Decision on Jerusalem united us all: Presidential spokesperson
İpek Özbey - ANKARA
United States President Donald Trump had miscalculated the reactions he would receive when he had declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel, by expecting the reaction from the Islamic world to be low-profile due to the conflicts in the region. On the contrary, his move has united both the Islamic world and political parties in Turkey, said presidential spokesperson İbrahim Kalın.
In an interview with daily Hürriyet published on Dec. 25, Kalın elaborated on Trump’s motivation for taking such a controversial decision on the holy city that lies in the heart of the Palestinian-Israeli dispute.
He noted there are actually two dimensions of Trump’s decision, one is a choice made for his election campaign in terms of domestic politics. Trump had believed he would meet his election pledge and the global reaction would only be short term, according to Kalın.
“I think it was a major miscalculation. They might have fallen into the expectation that the Islamic world would not display strong unity because of conflicts with Saudi Arabia, sectarian tensions, ongoing civil wars and terrorism. But see, Jerusalem has united all of us,” the spokesperson stated.
The case has also united Turkish politics. “Four parliamentary parties in the parliament have signed the same declaration, along with disputed countries, such as Iran and Saudi Arabia,” he said.
Christians in Europe, Africa, the Vatican and the Middle East had all been in consensus, Kalın noted.
Elaborating on critics against the Turkish government over claims that Turkey has been shifting its axis from West to East and that it would eventually lose all its past achievements, Kalın rejected old-school terminology in defining international relations.
“We cannot talk in terms of an absolute sense of relations, such as Western Bloc, Eastern Bloc or northern bloc, in an age when globalization is fluidized and has made all these rigid categories transitional,” Kalın said.
Relationships are much more intertwined at this time, he said. One cannot think that Turkey would incarcerate itself into a single camp, Kalın said, noting that Turkey is capable of having good relations with Europe and can also reach the Caucuses, North Africa, the Middle East and Russia via the Black Sea, while being a Mediterranean country at the same time.
“Now, Turkey tries to act from a 360-degree perspective in foreign policy. We do not consider it a zero-sum [strategy],” he stated, stressing that the country will not move away from Europe while having ties with the Middle East and the same applies to having relations with Russia, but not moving away from the U.S.
Kalın pointed out France for having close ties to the Middle East. “Nobody questions France for shifting its axis,” he said.
“The United Kingdom has a very good relationship with the Gulf countries. Nobody has criticized the U.K. on this. The U.S. is the same. But whenever Turkey boosts its efficiency in the Middle East, it is blamed for having a shift in its axis,” Kalın stated.
Turkey needs to maintain a good relationship with Russia and the Middle East while also having ties with Europe in regards to its national and security interests, the spokesperson said.