CHP not hopeful Turkish government will push for foreign policy change
Rifat Başaran - ANKARA
DHA photoA senior official from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has expressed pessimism over any potential shift in foreign policy, calling on the government to take “concrete steps” on the issue.
“It seems there will be no change on foreign policy. We observe the rhetoric of change but we don’t see concrete steps to turn it into action,” CHP Deputy Chair Öztürk Yılmaz told daily Hürriyet on June 6.
“The government is also still using the same rhetoric on Syria and does not show a willingness to work with countries like the United States, Russia and Iran on the issue,” he stressed.
Rumors of a comprehensive foreign policy change have increased after the formation of a new government headed by Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, who vowed to “increase the number of friends and to reduce the number of foes” after replacing ousted prime minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.
Yılmaz was Turkey’s general-consul in Mosul in mid-2014 when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupied the town and took all Turkish diplomats and their families hostage for 101 days. He joined the CHP before last year’s general elections.
Yılmaz criticized the government for still prioritizing the ouster of Bashar al-Assad.
“On the one hand [the government] has been talking about protecting Syria’s territorial integrity but on the other it has been acting in an opposite way. [For Turkey, ousting] al-Assad is still a priority. There is an internationally accepted change on this issue but the government remains obsessed with al-Assad,” he said.
“If there is to be a foreign policy change, relations with the U.S, Russia and Iran should be regarded differently. Syria is one of the main issues in this change,” Yılmaz added.
“The U.S. has changed its Syria policy. We failed to read this change and therefore we are now paying the price for it,” he stated.