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.
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Mois Gabay writes: In my childhood years, I remember wandering in the streets of Beyoğlu alongside my father. Pera was living its last days. At the end of the street near the French Consulate, lay “Tailor Ragıp.” Mr. Ragıp was famous for making trousers that would fit you perfectly. Tailor Blum had trained him.
İslam Özkan writes: Rather than dividing it, it appears that Turkey’s strategy and polarizing policies in Libya have contributed to unifying the enemy camp. Though the attack against the al-Wattiyah airbase did not inflict huge damage on Turkey’s air defense system, Turkey’s efforts in Libya will likely get harder in the future.
Ülkü Doğanay writes: Maybe in January 2016, if the former prime minister, who now resents his colleagues and who kept quiet before the events regarding Şehir University, had remembered that he was also an academic benefiting from free expression, then universities may not have been in the dark position they are in today.
Politics
Turkey's media watchdog issued 73 percent of broadcast interruption fines to the same four news broadcasters that are critical of the government, a report by non-governmental organization Transparency International revealed.
84 percent of Turkish citizens expect a second wave of the novel coronavirus epidemic, based on the results of a survey conducted from June 29-July 2 among more than 2,000 people in all of the country’s 81 provinces. 90 percent of people surveyed indicated that the virus had negatively impacted Turkey's economy.
The European Parliament held a debate entitled “Stability and Security in the Mediterranean and the negative role of Turkey” on July 9. Several MEPs called for a complete end to accessions talks with Turkey, saying the country should no longer receive payments from the EU budget as part of pre-accession support.
Turkey has voiced discontent with the United States' decision to provide International Military Education and Training (IMET) to Greek Cypriot soldiers in accordance with the 2020 fiscal year appropriations act. "This and similar steps do not contribute to the efforts towards the settlement of the Cyprus issue, but on the contrary, lead to strengthening the intransigent attitude of the Greek Cypriot side," the Turkish Foreign Ministry said.
A recent simulation by Istanbul Municipality revealed the southern suburbs of the city to be the highest-risk areas in a potential earthquake. While the suburbs are located on both sides of the city, they're all placed alongside the southern Marmara Sea shoreline.
The Istanbul Convention, an international initiative that aims to combat domestic violence against women, has led to fractures within the ruling AKP as one of the party's lawmakers has said that she is puzzled why the convention has come under attack after so many years. AKP MP Canan Kalsın asked why the convention turned into a “scapegoat” nine years after it was signed in Istanbul.
Attending a demonstration can't be a proof of terrorist organization membership, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled in the case of four applicants from Turkey. The applicants faced the said accusation for attending a demonstration in 2008, with the ECHR saying that their rights to freedom of assembly were violated.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to carry out a cabinet reshuffle and rearrange ministries. Erdoğan might part ways with three to four ministers, sources told Duvar, adding that two ministries, including the Family and Social Services Ministry, might be divided into two.
The police force of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) early on July 9 shot two Syrian refugees for attempting to run away after arriving at a beach on a boat. The TRNC police said that refugees continued to run away despite warning shots, and eventually they opened fire on them, injuring two.
A tender for hunting mountain goats in eastern Dersim was scheduled despite public outcry against it. Endemic to the Munzur Valley National Park, mountain goats are considered sacred among locals.
A parliamentary commission revealed that some 462 children in Turkey died under suspicious conditions in 2019. Police data showed that 21 children's deaths were suicides and 29 were the result of poisoning.
Four U.S. senators have penned a letter to Defense Secretary Mark Esper saying that Turkey's expulsion from the F-35 supply chain needs to be expedited, regardless of what the cost is. They said that the Defense Department's delay regarding the matter “has undermined the effectiveness of our clear message to the Turks.”
