No peace anywhere

No peace anywhere

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) has engaged in something that might shock Turks… Rather than engaging in a rhetorical, “The government is all wrong” campaign, issued a policy brief prepared by its “Research and Policy Development Department.” Thus, this writer and the world learned there is such department in the main opposition party.

The “policy brief” – an advanced copy of which was obtained by this writer and will soon be released – stresses “The Justice and Development Party’s [AKP] Middle East Policy: No Peace at Home, nor in the World.” Can anyone say that was a wrong start by anyone aware of the AKP’s policies over the past few years?

The CHP stressed in the policy paper that the ruling AKP government considers the Middle East as a part of the Ottoman realm and history and views the region as Turkey’s backyard. Stressing the AKP has reflected its “polarizing, offensive and aggressive attitude in domestic politics on foreign affairs,” the CHP paper said, “Regarding conflicting issues, the AKP government has openly backed certain groups and governments in the region. Turkey’s policy of respecting their neighbors’ territorial integrity, which had been pursued until the AKP rule, was pushed aside for both Syria and Iraq. The negative results of the AKP’s irresponsible Middle East policies now threaten Turkish citizens’ safety and welfare.” A good summary, was it not?

Today, Turkey is retreating from the entire geography that the AKP government considered Turkey’s historical heritage and indeed some sort of “Lebensraum.” Syria is no safe place for Turks, either official, or civilian. Iraq is no safe place for Turks. Libya has kicked out Turks. Hopefully one day, Turkey will be able to send ambassadors to Egypt and Israel once again. Turkey is not represented in many capitals of this geography either for security reason or because the AKP government and its Grand Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu have such “strategic depths” and such advanced skills in diplomacy that Turkey has managed to become a country at odds with everyone.

“Concepts used by the AKP such as ‘order building’, ‘Neo-Ottomanism’ and ‘strategic depth’ have not fared well with the historical and cultural characteristics of the region,” the CHP paper said, stressing “The AKP aspired to be a regional leader through these erroneous policies, but now flounders in worthless and dangerous solitude.” Was not that what was described as “precious isolation” by the premier’s tall deputy undersecretary?

Joke aside, indeed, under AKP rule that is where Turkey has landed. For the European Union and the rest of the Western world, Turkey is a country where freedom of expression and press freedom are blatantly oppressed by a police-state-like-administration that some are already accusing of being a dictatorship. For some, the Turkish premier has become the “second Putin,” while for some Putin has become the second Erdoğan. In its region, on the other hand, the AKP’s Turkey has become the most unwelcome while trying to carve itself a Lebensraum.

The CHP paper explains the basic approaches of the main opposition party, as well. “The CHP’s approach to the Middle East is primarily determined by our party’s basic values and principles of stability, peace and welfare in the region and throughout the world. The CHP believes in making efforts to reinforce regional cooperation and seek resolutions via political and diplomatic channels. Turkey should be respectful toward all national, ethnic and religious diversity in the region and stand at an equal distance from all. The CHP is determined to return Turkey back to a credible, reliable and problem-solving model country.”

Hope… Without hope can there be life?