The Israelization of the AKP and the US’ dilemma

The Israelization of the AKP and the US’ dilemma

When Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu met with Ankara’s envoys to discuss developments in Egypt, the gist of the message he got from veteran diplomats was to recalibrate the stance that was shown to the military coup that toppled Mohamed Morsi.

“Turkey has shown a principled stance and that was the right thing to do. But in view of also the reaction by the international players as well as regional players that has sided with the coup, Turkey needs to recalibrate its stance and open channels of communication with the new regime in Egypt,” Davutoğlu was told by envoys.

The foreign minister took note of this message and, in fact, part of the discussion among the envoys evolved, exploring the ways to open channels with Egypt’s new rulers. At that time of course they did not know that they were working in vain. Only 48 hours following the meeting, Davutoğlu reiterated one more time that Morsi remained Egypt’s legitimate president as far as Turkey was concerned.

Unfortunately, not many (in fact no one) shares this view and Turkey remains isolated in this stance. And as such, it reminds me more and more of Israel’s isolation which stems from its intransigence on the Palestinian issue. As seen in the latest EU decision that aims to sanction Israel’s settlement policies, the current Israeli government is at odds with nearly the entire international community on its hard-line stance that does not contribute to peace.

Interestingly, the analogy between Turkey and Israel is not limited to their arrogance in their foreign policy stance. Both governments increasingly resemble their transformation from “victim to aggressor.”

It is incomprehensible for many in Turkey and probably in the world how a nation that suffered a tremendous tragedy in the Holocaust and built its state after horrendous hardships can be so cruel and insensitive toward the Palestinian people.

I am convinced that many within the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) believe that “yesterday’s victims have become today’s aggressors,” as far as Israel is concerned.

It is ironic that those who believe the same thing for the AKP is increasing day by day. The AKP came to power by saying it would be the representative of all those “pious” and “economically disadvantaged” people that Kemalist elites had ignored for decades. The army was against them, the judiciary targeted them and the press was not on their side. Today there is a complete opposite picture and it has become evident with the Gezi protests that the AKP does not only have a problem with its so called “Kemalist” opponents but with anyone that dares to criticize its policies.

And there is a final analogy insofar as Washington is concerned. Turkey is an important regional ally for the United States. Being allies means an overlapping of national interests on key issues. Yet, despite the euphoric rhetoric, the two countries don’t see eye to eye on several key issues, like Iraq, Syria and Egypt. Turkey has therefore become more of a liability rather than an asset, just like in the case of Israel. But Turkey’s nuisance value is even greater than its value as an ally. While there is growing discontent in Washington about the AKP government, the U.S. seems to refrain from confronting Turkey on key issues as it remains indispensible. That, however, makes AKP rulers more and more delusional about the correctness of their policies.