ANKARA: Prime Minister’s foreign trips

Hürriyet, Turkey
Nov 21 2008

Prime Minister’s foreign trips

Mr. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoÄ?an’s visits abroad are
quite useful. We are learning about national political targets and
policies that we have never heard of. His latest journey to the United
States and Switzerland set a good example

Speaking abroad, ErdoÄ?an says Turkey proceeds on its way to
become a European Union member and will not deviate from it. I think
the audience cannot help themselves but to laugh. There are other
subjects that are voiced as well.

This time, ErdoÄ?an made an inapt remark that Iran should have
nuclear military power. It seems that he is not briefed by the Foreign
Ministry and is consulting with his close circles only. The essence of
his statement was not wrong but how he put that into word was
important. Former French President Jacques Chirac had adopted a
similar attitude too but no one showed him the reaction ErdoÄ?an
was shown.

For in the end, what is most rational is to acknowledge that Iran
could possess nuclear power and yet to normalize the country by
dragging it into the international arena from which it has been
excluded since 1979.

I think while the prime minister was supporting Iranian nuclear power
his close aides said, "Let’s mediate between Iran and the U.S." As a
matter of fact, news stories like "Turkey is a mediator between the
U.S. and Iran" have suddenly started to spread around. It is beyond
ridiculous that Turkey, incapable of bringing peace to itself, now
becomes eager to settle every dispute around. The founder of modern
Turkey, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, hadn’t said, "Peace at home,
peace in the world"?

Let’s take the Nagorno Karabakh issue as we speak of Turkey’s
assertiveness for being a mediator. The only trump card Turkey has in
hand here is positive dialogue to be developed with Armenia after
establishing diplomatic ties and opening the border. The issue is a
long-term pedagogical process. Perhaps in the future Karabakh will
have its turn.

But for today, is there a will for a common solution voiced by
Azerbaijan and Armenia except the insignificant declaration they
signed earlier this month in the Russian capital Moscow? No! During
his lifetime late Azerbaijani President Haydar Aliyev’s had a total of
22 meetings with different Armenian presidents. Delegations of the
sides met more than 60 times since 1995. And the Karabakh issue was
certainly not the only agenda item in these meetings.

Turkey’s tough relation with the global economic crisis

The main objective of ErdoÄ?an’s visit to the U.S. was the G-20
meeting. The prime minister must have been listening to the remarks
that the crisis is serious this time, as he read something close to
reality from a sheet in front of him at the press briefing he held
upon his return.

ErdoÄ?an, who despite all warnings for months has insisted that
the crisis wouldn’t strike Turkey, finally announced that Turkey will
face the crisis for the next six month beginning from Jan.1, 2009. As
though the crisis is paying a visit to Turkey. It was in fact enough
for him to go in the Turkish Main Street to see how real it is.

The government is not in a hurry for crisis management, nor for taking
preventive measures. The unwillingness to accept the crisis and the
concerns about it that have turned into a phobia, are of course
something to do with the March 2009 local elections. The 48 percent
election victory in July 22, 2007 polls was based on economic
interests rather than ideological preferences of the people. This is
very well known by ErdoÄ?an. This time in fact, the governing
party may not have the expected results.

This is the reason why Mr. Prime Minister and his party are adopting a
nationalist hawkish attitude rather than taking economic
measures. Obviously, we are being pushed into an environment where
fuel is added to the fire.

The crisis this time is quite different than the one we went through
in 2001. We desperately need foreign capital and export. In economic
dire straits full of uncertainties it is extremely dangerous to create
tension because a huge group of idle and unemployed is about to come
out to lend an ear to nationalist remarks of the government.

You may also like