By Edmond Y. Azadian
Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu took his office with a self-styled peace offensive to give a human face to his country’s battered foreign policy. His goal was double-pronged: zero problems with neighbors and spreading new Ottomanism to increase Ankara’s hegemony over nations formerly enslaved by the Ottoman Sultans. The two goals were inherently incongruous because peaceful relations with neighbors required respect towards their sovereignty, which Ankara’s policymakers did not seem to care about.
For those analysts studying Turkish foreign policy, Davutoglu’s policy was a force to reckon with. But it enjoyed the acquiescence and the encouragement of the major powers, because as Turkey began to implement its newfound policy, it was mindful to pay its dues to those powers. It did not take too long to divulge the farcical nature of that policy, as Turkey adopted a hostile posture against its neighbors.
Ankara’s arrogance is nurtured by its economic boom, just as the rest of the world — including its neighbor, Greece — is in alarming crisis. Russia and the Arab world are tributaries feeding Turkey’s economic recovery.
The irony of Turkish history is that countries which have armed Turkey and boosted its economy eventually become dependent on Turkey, which, in turn, becomes the necessary evil in formulating their policy and projecting their power in the region. Turkey boasts the second largest standing army in NATO, after the US. Therefore, the Turkish leaders believe they are entitled to a policing role in the region.
Ankara ruined its relations with almost all neighboring countries, while paying lip service to the idea of reducing its problems with them to zero. Let’s take a look at some of those “neighborly” relations.