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Turkish foreign policy in 2022

Turkish foreign policy in 2022

As Ankara has made a number of crucial and successful moves in world politics while being led by President Erdoğan, 2022 was a challenging but fruitful year for Turkish foreign policy

The year 2022 was long and intensive but effective, productive and successful for Turkish foreign policy. In particular, Türkiye has taken many important and effective steps in international politics under the leadership of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Türkiye played an effective role throughout the Russian-Ukrainian War, which started in February 2022. Türkiye has achieved to bring the two warring parties to the negotiation table in Antalya and Istanbul. Türkiye mediated and facilitated the signing of the Grain Agreement signed in Istanbul, under the auspices of the United Nations. Thus, Türkiye has won the admiration of all states. With its effective role in reducing the negative impact of the two most important and vital worldwide consequences of the war, Türkiye has resolved the global food crisis and offered alternative solutions for the delivery of energy to European countries. Ankara has mediated between the warring sides to open the grain corridor and has conduced the export of 16 million tons of grain to countries in need. In addition, Ankara mediated to exchange prisoners of war. Active mediation efforts by Türkiye and President Erdoğan to find a political solution to the Ukraine-Russia War continue.

Constructive role of Türkiye

Meanwhile, President Erdoğan and Türkiye continued to remain on and set the agenda of international politics throughout 2022. Türkiye has played constructive roles in multilateral international platforms. President Erdoğan attended two significant summit meetings in September. First, he paid an official visit to Samarkand, the historic city of Uzbekistan, to attend the 28th Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), as the leader of a dialogue partner. He met with the leaders of member countries, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Then, President Erdoğan visited New York to address the 77th U.N. General Assembly. For the last several years, the international community has been closely watching speeches given by President Erdoğan at the assembly. With these speeches, President Erdoğan has been sharing Türkiye’s perception of the world and thus trying to set the agenda of international politics. During his five-day stay in New York, President Erdoğan, who was the center of attention, met with heads of many states and international organizations. President Erdoğan attended another significant multilateral forum, the European Political Community (EPC) in October in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. The EPC brought the leaders of 44 countries together to discuss the political and strategic future of the continent. President Erdoğan met with the Armenian prime minister and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Prague in order to normalize the relations between the three countries and to bring peace and stability to the South Caucasus. Lastly, Türkiye organized the Second Antalya Forum, which has become a truly international political festival, bringing representatives from more than 75 countries. Some 17 heads of state and government, 80 ministers and 39 representatives of international organizations attended the forum, the motto of which was “think together, act together.”

Türkiye-West tensions

However, in spite of all these constructive policies, there has not been a significant change in Türkiye’s tense relations with Western countries. While maintaining a low level of institutional relations with the European Union, Türkiye has tried to improve its relations with individual European states. Similarly, tensions continue in Türkiye’s relations with the United States. The U.S. and large European countries have continued to support the PKK/YPG and to provide shelter to FETÖ members. One of the main reasons for the tension in relations with both the EU and the U.S. was the Turkish-Greek tension in the Eastern Mediterranean region. Greece, which interprets all kinds of domestic and foreign policy initiatives against itself with a zero-sum perspective, has insistently continued to provoke anti-Turkish perceptions in the Western world. Considering the paradigm shift in U.S. policy toward the region and the EU’s unconditional support for Greece, it seems that Athens has succeeded to foster an anti-Turkish stance in the West, at least in the short term, and continued to play a whistleblower role in Turkish-Western relations. All in all, the balanced and independent role that the Turkish President has played during these above-mentioned meetings alone shows Türkiye’s increasing effectiveness in international politics. Türkiye has left behind another effective year in foreign policy. It has carried out many diplomatic activities throughout the year. It has tried to reach almost all the countries of the world regardless of their size, whether small or big. It has continued to increase the number of its foreign representative offices. Türkiye’s performance in influential multilateral platforms has demonstrated that in spite of the attempts of Western countries, Türkiye and its leader is not isolated. On the contrary, many countries have been trying to improve their relations with Türkiye, an effective player in the international system. [Daily Sabah, December 28 2022]