Turkey is the fieriest audience in the Middle East

Turkey is the fieriest audience in the Middle East

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s final stop after Egypt and Syria was Turkey. It was nice to see President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Putin sitting next to each other in Ankara on Dec. 11. Their words were polite and no one hurt one another. But behind this shadow play, the shadows reflecting in the background were very different.

The Russian media declared this as “Putin’s victory tour” and they were not wrong. In the Middle East, the first biggest winners, not only of today but of the century, were Russia and Iran.

Last week, Putin was in the spotlight while he was on his victory tour, but unfortunately, we are only a part of the audience.

A big man without doubt

It is a great success to gather the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in such a short period of time. No one can say the opposite.

The organization recognized East Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Palestine and invited other countries to follow suit. At a time when we remain spectators to everything occurring in the Middle East, this summit brought activity to Turkey on another front.

Making a strong argument with the wrong sentences

I am not a foreign policy expert. Please forgive me if I am asking naïve questions, but I had some questions in the back of my mind while watching the OIC conference.

One: Is defining Israel as an “occupier” and inviting the world to respect the United Nation’s decisions, a consistent policy for Turkey when the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) has not yet been accepted by the U.N., when many countries define us as an “occupier” there and the only country in the whole world that recognizes the TRNC is us?

Two: Is it consistent foreign policy to call on the whole world to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine on Dec. 13 when we had defended the argument that “Jerusalem is a joint space of all three divine religions” against the United States decision on Jerusalem and argued rightfully that thus, Israel cannot declare Jerusalem as its capital?

As I said, I am not an expert and would be glad if an expert could explain this to me.

We sit next to each other but we say different things

We sit next to each other with Russia but we say different things.

We say the terrorist organization, the People’s Protection Units (YPG), are still in Syria.

On the other hand, in Ankara on Dec. 11 Putin said almost all the terrorist organizations in Syria had been cleared.

We still hate Bashar al-Assad and we still believe we can get rid of him.

But Putin on the other hand, welcomes him in his own home and then goes to visit him in his home, openly giving the message that he can “stay” in his position.

We still make the “Rabia” sign (the four-finger hand gesture adopted in 2013 as a symbol of resistance by the supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt) and still believe Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi will be overthrown and the Muslim Brotherhood will return.

In contrast, Putin personally went to Cairo after Trump and also gave the message, “do not worry, we are behind you” to Sisi.

We continue to stir up an international storm and say whatever comes to our mind to Israel.

But in Ankara, Putin said the Palestinians and the Israelis should come together and find solution.

We say the Russian military should withdraw from Syria.

Putin, on the other hand, visits the bases in Syria, declaring from there that they will stay in the Mediterranean from now on.

Ertuğrul Özkök, hdn, Opinion,