‘National and domestic’ Eurasianism
On Nov. 22 the Turkish, Russian and Iranian leaders met in Sochi, a key summit during which the Syrian issue was discussed from A to Z.
Before the meeting, Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad, whom he hosted in Sochi.
“Thanks to you, we have achieved serious success over the last two years,” said al-Assad to Putin. In Syria, the formula of a “solution with al-Assad” is getting stronger. It was also announced that Putin would have a telephone conversation with Trump before the “Sochi process.”
While NATO members Ankara and Washington are having problems, Moscow and Washington are engaged in dialogue!
What’s furthermore is they both support the Syrian Kurdish Democratic Union Party (PYD)!
The United States has given truckloads of thousands of guns to the PYD. The outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is not even considered a terrorist organization by Moscow, as Russia has tried to bring the PYD to the table for diplomatic talks.
Russia hosted the “Syrian Congress on National Dialogue” in Sochi on Nov. 18 in order to reconcile the al-Assad regime with its opponents. Turkey gave the green light by saying “yes to a political solution,” however, Moscow also invited the PYD to the congress. This meant they recognized the PYD as a legitimate political actor. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan strongly rejected this during his meeting with Putin on Nov. 13. What was Russia’s answer?
A week later on Nov. 20, Putin’s assistant Yuri Ushakov said the issue of inviting the PYD to the congress would be spoken during the “Sochi summit.”
So, clearly on Nov. 22, Putin sat at the table holding the PYD trump card in his hand. Coming from a KGB background, Putin does not announce his cards but lays them on the table. Turkey has increasingly been having problems with its foreign affairs. Tensions with the U.S. and Europe have further pushed Ankara towards “Eurasianism.” In the Eurasian region, no one criticizes Ankara regarding democracy or human rights, but when we sit at the table with Putin, we also do not see the same support from the West that we had from them in the past.
So in order to strengthen ourselves before Sochi, how many foreign capitals did we meet with in advance?
The first step Ankara took after the aircraft crisis with Russia, when a Russian warplane was downed by Turkish jets at the Syrian-Turkish border in November 2015, was consult NATO.
What could the incredibly ugly scandals in NATO be aiming for when they clearly provoke Ankara and push it towards Eurasianism?
It is true that we react strongly but we do that to punish those who have wronged us, not because we want to split from NATO.
In fact, the government also announced that they “are going to continue with NATO.”
Of course, “to continue” is not enough on its own. They must also have effective relations.
It has long been time to review our foreign policy and do diplomacy with rational planning and not with anger. We must especially avoid fuelling the fire on our problems to avoid working up the crowds, especially on those problems that should be kept under control through diplomatic channels.
Let’s take a look at these two incidents: Turkey was chosen for membership in the 2009-2010 Security Council with 151 votes from 192 countries in the first round. During the 2016-2017 elections, we only received 60 votes, whereas Egypt was chosen with 179 votes! We had argued a lot with Egypt, hadn’t we?
Today, Cairo is collaborating with Athens and Nicosia for Eastern Mediterranean gas and they are trying to bring in Israel as well.
In Lausanne, Soviet Russia said, “Let’s lock the Bosphorus Strait and give the key to Turkey,” whereas England said, “Let’s open the Bosphorus Strait to all sea traffic.”
Which one should we have chosen?
İsmet Pasha (İnönü) signed the one that was very close to the English. While the experienced opposition representative Trabzon deputy Ali Şükrü Bey heavily criticized the course of events during the secret session at Lausanne on March 5, 1923, he said however, that he found the solution on the Bosphorus Strait to be the right one.
Because as a soldier Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk, the founder of the Turkish Republic), İsmet Pasha and the conservative navy soldiers Rauf and Ali Şükrü Bey knew Turkey should not stand alone against Russia.
Today, Eurasianism is not “national or domestic.” It can only be an emotional drift.