President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's recent visit to Eastern Europe, covering Slovenia, Slovakia and Romania, and this week's visit to Iran, are significant for the emergence of a new diplomacy. European, Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries, which have different cultures, religions and traditions, acknowledge that Turkey's regional and increasingly globalizing initiatives are important and necessary. Erdoğan does not use an ordinary and futile diplomatic discourse, but rather, he directly expresses his desires and objectives. Undoubtedly, this is a new and organic leadership and a new diplomacy that goes beyond artificial and slippery realpolitik. This is not something that is sought and desired only by Turkey, but also by everybody in the new world order. At this juncture of the global crisis, the world needs a new politics of self-confidence that simply and directly tells the truth, and that figures out the new dynamics and sociology of the global economy. I believe that Erdoğan is doing this, and to the extent that he achieves it, he gains recognition and respect across the world. This week's visit to Iran is an embodiment of this fact. The majority of people asserted that this visit would not take place because of the Yemen crisis and, even if it was realized, it would take place in a tense atmosphere and would prove inconclusive. But none of these assertions have come true, and the visit yielded positive results and messages that tell us about the future of the region.Among a number of topics that need to be addressed, what stands out is both Erdoğan's and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's emphasis on the suggestion that the two countries should carry out trade using their own currencies. Before anything else, this suggestion should not be perceived as an idea that will soon be put into effect like all other economic decisions, since it is quite a visionary initial step that describes the future. This applies to energy as well. The possibility that Iran might join the Southern Gas Corridor, a joint venture between Turkey and Azerbaijan, might have been considered a vain hope just two years ago, but now it is on the agenda as an important step toward integration. Iran has become interested in the Trans-Anatolian Gas Pipeline (TANAP) project that will carry Azeri gas to Europe through Turkey. Rovnag Abdullayev, the chairman of the Azeri energy giant SOCAR, which is the principal stakeholder in the project, said that Iran has begun monitoring the TANAP project closely. Speaking to the Azeri press, Abdullayev said that Iran wants to purchase a share of TANAP. The project will become very different, he said, adding that they intend to sell shares if they receive a proper offer. Underlining that Iran will need this project more than before due to embargoes, Abdullayev said Tehran will produce more natural gas and it has no other alternatives but TANAP to carry it to Europe. Abdullayev is completely correct in his statement, since Iran has no other alternatives to Turkey through which to carry its gas to Europe. Turkey already purchases 95 percent of Iran's natural gas.
So, in such a case, Turkey's and Iran's desire to carry out trade with their own local currencies should not be considered a vain hope. Apart from a trade relationship, this development is the harbinger of a significant global change. If you think that the U.S.-led Bretton-Woods monetary system, which was established after World War II, will exist as long as humanity does, you cannot understand the idea that countries like Turkey and Iran can carry out trade with their own currency. During a seminar he delivered at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in 2001, a time which coincided with the emergence of the Euro as a new currency, Nobel laureate economist Robert Mundell asked where the global monetary system was going and proposed a new currency which would be under the IMF's supervision. This reserve currency would be fully convertible into the currencies that represented three basic developed regions. In other words, it would be convertible into the U.S Dollar, Japanese Yen and the Euro. Mundell suggested that the new currency, no matter how strong it would be, would be an international one far from being based on a nation-state, and it would have economic rather than political power. The main emphasis of Mundell's suggestion applies better to the present time. I think that the process of establishing a world central bank, which was underlined by British economist John Maynard Keynes at the Bretton Woods Conference, will continue based on Asia from now on. Turkey should do in Eurasia what South Korea did in Asia so that this can be actualized.
Turkey and Iran can commence trade with their national currencies soon, even to a limited extent, and this can be done via the Turkish Lira. There are many solutions to this apart from current system and methods. To make it permanent and institutionalized, clearing unions covering strong economies such as Russia, apart from Turkey and Iran are needed, and this is possible in theory and practice in the near future. We are likely to be discussing the current global monetary system in the upcoming months, since Asian countries, including China, have not yet put their cards on the table.