The main opposition CHP slams ruling AKP’s ‘adventurist policies’ in the Middle East and says the party is turning Turkey into an 'incompetent and unreliable' country in the region, in a new report
A Syrian soldier stands at a Syrian-Turkish border crossing near the town of Kasab in the Latakia province. A report by the CHP has criticized the government over its foreign policy. AFP Photo
The ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) “adventurist policies” in the Middle East have turned Turkey into an incompetent and unreliable country in the region, the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has stated in a new report, proposing that the government immediately return to “stability-oriented problem solving” policies.
“The AKP government considers the Middle East to be a part of the Ottoman realm and history, and views the region as Turkey’s backyard. The AKP has reflected its polarizing, offensive and aggressive attitude in domestic politics onto foreign affairs. Regarding conflicting issues, the AKP government has openly backed certain groups and governments in the region,” the report states.
The report, titled “The AKP’s Middle East policies: No peace at home, nor in the world,” was co-written by CHP
Deputy Head Faruk Loğoğlu, who is responsible for foreign relations, and CHP
Deputy Head Sencer Ayata, who is responsible for the party’s science, governance and culture policies.
“During the AKP’s rule, Turkey has become a country that is not taken seriously regionally or globally, excluded from international processes and even perceived as a threat by some of its neighbors,” read the report, stressing that concepts such as “order building”, “Neo-Ottomanism” and “strategic depth” do not suit the historical and cultural characteristics of the Middle East. “The AKP aspired to be a regional leader through these erroneous policies but now flounders in worthless and dangerous solitude.”
Turkey’s relations with almost all countries in the Middle East and North Africa have been severed because of the “erroneous policies and aggressive approach toward Syria,” it added.
“The AKP has also caused the burgeoning of al-Qaeda and several radical organizations in Syria and has made the country a meeting and battle site for these organizations ... Consequently, it has led the region into great chaos. Today, Turkey is accused of sponsoring terrorism by both the Syrian regime and some opposition groups. Turkey cannot distance itself from Syria completely, nor can it initiate further steps in this matter. Turkey now remains ineffective in efforts to find a political solution for the war in Syria and during Middle East peace talks,” the report stated.
Accusing the government of bringing Turkey “to the verge of a probable war in Syria in order to cover up corruption claims engulfing Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
and his four ministers,” the report mentioned the leaked audio recording in which top state officials discussed an assault by Turkey against the Tomb of Suleyman Shah, a sovereign territory of Turkey in Syria, in order to produce a pretext for war. It said the Turkish passport had now become the least reliable passport in the Middle East and the region had turned into an area where Turkish citizens cannot travel safely and have no personal security.
“Why has the AKP’s foreign policy management become the worst in the history of our republic? What led the AKP’s Middle East policy to be a complete failure?” it questioned, responding to these questions under six headings:
‘Polarizing, offensive and aggressive attitudes’
1. The AKP government considers the Middle East as a part of the Ottoman realm and history through a 200-year-old perspective, and views the region as Turkey’s backyard. As a continuation of this outlook, the government has overlooked neighboring countries and attempted to mentor them. The AKP failed to impose its views and policies on the Middle East countries and has headed towards a foreign policy that is one-sided, imperious, and even favored the use of military force.
2. The AKP has reflected its polarizing, offensive and aggressive attitude in domestic politics on foreign affairs. The allies of the AKP government, which based its foreign policy on religious and denominational discrepancies, in the region are the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, al-Qaeda-related radical groups in Syria and Omar al-Bashir, the president of Sudan, who is openly accused of crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court and for whom an arrest warrant has been issued.
3. The AKP government has openly backed certain groups and governments, in the consideration that “they are going to succeed.” The governments supported by the AKP have failed to fulfil their promises of bringing peace, welfare, stability and democracy to their countries.
4. Turkey’s policy of respecting the territorial integrity of its neighbors, which had been pursued until the AKP rule, was pushed aside in both Syria and Iraq. The AKP attempted regime change in neighboring countries and has tried to impose its model on them. Behind this approach lies “Neo-Ottomanism,” an outlook that draws negative reactions particularly from the Arab world.
5. The AKP government has presumed that history alone is sufficient for a successful foreign policy and has failed to realize that it is crucial to get to know new actors, political groups and social segments in the region.
6. The AKP government has failed to develop an approach for embracing all political parties and social segments in the Middle East and to initiate transformation towards democratization. This is due to the fact that the AKP could not adequately grasp the importance of democratization in the region for enhancing Turkey’s activity before both the West and the countries in the region. CHP proposes ‘realist’ policy
The report stressed that the CHP
wants a “realist policy” and a “balanced activism” in the Middle East, proposing that Turkey should make efforts to reinforce regional cooperation and seek resolutions via political and diplomatic channels.
emphasizes that Turkey should refrain from being partial in conflicts between Arab countries or within an Arab country. Turkey should not be a country that manipulates the internal affairs of countries and incites inner conflicts. Turkey should be respectful towards all national, ethnic and religious diversity in the region and stand at an equal distance to all. The principle of secularism, one that ensures equality among all faiths, should be adopted in foreign affairs as well as in justice and solidarity,” it read.