The simultaneous visits of Pope Francis and Russian President Vladimir Putin to Turkey are just as significant as U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel's resignation from office upon President Obama's request, which came after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Turkey. This is important as it means that the U.S. will re-determine its foreign and defense policies, which are inextricably intertwined with one another. At this point, there are basically two different paths for the U.S. to follow: The first one is occupying and dominating strategic frozen conflict areas, especially in the Middle East, a strategy which was strongly adopted by former President George W. Bush. The second one is further improving relations with axis powers such as Turkey and leaving the region's matter of security to them. The U.S. could achieve neither of these during Hagel's incumbency, in other words, it could not dominate hot and frozen conflict zones in the Middle East through direct occupation. Moreover, it did not want to give initiative to the axis powers in the region, which led to the emergence of a chaos that directly threatened the security of the U.S. and the West.
It goes without saying that the danger that the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) poses for the U.S., Europe and the whole system is greater than that posed by al-Qaida when it carried out the 9/11 attack. What inflicted this calamity on the whole world was the U.S.'s nonplussed foreign and defense policies. Apart from this, the U.S., which has lost control in the Middle East and Caucasia, is on the brink of losing economic initiative to Russia. China's continuously growing capital exports to Africa does not only undermine the U.S.'s influence and control on the continent, it also leads to the emergence of a new bourgeoisie, which is aware of what the West has so far done to the continent and wants to transact business with developing Asian countries and Turkey instead of the West. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent visit to Africa also put this stark truth in front of us. I think not only the U.S and the U.K., but also the entirety of the Western world, are face to face with such a preference: Either they will acknowledge the regional and gradually globalizing initiatives of axis powers, which get close to the West with strong political will and developing economies - in turn they will answer positively to these countries' demands for more democracy and welfare - or, they will return to their bloody habits of the 20th century, including the actions of administrations such as George W. Bush and his father George H. W. Bush.
Even if Obama is succeeded by a Republican president in 2016, I do not think that the U.S. can readopt this bloody path. Then, the U.S, as the U.K. does, should support Turkey's membership to the EU more than ever. The German-centric EU cannot continue as an imposed union of nation-states in continental Europe. In order to become a union in the full sense of the word, the EU should expand toward its east and offer membership to countries like Turkey in a framework that pays regard to their interests too. This, apart from being the only way of overcoming crisis for the EU, means controlling all hot conflict zones in the Middle East and Caucasia and transforming frozen conflict areas into centers of peace. Moreover, the economic and political recovery of Eastern Europe and its economic integration with Turkey is the only alternative to Russia's Eurasian Union project. This is why Putin's visit to Turkey along with a delegation of 10 ministers and with an investment-trading package of around $100 billion matters so much. No one should doubt that Turkey will not respond to Russia's rational offers to itself and to the region under the influence of the West as before. It will come to terms with Russia in line with its own interests as it does with the EU. Therefore, the situation we are in is quite different from the Cold War period that occurred between 1945 and 1989. In order to avoid that this period would not turn into a new cold war period the U.S. should give up its policies that would return it to its foreign policies of the 20th century. The same applies to Iran's integration process with the West. Iran no longer has the chance to go back to the past. However, the U.S.'s military industrial complex and its nasty financial oligarchy want Iran to remain as a self-enclosed dictatorship and become an element of tension in the Middle East. Especially since 2010, Turkey has been working hard to integrate Iran with the West. Following the recent nuclear talks held in Vienna, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that talks would continue until reaching a final agreement and that they have made considerable progress to this end.
With respect to all this, Iran's full integration with the system, Turkey's membership to the EU and its development of the Southern Energy Corridor independently, the New Silk Road and energy agreements made between Turkey and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) are very important. The West should open the way for the East for its own salvation. This undoubtedly marks a new era.