MURAT YETKİN > This is not Davutoğlu’s foreign policy

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Turkish foreign policy, especially on Syria, is once again under scrutiny, following Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan’s meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama last week in Washington DC.

Erdoğan got a clear message from Obama that the U.S. would not make any unilateral move regarding Syria, after what happened in Iraq. This means that no GI Joes are likely to set a foot in the Middle East in the near future unless there is a United Nations Security Council resolution. That means convincing Russia, (and China, following Russian footsteps), who vetoed sanctions against the Bashar al-Assad regime in Syria in three consecutive votes. Statements by Turkish officials about their disappointment with the Western allies regarding a more active stance against al-Assad do not change the situation much. There are doubts that a visit to Russian President Vladimir Putin by Erdoğan will lead to Moscow’s withdrawal of support from Damascus.

That is exactly why Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is under fire from the Turkish opposition; they claim that Davutoğlu’s idealistic outlook has not only put Turkey in a difficult position in international politics - with the perception of a NATO country intervening in a neighbor’s civil war – but has also made Turkey a target for more terrorist attacks in relation to that chaos. We can observe a similar attitude regarding Turkish policy on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as well, with Davutoğlu being criticized for giving too much credit to Hamas.

But is that right? Is it really Davutoğlu’s foreign policy that is a matter of debate nowadays?

It is hard to say “yes” to this question, as it has been from day one, after Davutoğlu assumed the post in 2009 following seven years in a chief advisor role. It has always been the foreign policy of Erdoğan.

This is because Erdoğan’s foreign policy does not rely on diplomacy alone; the Foreign Ministry is not the only source generating foreign policy for the prime minister. It is true that the ministry and its minister are still the main parameters of Turkish foreign policy. However, the National Intelligence Service (MİT) has become one of the major components of Turkish foreign policy since Erdoğan appointed Hakan Fidan, another chief advisor, as its head in 2010. It’s not limited to those either; Turkish Airlines (THY) and the Turkish Cooperation and Development Agency (TİKA) have been two increasingly important contributors to foreign policy (on the implementation side) under the rule of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) since 2002.

This fact could also be observed from the composition of his delegation to the White House. Along with Davutoğlu and Fidan, Erdoğan’s EU Minister (and advisor on the Western world) Egemen Bağış and his foreign policy deputy in the AK Parti, Mevlut Çavuşoğlu, were there as well.

It is unfair to target Davutoğlu whenever things stumble and give all the credit to Erdoğan when things run smoothly; his policy is the same as Erdoğan’s. On the other hand, it is natural to hold the foreign minister to account for undesired results that put the country in trouble. Still, Erdoğan doesn’t think there is anything wrong, and he is happy with Davutoğlu’s method of implementing his government’s policies so far.


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Notice on comments

Faruk Timuroglu

5/21/2013 11:15:30 PM

No one gives credit to RTE except his lackeys and nothing runs smoothly in Turkish foreign policy. Is Mr. Yetkin trying to stress RTE's liability? Have RTE sack Davutoğlu as scapegoat for the failure, that wouldn't exonerate him. So clumsy both are they tried to fool President Obama with cheap shots. RTE will try his chance with Russian President Putin hopping his trick would work with him. RTE and Davutoğlu are reminiscent of George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. They cannot fool the world for long.

dogan kemal ileri

5/21/2013 8:11:23 PM

American American your comments are truly comical.Tell me does it come naturally or do you practice in front of the mirror?


5/21/2013 6:56:22 PM

Erdogan should have left foreign policy to his esteemed FM. This is the problem with megalomaniacs, they know best and can not possibly leave anything untouched by their superior will.


5/21/2013 6:53:19 PM

Likes of Dogan vote in Turkey. They used to vote for the junta and now AKP. As a wise man once said, more things change, more they stay the same. Constant and unconttrolled cheer leading for the Dear leader is just as nauseating as the Israel-above-all Islamophobist crowd who can not see beyond the religion and salivate at the prospect of a disaster striking Turkey under this government.


5/21/2013 5:52:51 PM

Ah, dogan's dream of Muslims killing Muslims to show their strength.

mara mcglothin

5/21/2013 5:38:15 PM

DOGAN Just remember that no good deed goes unpunished and should Turkey decide to take action, then they will more than likely be blamed or accused of being the evil USA"s puppet. This is a no win situation for any but the Syrians. We all need to stay out of it.

american american

5/21/2013 5:07:19 PM

go get em (er)dogan...the only no fly zone in syria is for your airforce

alkan alkan

5/21/2013 4:12:54 PM

" Davutoğlu’s idealistic outlook" better still his inexperience is also shared by RTE and all his "advisers" . They are novices in the field of foreign affairs. None of them ever heard of the time old maxim: wait and see. They blindly rush into crises with neither an exit strategy nor an alternative plan. What bodes ill for the future is that RTE, et all are delusional in that they assume Turkey to be power of first rank and also a regional superpower. In fact Ottoman Empire of Kanuni reborn.

Aryeh Rapaport

5/21/2013 3:58:01 PM

Its clear they are both Islamists &want Turkey to be, grow, turn into an Islamist power. Truth is I dont blame them for theyr trying to capitalize on theyr strength- Islam. But I blame Erdogan for befriending evil people to promote trade (Libya, Syria, Hezbolla). Its funny Turks bet on bad people & failed. Sometimes people bet on bad people & win which would be horrible. Theres no doubt Turks will suffer, die due to current pro opposition policy. Maybe Turks shouldnt support Islamic extremists..

dogan kemal ileri

5/21/2013 11:00:19 AM

If I were Erdogan I would march into Syria and establish a no fly zone in double quick time. People have forgotten the Cyprus operation so perhaps its high time we slapped a few down in the area
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