Turkey's historical past will not allow Turkish people to forget the colonial past of foreign powers; they are also well aware what lies behind the foreign policies of these powers concerning other countries
Most people in Turkey understand what the world's major powers are trying to achieve on the international scene, and they also understand what those powers want from Turkey. They are capable of understanding their aims due to modern communication tools that have made it possible for everyone to access the official statements of every nation. Besides, the ups and downs in bilateral commercial relations with divergent nations are also good indicators.
That's why it is not hard for many Turks to see what Russia's President Vladimir Putin is trying to do with his current foreign policy, why the relations between Russia and Turkey have plunged into crisis, and with whom Russia is developing strategic ties. There are people in Turkey who are convinced that the recent violence in Turkey's southeast has something to do with the Russian crisis. It is of course not possible to know for sure if all these perceptions are justified, but these perceptions exist and most people understand Russia's message.
Similarly, it is no secret among Turks what Syrian President Bashar Assad is trying to do and why. Iran's position is also quite clear in the minds of Turkish people's. The majority of Turks consider Iran a partner, but an untrustworthy partner; and they are aware that Turkey and Iran have always been, if not perhaps enemies, at least, rivals. That's why Turks have no problem understanding what Iran is trying to achieve in the Middle East and with which instruments.
Among the world's major powers, one has to mention China as well; but for now Turks are not fully interested in what this country is doing. They are, however, very interested in the Western powers.
Research shows that Turks have a deep feeling of distrust towards Western nations, for several reasons. People don't trust Europeans because they believe Europe has always had an ambiguous attitude toward Turkey. They believe - even though Europe's official declarations are, from time to time, friendly - that their plans for Turkey aren't always made with good intentions, with a minority believing to be malicious.
Nevertheless, Turks have solid convictions about what the aims of the European powers are on a global level. In other words, thanks to Turkey's historical experience, Turks are aware of what France or Germany are doing in the Middle East and whom their allies are. The United Kingdom's policies are not well known in Turkey, however; not because Turks can't see them, but Britain is very good indeed at doing things without anybody noticing.
The United States is another matter. Despite a long partnership, Turks do not trust the U.S. First of all, they can't understand what the country's real foreign policy is. Turks have never understood whether or not Barack Obama is backing Turkey's Syria policy, whether or not it is supporting the Free Syrian Army, what its Kurdish policy is, or whether it want Turkey to have some influence over Iraq or not.
Moreover, Turks still cannot understand if the U.S. is indeed antagonizing Russia, or if there is some kind of deal between Washington and Moscow. They are not sure if the U.S. wants Assad to go, or if it thinks he can stay in power should he accepts certain compromises.
It is maybe a tactic on the Americans' part to have a policy that is difficult to understand, or maybe Turks don't understand what the Americans are trying to do in the Middle East, simply because the Americans, too, don't know exactly what they are doing.
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