By Edmond Y. Azadian
Turkey’s hawkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu entered the foreign policy arena disguised as a dove, advocating a new foreign policy for his country that would reduce to zero all the problems with its neighbors. Since Mr. Davutoglu prefers to define his country’s foreign policy in mathematical terms, the results or the sums of that policy can be measured in the same mathematical terms. Mr. Davutoglu’s zero was multiplied with many zeros to give a zero result as appraised by Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian. The protocols with Armenia yielded a zero. Negotiations with Cyprus regressed, rather than progressed, when Turkey refused to abide by the European Union’s demand to open up its ports and airports for Cypriot transport. Next, after kissing and hugging President Bashar al Assad of Syria, Turkey emerged as the vanguard in undermining that country’s sovereignty. Turkey engineered a stand off with Israel, and finally, after signing a $20-billion energy agreement with Iran, and thumbing the warnings from the West, relations between the two nations are frosty.
All these problems — far from being reduced to zero — have inexplicably boosted the Turkish leaders’ arrogance. At the NATO conference in Chicago last month, Ankara insisted on keeping out
Israel and the NATO leadership gave in. The Turkish Israeli policy is multifaceted and that apparent hostility also has a silver lining; had Turkey been really hurting Israeli interests, the latter’s operatives in Washington would tame Ankara right away. Instead, Israel giving in to Turkey’s quest allowed Ankara to gain brownie points in the Arab world and thus in the end to boost Israel’s basic interests in eliminating unfriendly regimes in the region, one by one. After Iraq and Libya, now it is Syria’s turn. The collapse of Assad’s regime, to which Turkey is fully subscribed, has more value for Israel than an apparent defeat at a Chicago conference. Washington fully understands — and, in fact, orchestrates — these multi-level policies.
Since 2005, Turkey has begun the accession negotiations with the European Union. Turkey wants to have its cake and eat it. The EU has set some basic conditions for Turkey to be eligible for membership; the EU requests the removal of article 301 from Turkish penal code, the resolution of the Cypriot problem, the opening of borders with Armenia and the recognition of (all) genocides. Ankara refuses to abide by those conditions and wishes to be entitled for membership.
Recently, Turkish leaders have raised the ante and puffed their chests further, pretending that the EU needs their country rather than the other way around.