New Victory And Idea Of Neo-Ottomanism: Turkish PM Erdogan’s Party S

By Aris Ghazinyan

15.06.11 | 10:17


Grand National Assembly of Turkey

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won a predictable
victory in the country’s parliamentary elections last weekend,
receiving 49.9 percent of the vote. The Republican People’s Party
that was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk (the father of all Turks)
gained 25.9 percent of the vote.

Enlarge Photo Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Thus, for the third consecutive time a force espousing “neo-Ottomanism”
as a state ideology has registered a landslide victory in Turkish
parliamentary elections.

AKP’s first success came in June 2002 when in parliamentary elections
it managed to win 363 seats in the 550-member Grand National Assembly
of Turkey. The party was founded in August 2001 by former members of
the moderate conservative wing of the banned Turkish Islamic Virtue
Party. Its leaders are current Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
and President Abdullah Gul.

For the next eight years the new Turkish authorities would make
strenuous efforts to strengthen the country’s positions not only in
the Turkic, but also the broader Muslim community. In recent years,
Ankara has unambiguously positioned itself as the main advocate of
the interests of the Muslim world, with some observers acknowledging
it has left Tehran far behind in this endeavor.

In what form is the “Turkish interest” demonstrated?

There is the following well-known statement by Turkish Foreign Minister
Ahmet Davutoglu: “There is a legacy of the Ottoman Empire. We are
called ‘neo-Ottomans’. Yes, we are ‘new Ottomans’ and have to deal
with neighboring countries. And we are going to Africa. Great powers
are watching it in confusion. First of all, France is trying to
figure out why we are working in Africa. I have already given out an
instruction: to whatever African country [French President Nicolas]
Sarkozy goes, it is necessary that every time he raises his eyes he
sees the building of the Turkish embassy and our flag. I have ordered
renting buildings for embassies in the best places.”

In February 2010, Prime Minister Erdogan announced his intention to
revise the basic provisions of the National Security Strategy – a
document which is called the “Red Book” in Turkey. In October, Erdogan
made public the “first changes” in the Red Book, outlining a new range
of foreign policy priorities (in particular, for the first in more than
half a century Israel was included in the blacklist of the Red Book).

Based on new trends, opinions are being put forward today about the
Turkish political leadership’s gradual departure from the Pan-Turkic
ideology towards the pan-Islamic or ‘Neo-Ottoman’ ideology.

Turkey’s desire to strengthen its positions within the boundaries
of the former Ottoman Empire (which, according to Turkish analysts,
amounts to 70 modern states) cannot but “attract attention”.

In September 2010, in Istanbul, Turkey and its ethnic cousin in the
South Caucasus, Azerbaijan, signed an agreement on the establishment of
a Council of Strategic Cooperation. At the signing ceremony, Erdogan
stated: “We are getting to the desired goal or even to the top of
Turkish-Azerbaijani cooperation, which the late Azerbaijani President
Heydar Aliyev defined as ‘One Nation, Two States’, and Ataturk would
stress – ‘the joy of Azerbaijan is our joy, its sorrow is our sorrow.'”

At present, Erdogan is focused on having a new Constitution adopted in
Turkey and in this view he feels the need of his political opponents’
votes. That is why in his victory speech, the Turkish prime minister
declared: “In reality it is the whole of Turkey, entire Europe,
justice, democracy and the whole Turkish world that have won at
these elections.”

From: Baghdasarian