June 25 2020
The Blue Homeland doctrine is a product of Kemalist maritime officers. The nationalists realized that allying with Erdoğan would bring crucial advantages, such as using the radical Islamists as a proxy back and forth in Syria and in Libya, and forging military ties with Qatar and Somalia.
Through its control over the media, the Erdoğan government has been doing everything to turn the coronavirus epidemic into a domestic and foreign policy success story. However, the political use of the coronavirus has its limits.
An array of miscalculations and misjudgments have been guiding Turkey which caused to the loss of 53 of its troops in one month, put it practically into a war with both Syria and Russia, forced its foreign policy to falter, asking for support from NATO and causing another crisis with Greece and the EU due to migration issue.
The Idlib crisis may mark a transition into a new phase in the Turkish-Russian relationship, and a reshuffling of Turkey’s balancing policy of the West with the close cooperation with Moscow. With the Syrian regime and Russia out of patience in Idlib, and with Turkey and Russia facing each other again on opposite sides in Libya, Turkish-Russian relations have come to a crossroads.
The Europeanization of Turkish politics has already become a forgotten concept, and in hindsight, it is now clear that the AKP was merely toying with the idea of democratization: it was not a genuine endeavor. Rather, it served the purpose of image- building, cementing an alliance with the liberals, and breaking the obstinacy of the statist anti-AKP sections within the state apparatus. In this way, Europeanization was the most short-lived policy orientation in the history of the country.
The Erdoğan government has been taking Turkey from one crisis to another, opening up new military and diplomatic fronts. The government’s decision to send troops to support the Government of National Accord in Libya, and its prior acceptance that these forces can be engaged in actual conflicts, is the most risky military adventure the AKP has ever taken.
Never before in its history, Turkey had to deal with so many issues, engagements, crises, military involvements, and operations all at the same time. At no time in the Republic’s history did Turkey interfered, involved and intervened in the affairs of its neighbors and other countries. What is striking is that in most of the cases, it is Turkey that plunged itself in these crises, and it is partly responsible for their escalation as in the Syrian case.
Turkey did not have previous experience in conducting proxy wars. However, Turkey was relatively quick to adapt to the realities on the ground in Syria and rather successful in forming an army from the diverse groups of Islamist fighters despite the fact that it had no history of resorting proxy wars.
With its authoritarian sliding, the AKP resorted to new foreign policy tools, the most effective of which seems to be blackmailing its opponents. But when it comes to human beings treated as bargaining chips, it is morally an despicable act whoever becomes part of it. This is what Turkey and its opponents have been doing for some time. In this Turkey’s newly discovered foreign policy individuals, masses and even terrorist groups were utilized as part of a bargaining process.
So far Erdoğan administration did not take into account a possible consensus between the U.S. and Russia on the Syrian crisis. There is still a serious risk that both the U.S. and Russia, which are cooperating behind the doors rather than engaging in a zero-sum game in Syria, can take a common stand against Turkey that may leave the Erdoğan government to face a humiliating end of its involvement in Syria.
Although heavy-handed crackdown on Kurdish politics that is still underway, Turkey can still turn this operation into an advantage to resume peace talks with its own Kurds.
Even though China has not officially challenged the American hegemonia, with its population, economic capacity and increasing military power is the most serious rival it has ever seen.
AKP has become an administration that is dependent on MHP domestically, on international foreign capital financially, on USA strategically and on Russia in terms of energy and in Syria. And instead of reducing these dependencies some of which have roots in the past, AKP added more to the list and deepened them.
After rising to power as the embodiment of the Islamist movement's revival in Turkey with intense support from primarily USA, then EU and Gulf states who saw the party as the flag carrier of democratization in Turkey, AKP became the Turkish representative of right wing authoritarian populism which saw a global rise after 2010's.