E7-G7 rivalry: 'BRICS' against the 'Atlantic'

Published 28.07.2018 00:39
Updated 28.07.2018 00:43

Turkey's leading role in regional and global cooperation processes is a virtue that we have in our country's institutional memory since Ottoman times. As for recent times, in addition to us being members of international organizations established after the World War II, such as NATO, and CENTO, if we concentrate on the period since the 1980s, we cannot forget the many important cooperation processes and platforms Turkey has led, such the Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (COMCEC), Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the D8 Action Force.

Under President Erdoğan's leadership, in the last 16 years, we have witnessed the transformation of Turkey into a country that has strengthened its muscles in the economic and political fields, an athletic country with high diplomatic maneuver capability. This process, in addition to the strong economic, political and military relations with the Atlantic over the last 70 years, has enabled Turkey to develop multilayered and versatile international relations with the new power poles.

We have both advanced and deepened our efforts to establish new sets of relations with the Asia-Pacific, which stands out as the emerging new power center; with Russia, who has accelerated the process to reaching "superpower" position again with President Putin; Africa that will be the center of gravity of the second half of the 21st century; and with regards to their "making" with Latin America, towards whom we feel as if they are our cousins from about 10,000 miles away. Turkey's term presidency in the G20 in 2015 and in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization Energy Club in 2018 can be summarized as the first fruits our versatile enriched diplomatic network. During this period, the Brazil-Russia-India-China (BRIC) cooperation, which initially began as an informal entity, has turned into a global cooperation that is now carrying out its 10th official summit, following its shaping in the leader's summit hosted by Russia in 2009, and is now called BRICS with the participation of South Africa.

The "Western-Western" or "Northern-Western" alliances that have been governing global economic politics since 1860 are very disturbed by both the exponentially growing force of the "Southern-Southern" alliance and the fact that Turkey, who has strong relations with the Atlantic alliance for the last 70 years, is building bilaterally strong and deep relationships with the BRICS countries, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and with Russia and China who are the principal countries of these cooperative efforts. The newly emerging powerhouses are also disrupting the axis of world goods and money traffic from maritime trade corridors under the Atlantic alliance's dominance, to new overland trade corridors, where Turkey will be the center of gravity. For both Asia, Africa, and Europe, intensive cooperation with Turkey on energy, transportation, logistics and trade corridors gives important clues for the next 50 years. Let's then follow closely President Erdoğan's BRICS meetings.

'OPEN CHECK' FROM MINISTER ALBAYRAK TO G20

The G20 Group, consisting of eight developed and 11 developing economies as well as the European Union, represent 85 percent of the world economy, gathered in Buenos Aires during a time where the trade war between the leading members and the U.S. is increasingly deepening. The U.S.-induced trade war and the currency war that countries are inclined toward are both raising the concerns over the stability of the "rule-based" global trade system. This is why, the leading NGOs of the business world in the G20 countries have invited G20 member countries to stand against the practices threatening free trade and to show a stronger stance, under the Global Trade Coalition treaty they have signed, from Istanbul, Berlin, Brussels, Brasilia, Buenos Aires, London, Madrid, New Delhi, Ottawa, Paris, Rome, Seoul, Sydney and Washington.

For the sake of economic diplomacy, Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak has had important meetings with his counterparts in Germany, France, China, U.S., Brazil, South Korea and Indonesia, some of whom were ministers and some were deputy prime ministers. Minister Albayrak, who also gave the opening speech of a closed session called "Development of the Road Map for the Transformation of Infrastructure into an Asset Category," said that Justice and Development Party (AK Party) governments have invested $420 billion throughout the country since 2002 to improve the infrastructure in order to create a more suitable environment for investments, to contribute to regional development, peace and stability.

Minister Albayrak, who stressed that with its geopolitical position, as well as its strategic importance and high-quality infrastructure, and its stable and predictable environment, Turkey continues to be a safe haven for investments, and pointed out the importance of infrastructure development activities contribution to creating employment and to the fight against terrorism and inequality. Therefore, stating that Turkey - which is housing six of the 10 mega infrastructure projects carried out in the world in the last 10 years - would be more than happy to share its experiences on infrastructure financing that increases the participation of private capital. Minister Albayrak gave an "open check" to the G20 countries for transferring knowledge on Turkey's infrastructure success and for project cooperation.

Albayrak, who believes that the open market and free trade will continue to be at the center of the G20's policy efforts against trade wars, said that countries will be affected by trade and currency battles in the short run where current account balance, output level and export volume will be disrupted. Minister Albayrak, stated that Turkey's near term economic policies will be shaped toward sustaining prudent fiscal policies, rendering loan growth health with macro-cautionary policies, and strengthening the monetary policy, he highlighted that they will continue with well-defined structural reforms.

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