turkey’s geographic position elevating its energy transit role, it is also shown by the construction of the Nabuko pipeline, an ambitious program of transport of natural gas from Erzerum in Turkey to the “Boamgarten an Den March” port, in Austria. The pipeline, the length of which is 3300 km, will cross Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary before it reaches Austria. The whole plan is supported by the European Union and the United States and its aim is the reduction of Europe’s dependence on Russian energy. It is estimated that the pipeline’s manufacture, which will cost 8 billion dollars, will be completed in 2014-2015.

[16] Davutoglu on Balkans, “Pax Ottomana” Politis Newspaper, 27/10/09.

[17] “Greece and the phenomenon of Ahmed Davutoglu. The profile and beliefs of the Turkish Minister of the Foreign Affairs.” An interview with the academic Vasilios Markezinis in the “Ethnos tis Kyriakis” newspaper, which is republished in the “Simerini” newspaper, 27/7/ 2009. Davutoglu supports that the Koran projects a series of fundamental values without imposing a certain political mechanism of their application. In regard to Turkey’s entry in the EU, the Turkish professor points out that this will be advantageous for the European Union itself, since this is the only way it can hope to become a “world power”.

[18] Ahmed Davutoglu’s statements in question, in Newsweek magazine, were published in, Costas Guliamos, ‘Relations between Ankara –USA, on a different basis”, Phileleftheros Newspaper, 13/12/2009.

[19] “Priority to Turkey against Greece by the USA”, Phileleftheros newspaper, 18 July 2009.

[20] This compromise began in the 1950s when the Turkish Prime Minister, Adnan Menderes, allowed the reappearance of political Islam in the Turkish community during an effort to liberalise the Turkish political system, but also clearly for electioneering reasons (Constantinides 2009).

[21] The Constitutional Court of Turkey, which constitutes the bulwark of the Kemalists attempted, in July 2008, to ban the governmental Party of Justice and Development. In October 2008, giving the basics of the decision to publicity (350 pages) it reported that the Prime Minister of Turkey, Tayip Erdogan seems to be involved in “actions that go against the secularity of the Turkish state” “Relaunching of the Turkish state” , To Vima newspaper, 25 October 2008.

 

 

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