Extra: 1st Session - Summary of Turkish Foreign Policy
Hi! It's been snowing here in Ankara, so my class is cancelled and I have time to write about INSPIRATIONS' 2nd meting, after taking some beautiful snowy photos around my campus.
So as I said in my previous posts, our second meeting was a visit to Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Yes, we aimed to seek deeper insight about how Turkish Foreign Policy works. You might be wondering how we got to be invited to a major and exclusive institution like that. Well it started when one of our members Mr. Agung Nurwijoyo approached them via e-mail. He wrote that we would like to obtain some info about Turkish Foreign Policy, and it was replied with warm response from them.
We agreed that we would be invited on Monday 16th 02.00 pm. 10 of us went there. (Me, Trio, Ka Agung, Ka Rizky, Yunas, Ka Ihsan, Ka Erik, Fitriyanto, Indika, Oza) During the meeting, we were treated with warm hospitality. Their representatives were Mr. Ozan Akin and Mr. Emin, both serve under Stratejik Arastirma Merkezi under Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
First, they presented an overview of Turkish Foreign Policy and Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Scroll down for the summary of the presentation). After that, it was the QA sections. They did not answer all of our questions because they were not under the authority to give information about some particular issues. (Scroll down for the full list of Qs and As)
Our meeting ended with a photo session. We try to keep in touch with the, and hopefully it can lead us to another visit at another institutions.
That's it for today. Have a nice day!
Turkish Foreign Policy
Within always-changing global political and economic transformation, Turkish Foreign Policy (TFP) has undergone 3 big ‘earthquakes’, they are;
1. Geopolitical Earthquake in 1991 that was marked by the end of the Cold War.
2. Security Earthquake in 2001 that was initiated by the ‘terrorists’ attack of 9/11.
3. Political and Economy Earthquake in 2011 in the Mediterranean basin that could be seen through several problems like the Arab Spring and the economic crisis in Europe.
In short, we can say that, after the end of the Cold War, Turkey starts to change her foreign policy step by step. How can we say it like that? We can see it clearly from her reactions during 1990s and 2000s. In 1990s, TFP was based on security concerns because of the problematic economic crisis and intensifying fights against terrorism but in 2000s, TFP was changed according to 3 dimensional facts; first, increasing democratic feelings, second, emerging comprehensive structural reforms and the most crucial one, third, appearing multidimensional foreign policy.
Since the beginning of the 21st century, with the Justice and Development Party takes the control of the country in 2002, under the leadership of Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu, Turkey’s recent Prime Minister, Turkey has been strengthening her hold onto multidimensional FP by characterizing her policies within 4 main frameworks;
1. Developing closer relations with neighboring countries.
2. Spreading her relations throughout the world for example to Asia-Pacific and Latin America.
3. Playing more active role in several international organizations (IOs) and platforms.
4. Strengthening the already existing realtions.
If we want to look into these matters in more detail, we can say that, Turkey, while undergoing her first characterization mentioned above, also has 4 main tenets; first, enhancing political dialogues, second, developing economic interdependence, third, increasing social and cultural interactions, fourth, supporting regional cooperation. Turkey’s closer relations with her neighboring countries can be seen in several platforms like High Level Strategic Cooperation Councils (generally consisting Joint Cabinet Meeting) [HLSCC] and Free Trade Agreements.
The results of these activities are; first, increasing share of neighboring countries’ foreign trade from 15% to 25%, second, increasing trade volume due to HLSCC by 8 fold from 13 billion USD to 100 billion USD, third, visa exemption with 21 countries in the last 10 years, fourth, a growing regional role, especially in Balkans, Caucasus, Central Asia and Middle East.
The second apparent character of Turkey’s multidimensional FP is an opening up to new geographies, spreading its relations even further to the other side of the world. There are also several examples of this activity like; first, from 2002 until 2014, Turkey has been able to open up 27 more embassies in Africa from her initial 12 embassies, second, raising expectations to lead the world’s humanitarian assistance there, third, teaching ‘know-how’ for living to the fullest for the Africans, fourth, enhancing economic development in Africa by investing in textile, for example.
On the other side of the world, in Asia-Pacific, Turkey has developed her strategic level relations with ‘Asian Giants’, new emerging power of Asia like China and South Korea become the main targets of Turkey’s ‘expansion’, by not putting aside Japan as their ‘older brother’, moreover, Turkey tries to keep maintaining growing relations with other Asian countries like by engaging closer ties with the ASEAN. Here, we can draw a conclusion that Turkey always tries to exploit closer and even closer relations directly on ‘human-to-human’ approach as she thinks that it is the most effective way to enter into the other states’ affairs that are located even far from her.
Moving into the third characterization of TFP, the so-called holistic comprehensive approach appears on the surface. This approach contains not only international organizations (IOs) but also structures apart from states. The example of IOs in which Turkey put her intention in are, for example: the UN (Alliance of Civilization and Mediation for Peace), the G20 (having 2015’s presidency), the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organization, the Global Counter Terrorism Forum and also several conferences like Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA), the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) 2016’s presidency.
