In the last decade, Turkey has been deeply affected by political changes in its neighborhood. Especially after the Arab Spring, these effects have boomed step by step. We have witnessed many events that occurred in the area. Although some measures were not taken in time, Turkey has mostly succeeded in taking actions where and when needed. For example, “Euphrates Shield Operation” has revealed that if Turkey highly needs to take any precautions in the area, it has the ability for taking actions without wasting time. Though Military Coup attempt in July 15, Turkish Army has fastly gained its old power and started the Euphrates Shield Operation in August 24, a month after the coup attempt. There is no doubt that the whole nation and authorities have also made it to get this result.
Because of these influences Turkey gained a victory in Iraq’s north. Although some politicians in Turkey such as the leader of main opposition party and Aksener Movement had criticized the government for not taking necessary precautions when the referendum took place in the Northern Iraq, these scary scenarios disappeared suddenly at the end. Many Turkish people were assuming that an independent Kurdish state would be declared if Turkey did not send Turkish Army to prevent it. But owing to the alliance which contains Turkey, Iraq and Iran’s military movement to Kirkuk, the referendum plan of Barzani was dissolved quickly. That shows us that if Turkey stands on the right side at the right time, it can realize easily the results it seeks.
But at the same time, Turkey must play the game within the diplomatic rules while using military power. In the light of recent developments, it is told that when Turkish troops progress inside Syria and Iraq to take precautions against ISIS and PYD/PKK or other terrorist organizations, this progress should ensure safety and security of Turkish territories. As Turkish President has already declared, Turkey also has some rights deriving from international agreements to use its troops when country’s security strongly necessitates it.
What is the true path for 2023 Goals of Turkey?
To achieve 2023 goals, which path should Turkey take to? Turkey’s President Erdogan is one of the powerful leaders of the region. In the leadership of him, Turkey can overcome many obstacles on that path. The majority of the population has strongly been affected by his speeches, as well as the majority of the Muslim World. In fact, to unite Turkish people to that direction is not so hard. The unity of Turkish people after the coup attempt showed everybody that Turkish nation can unite for national goals. Although political diversities of Turkish citizens, they have the ability to react any foreign intervention bravely.
Nowadays, Turkey has been going through tough times and it is very important to unite the whole nation on national goals. It is believed that Turkey has been facing Second Independence War and at war in many areas with several terrorist organizations. There are many evidences to prove these strong beliefs. The crisis during a NATO drill in which Atatürk (the founder of Turkey) and President Erdoğan had been listed as enemies, the coup attempt by FETO and the US’s policy of arming PYD (perceived by Turkey as a terrorist organization) in Syria are some examples of the evidences that Turkey has been in a war.
Can Euro-Asia (Avrasya) Alliance be successful?
Because of the existing political atmosphere, “Euro-Asianism (Avrasyacılık)” which suggests that Turkey should move away from the West and get new alliances with the countries in Asia (mainly with Russia) is being debated seriously among AK PARTI supporters. The partnership of Turkey with Russia seems to be continued until Turkey feels itself in stable conditions against the West.
But the fact is that this closeness of Turkey with Russia contains a huge threat. This is mainly because the collaboration between the two countries has been leaded by President Erdogan and President Putin since 2016. It is assumed that no one other than these leaders in both countries accepts this mission as a political aim on international arena.
For that reason, first of all Turkey and Russia (Iran and Iraq can also be added on that list) should left their prejudices for each other. Sunni origin of Turkey and Shia origin of Iran and Iraq has kept these three countries from establishing strong ties between them. But nowadays, they have gained a big momentum for changing that situation. All the parties should work to overthrow the obstacles before this cooperation.
The Muslim world has been prevented from real cooperation among themselves since Ottoman Empire’s collapse? It is certain that only one political leader in Turkey who is supported by nation and has Islamic respectability can achieve the cooperation of Muslim countries again. President Erdogan has demonstrated his ability and dignity several times on general elections and whenever his country seeks to find a way-out from big difficulties. His leadership is a unique opportunity for setting up a new Middle East.
All main actors of Turkish democracy should help the government for its efforts to reach the 2023 goals. To be able to reach 2023 goals and to be able to win the second independence war we have been fighting since the coup attempt last year, the government should be strong and all the parties should stand with the government. If an issue has importance at national level, the government cannot totally be successful unless the opposition parties come to negotiation table. Unfortunately, not only at “Euophrates Shield Operations” period but also during the Turkish Armed Forces’s PKK operations held in 2015 and “Reza Zarrab Case” all of which are related to national security, some opposition parties left the government alone. Devastating criticisms are being made on the TV screens which are serving to the aims of Turkey’s rivals.
Overwhelmingly majority of Turkish people believe that the conditions Turkey has been passing through look like an Independence War. For that reason, desirable efforts from all parts of Turkish opposition still can be seen in the near future. The best results for that end can be achieved by ensuring more democracy and dialogs.
To sum up, Turkey has been facing critical problems for the last two years. Turkish authorities should take precautions without wasting time. These precautions include right cooperation, good timing and looking ahead. If Turkey’s political decision makers stay inactive or keep dealing with only other political actors inside, we can never catch the train to 2023 goals. Turkey must focus totally on achieving the 2023 aims and improving its efficiency in the World.
Mehmet Cem ŞAHİN – Law Expert