In the military context, the word “retreat” means “the usually forced withdrawal of troops from an enemy or from an advanced position”. In a broader context, it is defined as “an act or process of withdrawing especially from what is difficult, dangerous, or disagreeable”. [i] For obvious reasons, the word is anathema to politicians. They prefer expressions like “revision” or “updating” of policy. But in Türkiye, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) avoids even using such expressions as they might be conceived as an admission of error. It prefers to refer to its foreign policy reversals as “normalization of relations”. How we ended up having an abnormal state of relations with others is not an issue.
The so-called “Friends of Syria Group”, now history, held its first meeting in Tunis on February 24, 2012. On April 1, 2012, it met for the second time in Istanbul.
Later that month in 2012, Turkey’s Foreign Minister delivered a major foreign policy speech in the parliament. Emphasizing the genuine desire for change underlying the Arab spring, he declared that attemptsto explain the current developments with plans imposed from abroad and external conspiracies were primarily an insult to the honorable peoples of the region.
This is an attempt to describe, as briefly as possible, state of Turkey’s foreign relations.
Russia-Turkey: For the optimist the word of choice could be “tension”, for the pessimist “enmity”.
EU-Turkey: One can pick any one of the following for a single word description: annoyance, frustration, grief, irritation, vexation. There is, however, a two-word alternative: “unworthy deals”. Okumaya devam et →
February 10, 2016
On February 4, 2016 Brigadier General Ahmed Asseri, an adviser to the Saudi Defense Minister and also spokesman for the Saudi-led Arab coalition in Yemen reportedly stated, during an interview, that the Kingdom was ready to participate in any ground operations that the anti-ISIL coalition may agree to carry out in Syria. He also said that to win against Islamic State, the coalition needed to combine aerial operations with ground operations.
In response to questions about this statement, US Defense Secretary Carter said that increased activity by other countries would make it easier for the United States to accelerate its fight against Islamic State militants. “That kind of news is very welcome,” he told reporters and added that he looked forward to discussing the offer of ground troops with the Saudi Defense Minister. Okumaya devam et →
With Daesh controlling half of Syrian territory and the “Army of Conquest” consolidating its gains in the Idlib province and getting closer to regime’s bastion of Latakia, the Assad regime appears to be on the retreat. While some observers see these as serious setbacks for Damascus others draw attention to the ebb and flow pattern of the war. Equally important are the divisions emerging between the US and its regional allies. The “Army of Conquest” is a coalition of groups such as Jabhat al-Nusra Front, Ahrar al-Sham and a few others. Okumaya devam et →
It was only a decade ago that Turkey, in recognition of its commitment to continuing political and economic reform, was given green light to start accession negotiations with the EU. Peoples of the region were following the process with envy. It was less than a decade ago that Turkey was playing a facilitator role between Syria and Israel. Our relations with neighbors were characterized by a determination to open new avenues of cooperation reflecting shared interest. It was in 2004 that a consortium led by a Turkish company won the contract to build the third terminal of the Cairo airport. The terminal was opened at the end of 2008 and doubled airport’s passenger capacity. In April 2009 Turkey became the first country to host President Obama on a bilateral visit. Okumaya devam et →