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has said that he seeks to shut social media platforms in Turkey, a day after his daughter Esra Albayrak was insulted on Twitter. "Such platforms don't suit this country and our people. That's why we want these social media platforms completely shut or controlled after bringing the issue to our parliament," he told members of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Turkey tested Russian-made S-400 air defense systems on U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets in November 2019, a source close to the Turkish defense industry told TASS on July 7. "Yes, such trials have indeed taken place last November," the source told TASS when asked to comment on several media reports.
The main opposition CHP’s proposal calling for an investigation into last week's deadly explosion at a Sakarya fireworks factory has been rejected by the votes of the AKP and MHP lawmakers.
Turkey's Health Minister Fahrettin Koca has said that the country will soon start mass production of favipiravir, a drug used in COVID-19 treatment, as the licensing process is expected to be completed in a couple of days. Koca said that the country will sell it on the international market and also use it to treat its own coronaviurus patients.
Jailed former HDP co-chair Demirtaş has advised opposition parties to expand their discourse beyond anti-AKP rhetoric, saying: "The time is no longer speaking about the AKP, but the future." Demirtaş has also advised all opposition parties to partake in the same events such as forums, panel discussions and conferences and address Turkey's problems there.
Russia and Turkey are working on an immediate ceasefire agreement for the conflict in Libya, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on July 8. Lavrov said LNA is ready to sign a ceasefire document and hopes that Turkey will manage to convince the country's internationally recognised GNA to do the same.
As of March this year, EU countries overall have admitted 26,835 migrants under the 2016 Turkey-EU deal, German daily Die Welt reported on July 8. Germany has taken in the greatest number of migrants among the EU countries, with almost 10,000 people, the report said.
Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said that Turkey was an exception to the global financial crisis emerging in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. The minister said that Turkey has been outperforming other countries in "all measures of economic success."
Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) leader Ali Babacan has criticized heavy taxes on alcoholic beverages, saying that it leads to smuggling. They are being sold to one third of the prices here in our neighboring countries. The fact that the taxes are high leads to smuggling," Babacan said when asked about increases in private consumption tax (ÖTV).
Istanbul's Üsküdar Municipality banned roasted sunflower seeds, along with other shelled seeds, to prevent pollution of environment. A cheap alternative, roasted sunflower seeds are a favorite snack for Turkey's population.
Enrollment in religious-training Imam Hatip schools has been more than the enrollment in the high school Imam Hatip schools. Enrollment in the imam-training high schools fell in the academic year 2018-2019.
Economy
Foreign investment in Istanbul's stock exchange fell below 50 percent for the first time since 2004, daily Sözcü reported. Almost four billion dollars have reportedly been sold out of the exchange in the first six months of 2020.
Turkey's foreign trade deficit doubled between January and May as exports fell by 20 percent. The monthly trade deficit also doubled in May, surpassing $3 billion.
The Turkish Competition Authority has launched a probe into German automotive giants Audi, Porsche, Volkswagen, Mercedes-Benz and BMW. The authority's announcement on July 1 came as Volkswagen AG canceled plans to build a car factory in Turkey after the coronavirus pandemic jolted auto markets.
Turkey's June inflation rates exceeded experts' expectations at 1.13 percent, almost double the estimates. Meanwhile, annual inflation reached 12.62 percent.
Urban Beat
Turkey's Culture and Tourism Ministry will be turning the iconic Galata Tower into a museum. The ministry will also launch a "culture route" that spans from the tower, along Istiklal Avenue and to Taksim Square. Minister Ersoy also said that the construction of the AKM would be completed within a month, ongoing since February 2019.
The United States' National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) likened railroads and highways in Turkey's capital Ankara to arteries in an eagle-eye shot of the city at night, dubbed "photo of the day" on June 28.
Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu on June 25 announced that the municipality purchased a portrait of Ottoman Sultan Mehmet II at a London auction. According to the London-based world-famous Christie's auction house, the municipality's winning bid amounted to £770,000 ($955,000) for the oil painting, which is believed to be the work of Italian painter Gentile Bellini in 1480.