The CHP’s Middle East policy

The CHP’s Middle East policy

When main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) decided to visit Egypt, after its Iraq visit, debate erupted again. 

While talking about this matter, one should not forget that after Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu took power, the CHP actively started using all platforms abroad. The previous CHP either used to leave all these platforms totally to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) or, when it did visit, it would shake its finger at its interlocutors before coming back. The government, then, would turn to those interlocutors and say, “Here, this is the CHP.”

It should be accepted that the CHP’s reports sent with this new stance have played a serious role in the recent changes in the EU’s and the United States’ approaches toward the government’s policies. 
This should also be seen as being behind the criticism of Prime Minister Erdoğan and other government spokespeople who frequently say “the CHP is informing against us abroad.”

Reason to go to Egypt 

As the CHP started getting results in these fields, it was able to further pressure the AKP. Kılıçdaroğlu’s harsh words even caused him to be at odds with the “European Socialist Group.” However, today in the CHP, the prevailing mood is as follows: “When they saw the prime minister’s approach one month later during the Gezi demonstrations, those who were not quite convinced by us then understood our correct position.” On the other hand, the mood in the government is, “If the question is foreign policy, let the opposition follow me.” 

When the “zero problems with neighbors” policy turned into “nothing but problems with neighbors,” the CHP’s stance changed. The planned Egypt trip right after the Iraq visit is the result of this. I should point out that due to those CHP executives who considered that the timing of the Egypt trip was wrong, the matter was discussed at length. However, those who said the timing was wrong have now started to view the visit as positive, it is reported. The reason for this can be read from these words about the government’s Middle East policy: “The only effort of the government is to create a Muslim Brotherhood belt. This is totally against Turkey’s interests, it is extremely wrong. We are aware of the coup reality in Egypt, but what counts is Egypt itself. We will not meet Sisi; however, we will meet all other parties. We will tell everyone, by giving examples from our own country, that coups move countries backward.”

Wherever there is a void, the CHP will step in 

According to the CHP, it is against national interests to cut diplomatic ties with every country we experience problems with and only obtain information through third countries. This is because then the national policies of those third countries become involved. 

For this reason, the CHP finds it very meaningful and positive that on the same day as the CHP’s visit was announced, the government decided to send back Turkey’s Cairo Ambassador. 

As far as I understand, there is a special effect on this trip from Egyptian Foreign Minister Nabil Fehmi. He served as an ambassador in the United States for many years, together with Faruk Loğoğlu, who is now in the CHP delegation visiting Egypt. Fehmi also has a long working relationship with Osman Korutürk. Both of these names see themselves as being in a position where they are able to talk about everything with Fehmi. 

Within this framework, the main issues to be discussed would be the stopping of the anti-Turkish storm in the Egyptian media and the release of Turkish citizens under detention.

The CHP considers that neglecting Egypt, which has a very special place in the Middle East, is against
the interests of the country. The CHP looks as if it will continue to visit every country, not only Egypt, that it thinks the government has neglected. The CHP also notes all the criticisms of the government. 
Apparently the timing is truly meaningful, but this is the opinion of the CHP. 

Şükrü Küçükşahin is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published Sept. 5. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.