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Significant momentum in Turkish foreign policy

Significant momentum in Turkish foreign policy

Türkiye’s foreign policy has been gaining momentum in recent months as a series of developments bolster each other, taking place in quick succession.

Türkiye’s foreign policy has been gaining momentum in recent months as a series of developments bolster each other, taking place in quick succession. • Türkiye’s relations with the United States entered a new chapter as the Turkish Parliament signed off on Sweden’s NATO membership and the U.S. Congress approved the sale of F-16 fighter jets to Türkiye. The two countries are thus developing a new way of cooperation regarding PKK terrorism, Iraq, Syria, Gaza and Africa. Considering that some institutions in Washington have been working on a potential U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and Syria ahead of the upcoming presidential election, Türkiye and the U.S. are compelled to share their strategic assessments with each other. • President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Feb. 14 visit to Egypt marked the beginning of a new chapter in Türkiye’s strategic partnership with that country. The Egyptian president’s upcoming visit to Ankara will add to that fresh story. The two governments are working on a wide range of issues, from the Eastern Mediterranean and Libya to the tragedy in Gaza and economic investments. • Türkiye and Somalia concluded a framework agreement for defense and economic cooperation on Feb. 8. That deal covers terrorism, external threats, piracy and unlawful fishing, as well as guarding the Somalian coast, the development of maritime resources and building a navy. Accordingly, Türkiye strengthened its presence in the Red Sea and developed a model for taking its relationship with other African nations to the next level. • The Türkiye-Iraq security summit, which took place in Baghdad on March 14, represented a forward leap in bilateral relations. The two governments took joint steps to combat the PKK and discussed the creation of a security corridor along their land border and expediting the Development Road project. • Finally, against the backdrop of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spat with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron and the possibility of a confrontation between NATO and Russia, Türkiye continues to work toward a more comprehensive agreement between Russia and Ukraine than the grain deal.

Türkiye's strategic diplomacy

Türkiye’s diplomatic activities, which manifest themselves in the above cases, complement each other. Under President Erdoğan’s leadership, Turkish foreign policymakers analyze the international system’s chaotic future and go over the relevant files with an eye on their interconnections. Accordingly, the policy of normalization gives way to strategic partnerships in various fields. Past tensions with neighbors are replaced by a search for common solutions and strengthened partnerships. Türkiye thus maximizes the benefits of its balancing act while preserving its existing alliances. By taking the initiative within power gaps, the country uses its military footprint abroad to promote security, stability and economic cooperation. Meanwhile, security, defense, energy and trade support Türkiye’s foreign policy goals as mutually complementing sectors. Diplomacy coordinates all those areas to create a force multiplier. Türkiye, a country most aware of the world entering an age of chaos, will continue strengthening its regional and global influence through new initiatives. Ankara appreciates the critical importance of managing risks and seizing opportunities in this chaotic climate. Erdoğan’s experience and strong leadership, domestic political stability, national capacity expansion, and its dynamic and educated labor force are among Türkiye’s main advantages. What is the purpose of this new momentum in foreign policy? It is possible to find the answer to that question in Erdoğan’s May 2023 election manifesto: “To keep building the Türkiye axis along three strategic lines through a holistic foreign policy:
  1. To create a peace, prosperity and stability belt around Türkiye,
  2. To institutionalize continental initiatives through new steps,
  3. To lead efforts to build a more just global order.”
Erdoğan, who is currently preoccupied with the municipal election, will hit the road once more to reach that goal. [Daily Sabah, March 25, 2024]