New commonwealth

Published 22.11.2014 01:02

Nowadays, Turkey is engrossed in intense diplomatic traffic in all subheadings of economics and politics. After returning from the G20 Summit in Australia, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu went to Iraq with Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled to visit Turkey in the upcoming days.

The timing of the pope's visit is very important as it coincides with that of Putin, who will come to Turkey along with a delegation of 10 ministers. It was impossible for the Vatican not to realize Turkey, which has boosted its influence in the capital and energy throughout a vast area spanning from Eastern Europe to the Caspian Region. Russia is also aware of the "reality" of Turkey, and Putin's visit will focus on negotiations on a number of important topics including energy, commercial transits and technology transfer. It appears that this critical visit of the Russian leader and the meetings he will hold will bring Russia's technology and capital to Turkey. If a concrete step is taken on these matters, all balances in the region - from the Middle East to Eastern Europe -will change quickly and dramatically, pushing us to talk about everything from the very beginning. Even though Turkey's approach toward Russia's Eurasian Union project is not much different from that of the West, the EU should rearrange its Customs Union Agreement in line with Turkey's opinion, open strategic negotiation chapters soon and give Turkey a new schedule for its membership process.

During my recent interview with Davutoğlu on TRT, he said that Turkey would not repeat the same mistake in any future trade agreements as it did in the Customs Union Agreement and would be involved in agreements in line with its own interests. Turkey will certainly bring the Customs Union Agreement to the table of the EU once again, indicating a new era in Turkey-EU relations. Turkey will not maintain the membership process under the stipulations imposed by Germany, a reality which the European Commission also needs to see. However, I do not think that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, whose candidacy was strongly supported by Germany, will see all this. As long as Juncker remains in office, the EU will not expand and the German-centric EU will continue, which means that the current economic crisis in the EU will gradually evolve into a political one. The first signs of this political crisis can be seen in the U.K.'s standpoint on the EU.

Shortly after the G20 Summit, U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron said that the eurozone is on the brink of recession and provided a more detailed justification for his argument than European Central Bank (ECB) President Mario Draghi. Cameron remarked that the eurozone falters in the face of high unemployment, declining growth and falling prices, coming face to face with the risk of a third recession, while setting the British economy apart from the European economy.

For me, one of Cameron's remarks which needs to be emphasized is his suggestion that the EU urgently sign more trade agreements and the European Commission should take steps on the matter. Cameron presented a new expansion perspective to the EU, saying that more trade agreements should be signed with Australia, China and India and more countries should be encouraged to benefit from free markets and trading. This perspective, which lies behind the reason why the U.K. objected to Juncker's presidency, reveals the key point of differentiation between the U.K. and Germany in their opinions of the EU's future course.

As Cameron said, it is blatantly obvious that the EU is really heading toward recession; however, the fact that Cameron, instead of Draghi, explains this reality reveals that the U.K. is severing ties with the German-centric EU. This is an important development which will determine the future trend of both the European and global economy.

Parallel to all this, Turkey's foreign policy toward its east and its view of the EU, as well as Davutoğlu's visit to Iraq, become even more crucial. Davutoğlu will have important talks both with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the central Iraqi government. As Davutoğlu said, joint meetings with the Iraqi ministerial cabinet will begin after a while. This is a more important step both economically and politically. Similar meetings were held also during the term of former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouru al-Maliki, but yielded no results due to Maliki's different agenda, and as such, Turkey's endeavors came to no avail. This time, however, the process is quite different. The central Iraqi government had to come to terms with the KRG regarding oil exports, since Turkey's political will and resolution on the matter was so strong that there was no other way for them. Turkey approaches the Iraq's issues in a constructive and supportive manner, encouraging development and enrichment of the region by evaluating regional resources. In this context, I also need to touch upon President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's visit to Africa. Over the past five years, China has been exporting a considerable amount of capital to Africa. Thus, Africa is slowly escaping the colonial grip of the West that has impoverished the continent. In this regard, Turkey's devotion to Africa matters much in this regard. Turkey's approach toward Eastern Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Caucasia is a new understanding of commonwealth, which is based on an overall vision of development, as the lexical meaning of the word commonwealth suggests. This commonwealth is quite different from the U.K.'s destructive understanding of commonwealth that it adopted throughout its colonial history.

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