For decades, since the days of Atatürk and Venizelos, Greek-Turkish relations have been characterized by a roller coaster pattern. Between the years 1997 and 2001, I was the Turkish ambassador in Athens. For a Turkish diplomat serving in Greece has always been a privilege. As I said in an interview before my departure, I not only enjoyed my stay there but I also happened to be the lucky one. Because, after a brief storm, my years there turned out to be a long sunny season.
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.
With the war in Ukraine, “the emerging world order” has become a current topic with conflicting opening gambits.
The West argues for the rules-based international order, the body of rules, norms, and institutions that govern relations. Among those are treaties, international law, formal structures, institutions, and values at the center of which are democracy and respect for human rights.
In another ten days, it will be six months since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The news of the war no longer makes the headlines. Because it only takes time for the most unexpected, for the worst to become the new normal, like in Syria, Libya, and Yemen.
Last Monday, National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby told reporters that nothing about House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s possible trip changed US policy toward Taiwan. He said, “We have been clear from the very beginning that she will make her own decisions and that Congress is an independent branch of government. Our Constitution embeds a separation of powers. This is well known to the PRC, given our more than four decades of diplomatic relations. The Speaker has the right to visit Taiwan, and a Speaker of the House has visited Taiwan before without incident, as have many members of Congress, including this year.” He was referring to House Speaker Newt Gingrich’s visit to Taiwan in 1997.
Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, in an interview with newspaper editors in Cairo in March 2018 said that Türkiye, Iran, and extremist groups represented a “triangle of evil” in the region. This was widely reported in the Egyptian press. Saudi Arabia’s embassy in Ankara issued a statement saying that MBS had mentioned not Türkiye but the Muslim Brotherhood and radical groups.
G7 met in Elmau, Germany, on 26-28 June 2022. The communiqué issued following the meeting stressed G7’s condemnation of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine and reiterated that G7 will stand with Ukraine for as long as it takes.
The communiqué expressed concern about the situation in the East and South China Seas and strong opposition to any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion that increased tensions. It said there is no legal basis for China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea. It underscored the importance of peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait and encouraged a peaceful resolution of cross-Strait issues.
With the war in Ukraine, the “emerging world order” has once again become a current topic even though the use of the word “order” in the global context does not correspond to its Merriam-Webster definition which is “the state of peace, freedom from confused or unruly behavior, and respect for law or proper authority”.
On June 15, the New York Times reported that heat waves are becoming more frequent, hotter, and longer-lasting than in previous decades, according to scientists. The US National Climate Assessment noted in 2018 that the frequency of heat waves had jumped from an average of two per year in the 1960s to six per year by the 2010s. The heat-wave season in the United States has stretched to 45 days longer than it was in the 1960s, according to the report. Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas concentrations are increasing, temperatures are warming, sea levels are rising, and ice extent and glacier mass are decreasing.[i]