Turkey is not a playmaker
The Gaza ceasefire has ruined our self-imposed reputation in the region as “the playmaker country,” especially domestically.
Those who closely monitored the Turkish media last week are aware of it. The government tried to explain the exceptionally significant role Turkey has played in the ceasefire talks. While the person who stayed in Cairo on behalf of Turkey tried to explain the importance of this contribution by telling us that they informed the prime minister hourly, and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğu explained in even more technical terms the role we played.
Middle East experts though, citing international media, said peace was reached through the Unites States-Egypt duo and Turkey’s role was pale in comparison. While some said, “Peace was formed thanks to us,” others said “We were no more than assistants.”
Actually, the truth is that the U.S.-Egypt duo facilitated peace and Turkey supported them behind the scenes.
Sometimes, we are attracted to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğn’s tough stance and are affected by his chewing everyone out; we all of a sudden see ourselves as “the leader country.” The public loves that. Either self-imposed by our domestic writers or with the contribution of a few foreign writers, we adopt these capacities immediately and fall into our own trap.
Let’s not forget, there are certain rules and requirements to become a “leader country” or a “playmaker country.” It does not happen by only harsh statements or attacking leaders of other countries.
Requirements of being a playmaker
It is a beautiful thing to be a playmaker or to be the leader country of a region; however, for this to be real, credible and sustainable certain criteria must be met.
Yes, you may come to the forefront as a poor but very big and crowded country, Egypt for example. You may be defined as influential or a key country in the Palestine issue; moreover, you may be the leader country only for this issue. However, outside a certain field (Palestine), in the region for instance, you cannot be the “playmaker.”
I wonder whether Turkey would ever have this kind of a status.
These requirements are necessary for us to be accepted as a “playmaker, leader country.”
- You have to have economic power. It is not enough to have a successful performance at certain years. A non-fragile, ever-producing economy that gets richer, a strong currency and an order where the rich and poor balance has been reached are requirements.
- Your army does not need to be crowded but it has to have top firepower and the skill to reflect this firepower across its borders. You should have an arms industry and should not be dependent on other countries for equipment.
- Your country should have domestic peace and should be able to act reflecting its power across its borders.
Now, let’s compare these requirements with ourselves:
- Turkish economy has a bright performance in recent years, but it is still fragile. It is not rich yet and has not solved its basic problems. Fear is able to conquer the markets in domestic or international tremors.
- The Turkish Armed Forces is huge but it has not completed its modernization yet. It is a crowded army. The weapons it owns are outdated; its potential to reflect its power across its borders is low. The arms industry is at its infancy.
Let’s be realistic. In this case, can we name ourselves as the regional “playmaker” country?
Yes, we are an “influential” country. Yes, our advice is listened to. Yes, we are a “credible” country.
But, that’s it… Let’s not exaggerate.