A government change was realized in Turkey in a short span of time. Although it is still a government of the Justice and Development Party (the AK Party), each and every politician has their own way of practicing politics. Therefore, certain changes, albeit minor, should be expected in domestic politics, the economy, public and private investments and foreign policy.
The brightest period of Turkey's foreign policy occurred when Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was prime minister, Abdullah Gül was foreign minister, and Ahmet Davutoğlu was the chief adviser. These successful foreign policies continued when Gül became president and Erdoğan remained as prime minister. The most troublesome period of Turkish foreign policy in the last decades was the period when Davutoğlu's influence on foreign policy reached its peak.
That AK Party government achieved significant successes one after another in terms of economic, political and social development. Turkey's per capita income has risen from of $2,500 to $12,500. In the face of the successive economic crises shaking the global economy, Turkey remains more or less unscarred.
In the same period, the policy of "zero problems with the neighbors" of the Foreign Ministry, which especially crystallized in the Aegean and Cyprus problems, strengthened Turkey's position in its region of influence. Turkey's greatest asset has been its vigilant industry and trade through which it has emerged as the only country that has the capacity to trade with almost all the countries of the region.
Realizing construction services in Russia and Arabia, exporting numerous products to Iran, Iraq and Syria, exporting vegetables and fruits to Russia, diversifying its economic activities in Africa and exporting manufactured and semi-manufactured industrial products to the member states of the European Union increased Turkey's capacity for trade as well as its capacity for politics. Politics traditionally aims to open new trade routes while trade in turn brings forth political influence for a country. Four or five years ago, Turkey occupied a position in its regional politics where its neighboring countries cooperated with each other under Turkey's leadership, which inspired the region through Turkey's new dynamism.
Especially in the Middle East and North Africa, Turkey emerged under Erdoğan's leadership as a bright model for the region, a pleasant mixture of democracy, moderate Islam and stable economic development. As a shining star, Turkey not only envisioned a common market encompassing Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, but also arbitrated in the conflicts between Israel and Syria or Iran and the West.
Western states remained self-oriented in the face of the Arab Spring. Instead of supporting the rightful demands of large masses of people for a democratic future, Western states betrayed freedom and democracy by siding with dictators and their chaotic regimes. In this respect, they turned a blind eye to the Syrian peoples' demand for a better future with a democratic regime. Iran's concentration on the goal of decreasing its security risks, Russia enjoying its opportunity to penetrate into the Middle East and the combination of the cowardly timidity of the European Union and the barren irresoluteness of the United States all condemned the Syrian people to the viciousness of civil war.
Since the foundation of the AK Party, Erdoğan succeeded in transforming his party into a center party and carried out serious achievements in uncharted territories of Turkish politics. With the establishment of the new government, it seems that Erdoğan will apply his extraordinary problem-solving skills backed by deep political experience in the field of foreign affairs. I believe that serious maneuvers will be realized in Turkey's troublesome relations with Israel, Egypt, Russia, Iran and Syria. We hope that such a successful process management will spontaneously emancipate the United States from their noxious reliance on the PKK in Syria.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.