The other side of the coin, the other part of Turkey’s structure is non-state structure or platforms like TIKA and Yunus Emre Institute that have been acting actively as the extension of Turkish government whose influence, aids and importance can be felt apparently, especially in the neighboring countries. Furthermore, we can also say that, recently, Turkey is now ranked second in the world’s emerging donor country by looking at Turkey’s official development assistance budget that reaches more than 3 billion USD.
The last characterization of TFP is strengthening the already existing relations. These existing relations mainly consist of Turkey-the USA’s relations as partnership’s model, Turkey-the European Union’s relations as Turkey’s strategic target in the future and also Turkey-NATO’s relations that have been shifted from the idea of Turkey as just a ‘flank country’ to the idea of Turkey as a ‘central country’ of which Turkey is accepted as a more actively-playing country for the security, cooperation and development of the region surrounding Turkey and the world.
2nd Session - QA Session
Q: Turkey has shifted from "flank country" to "central country" with more major role in regional and international growth. But if we look closely at the geopolitics, EU seems to be dominating in the Eastern Europe. In the Black Sea region, South Caucasian and Central Asia, there is Russia. How do Turkey reacts to this fact? (Eric Habitrisna)
A: Turkey does not have any problem with EU and Russia, because we have some strategic joint-ventures and they don't think of us as a threat.
Q: In the case of Syrian refugees, you have been very generous in accepting the incoming refugees. How will you react when the possible case of refugees overload comes to the surface? (M. Yunas Fitra)
A: There is a possibility that we can apply more limitation and control to the incoming refugees. Currently there are 2 millions refugees spreading not only in the camps but to the cities.We apply the open gate policy to this case.
Q: After being hit by economic crisis, some European countries cut ties with African countries, some shut down their embassies in African countries. But Turkey do the otherwise by increasing bilateral relations with African countries, and open even more Embassies, from 12 countries to 39 countries. What is the motive behind this? (Agung Nurwijoyo)
A: Historically, unlike some of the European countries, Turkey does not have colonial history with African nations. Instead, Turkey are friends with African nations. So in this case, trade is not our only interest. We want to develop our relations with some African countries based on a focus point: Humans and Humanity.
Q: THY is now officially a private company. From your presentation, why is it presented as part of Turkish Government’s institutions? (Fitri Yanto)
A: They were shown as a brand that is related to Turkish Government. THY is currently a leading company in airlines and we once had share but now we do not.
Q: The motto of the new government under AK Party is "Zero Problems with Neighbors" Isn't it a continuation of Turgut Ozal's governments' principle? (Eric Habitrisna)
A: Indeed it is.
Q: Besides of the popular reasons we know from the medias, are there any particular reason of why it is hard for Turkey to be granted membership of EU? (M Ihsan Razali)
A: There are some other issues, such as Greece and Turkey borders in Aegean Sea, also the Cyprus issue which we believ is the key issue for the accession to EU
Q: Indonesia has no bilateral relations to Israel and Taiwan. Why do you maintain your relation to Israel while some other countries decide to cut ties? (M Rizky Noviyanto)
A: Turkey doesn't cut ties with Israel but we try to minimize our bilateral relations. For instance, we don't have any joint governmental project with Israel except when we compromise about the freedom of Palestine,such as our demand to make Israel - Palestine border according to 1967 treaty and Jerusalem must be the capital of Palestine. Furthemore our relations with Israel is not running smooth like when we give direct aid to Palestine because Israel strictly control all the borders.
Q: As my friend said too, Indonesia does not have any bilateral relations with Israel and Taiwan. The reason for Taiwan is because we want to maintain our positive sentiment with China. Knowing that the only one trade mission Turkey has in the world is only with Taiwan, is there any dissatisfaction from the relations with China? (M Yunas Fitra)
A: No, it doesn’t affect our relations with China in any ways
Q: We learned that there is a propaganda called Yeni Turkiye Hedef2023 and 2071. Can you explain this? (Agung Nurwijoyo)
A: This is actually a symbolic aim for our development. 2023 will mark exactly one century after our Independence. 2017 will mark exactly one millennium after Turkish arrival to Anatolia.
Q: What are Turkey’s policies in the 5 year development in economy? (M Ichsan Razali)
A: We will try to minimize dependency of the Western influences in our economy, to maximize our research and development, and increase the amount of exports of Turkish products in various sectors to the world
Q: What kind of export products in the Turkey's world trade? (Indika Fauzan)
A: To the EU, mostly it is automotive, chemical materials, and textile.
Q: What is the secret of Turkey's success in long-term development? (M Ichsan Razali)
A: Sorry, the answer is under the authority of Ministry of Development.
Q: We looked at your data, and realized that trade volume to Iraq was the only one increasing in 2009 while others were decreasing. How could that happen? (Fitri Yanto)
A: I am sorry but the answer is under the authority of Turkish Ministry of Trade. But all we can say is that currency changes played a huge role, especially with the volume trade to Russia.
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