What a regional power!

What a regional power!

Like it or not there ought to be as little place as possible for emotions in international diplomacy. Good chemistry between leaders facilitates progress, helps rapprochement or contributes to the consolidation of already good ties. Platonic love affairs between states or nations are important but when it comes to policy-making countries act with full awareness that it is the interests not friendships they should use as benchmark. Winston Churchill is often quoted as summarizing this fundamental aspect of international relations as “There are no eternal friends or enemies… only eternal interests.” Love it or not, this is the valid currency of international relations.

Diplomacy often entails give and take, bargaining, compromise… The starting point of an issue between states might be far different than what is eventually told to the public. Secrecy of background work provides flexibility as well. There is as well the need to have public diplomacy so that even some negative developments might be portrayed as great successes. The public diplomacy aspect apparently is the only concern of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government. That as well was done in arrogance.

Is there any other country where foreign policy is decided and implemented in front of cameras? Perhaps to enchant its long governance-exhausted supporters and cadres Turkey’s absolute ruler and his foreign policy vizier issue their firmans right away, utter their last word before saying the first… Worse, in front of cameras.

Turkey is a regional power aspiring to become a global power but SOMEHOW today there is no Turkish ambassador in Damascus, Cairo or Tel Aviv. Just the other day we were buddies with the Gulf Arab sheikhs and the Saudi king; today the same countries and leaders are publicly ridiculed and attacked by Turkish leaders. There ought to be some credible intelligence at hand otherwise the Turkish prime minister would not have accused Israel of being the mastermind of the Egypt coup. Yet, the regional power aspiring to become global power received a strong slap in the face from Uncle Sam. That triggered a retaliatory “mind your business, we did not use your name in our condemnation” statement from the almond-mustached vizier. Could Turkey be so unaware of global balances, and the US-Israel affair?

Why is Turkey so “proactive” or “dummy”? Why, while the entire world weighs developments, evaluates issues from the perspective of their interests and acts accordingly, why is there only white and black for Turkey? Is it just because the government, like the provocative confrontational domestic policy understanding, wants to use foreign policy to energize and consolidate its grassroots?

If, rather than interests, emotions are focused on in the making of foreign policy it might become absolutely natural to end up defending the country becoming the odd party in the international arena with an obscure but attention catching “precious isolation” terminology.

Do we have at hand a “precious isolation” produced by dedication to principles and loyalty to friendships or proclamation of a failed strategic approach that neglected to see the many colors of realpolitik in the first place?

I am afraid an answer to this question by the government will not be possible for now because accepting failure is not in the cards of this government. Yet in greed Turkey’s interests are being emotionally compromised and repercussions will continue until someone shouts “the King is naked.”