Does anyone remember the “zero problems with neighbors” slogan of the Ahmet Davutoğlu prime ministry in Turkey? Well, it appears as if several centuries have passed since Davutoğlu vanished from the front pages of the Turkish media, even though he was ousted by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in May 2016 – less than a year ago. Like Davutoğlu, his slogan as well has gone down the drain as not only is there no one talking about such a fictional target, but Turkey’s government has become a country at odds with everyone, including half of its own population.
“Zero problems with neighbors” was of course not something achievable. In private discussions, the late Süleyman Demirel praised Davutoğlu for having such a “noble target” but stressed that he had difficulty in understanding whether the minister was intending to surrender and accept all the demands of Turkey’s neighbors or planning to invade all the neighbors and thus achieve the status of no problems with any of them. Since the government of every country is entitled to defend the interests of its own people and state before developing any sort of empathy and understanding about the demands of its neighbors, is it possible to avoid tensions between countries that have intense interactions? Naturally, Turkey may not have any bilateral problem with, let’s say, Ecuador, but is it possible not to have any problem with any of its neighbors even if no effort is spared to avoid troubles?
Turkey cannot have airspace violation problems with South Africa. It cannot have discussions on upstream-downstream issues with Canada. Colombia and Botswana cannot accuse Turkey of holding back the Euphrates waters, condemning them to drought… Well, Turkey frequently complains that its Western allies abet and support terrorists who are active against the Turkish state. Sometimes it might go to the extent of accusing its allies of providing arms and ammunition to terrorists with hostile aims against Turkey. Still, separatist terrorists have been using the territories of Turkey’s neighbors to stage their attacks on Turkey or train their members. Where is the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) stationed, after all?
So, it was lunacy to expect the realization of a “Zero problems with neighbors” strategy, particularly when, acting with neo-Ottomanist and Salafist hallucinations, Turkey’s government was engaged in the Greater Middle East and North Africa global plans of its “big brother.” Does anyone remember that Turkey was the co-chair of that project? Was it not that project that launched the so-called “Arab Spring,” turning the Arab neighborhood into a hellish place?
Now, it has been revealed that former American President Barrack Obama was among the army of those who deceived President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Is there anyone left who did not deceive Erdoğan? Interesting, no? From Fethullah Gülen, the former bedfellow of the Islamist clan in government, to the political PKK, intermediaries, top aides and comrades-in-arms in the Kurdish opening, everyone has deceived the Turkish president… Yet, he was made the sole decision maker, chief executive, top legislative and absolute judge of the country. Interesting, is it not?
Today, not only is Turkey deprived of any friendly neighbor, it is fast transforming its allies into something unthinkable. Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and many other European allies are now on Turkey’s “problematic countries” list. European institutions likewise have turned into hated organizations. The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), for example, has become an organization that sent pro-terrorist reporters to the April 16 reform and issued a biased report at Turkey’s request. The Council of Europe, likewise, is accused of officially abetting terrorists. The European Union has always been the “nasty organization” that betrayed Turkey, keeping the country in the waiting room for half a century. Now, perhaps Turkey will walk the British way and stage a Trexit, becoming the first country to abandon the EU before joining it. Who knows, perhaps tomorrow NATO will be attacked and accused of being anti-Turkish as well.
But, of course, Turks are as correct and innocent as a sibling… Everyone else is at fault but Turkey, as the saying goes, is as white as the spoon just taken out of a jar of milk.