Davutoğlu on offensive for ‘idealist, assertive policies’

Davutoğlu on offensive for ‘idealist, assertive policies’

ANKARA - Hürriyet Daily News
Davutoğlu on offensive for ‘idealist, assertive policies’

Ahmet Davutoğlu. AA photo

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has defended his track record against accusations that Ankara’s foreign policy has not been realistic enough in the face of the complex state of the Middle East, advancing a vision of an idealistic but assertive foreign policy.

“Whoever finds these policies very idealistic and very assertive and says: ‘These [policies] may be right, but is our power enough to [implement them]?’ We will say with a sonorous voice: ‘Yes, our power is enough for this,” Davutoğlu said on July 25 in Ankara, addressing attendees of the dinner hosted by civil society groups from Konya. Turkey will continue to be the spokesperson of peace in the region, he said.

The government’s –and Davutoğlu’s – approach to the Syria crisis has been the subject of severe criticism. In the past several months, he has responded to criticism that the government has interfered in Syria too much at the expense of neglecting the domestic agenda, saying such criticism was a sign of misinterpretation of the Zeitgeist, and reflects incorrect perceptions of what is occurring in Syria. “If the election process in Libya functioned and if Libya is now moving in its own way, Turkey had a share” in making this happen, Davutoğlu said July 25, adding that Turkey had also contributed to the rise of a democratically elected government in Tunisia.

“Those who criticized us for our bold message to Egypt when [Hosni] Mubarak was falling from power, who could not see that Mubarak would fall one month later, are now criticizing our sharp and clear message to Syria,” he said.

The minister also responded to Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who had mocked him for reportedly indicating that Russia should be isolated because of its foreign policy on Syria. “I refer him [Kılıçdaroğlu] to my CHP-supporting brothers who have decency,” Davutoğlu said. In an interview with daily Milliyet, Kılıçdaroğlu had said mockingly that many countries who heard Davutoğlu’s reported words on Russia “must have laughed through their backsides.”