While the exact "when" of the world domination of Western colonial empires began is debatable, its presence in the world for the last two centuries is an undisputed fact. Almost half of the world was the colony of European states, especially England, by the end of the World War I. I suppose that except for Turkey and Afghanistan, which gained their independence after a short time following the end of the Ottoman Empire, we know that there is not even one square meter of independent Muslim territory. The Western colonial empires colonized some countries directly while controlling other countries indirectly. In Immanuel Wallerstein’s point of view: “Western colonization has never ended but continued in terms of finance, exploitation of mines, politics, military power and the drug monopoly." Following the end of the Cold War, the U.S. had a confused approach for a short time and declared itself to be the world's only ruler under the “ new world order” and occupied Afghanistan and Iraq.
The U.N. and similar international organizations became functionless. The U.S. took the opportunity to invade places in the interest of the U.S. There has been no stability in Afghanistan for 30 years due to this unlawfulness and this instability continues today. There was almost an early version of the concept of "branding" in colonial history as regards the ability of the English in terms of establishing an order in the countries they occupied. After the U.S. became the leader of the world, the systemic destruction was mentioned, however it was ironically the culture of establishing order that was actually destroyed. Iraq and Afghanistan are the best examples of this situation. The Syrian civil war has brought forward new power balances and a new geopolitical situation in our world. We can say that “the superpowers of the world are not as strong as they used to be.” Countries such as Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and Egypt are not so feeble. It can also be said that the Syrian civil war allowed Russia to regain its image and power, which had disappeared after the Cold War. European states, including Britain, who directed the world system 50 years ago, have weakened in world politics. The main actors in Middle Eastern politics are apparently the U.S., Russia, Turkey and Iran. A particular concept is frequently used by political scientists and famous historians: states that were empires in history have once again gained their same function - like Germany, Japan, Britain and China - except for Turkey. Turkey is the only state which has not gained its same function as an empire in history.
When the "New Turkey” idea emerged about 10 years ago there were very different reactions against this concept including criticism and accusations of Neo-Ottomanism. So, what did this New Turkey concept really mean? Most likely it denotes the fact that as in other states which were founded on empires, the Republic of Turkey has also achieved the power it has lost in World War I. In an article I had written 10 years ago, when discussing the issue of the New Turkey, I wrote: ''When the state and the army of the Turkish nation have the same goal, no one can stop the development of this nation," since there was military dominance and pressure until recently over Turkish politics; soldiers were determining the fate of the country. Military tutelage was eliminated as a result of long political struggles and the military coup attempt by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) was suppressed by the resistance of the people, and this movement became the most valuable popular movement of the people against a military coup in our last century. The Syrian civil war has many intertwined stories as well as deep strategic results. At first, Turkey fought against Daesh step by step despite the beginning of disputes which arose between Turkey and the United States as a result of the Obama administration’s incorrect and self-interested strategy. The Republic of Turkey was the first state directly fighting Daesh and defeating this terrorist organization on the ground. Secondly, Turkey defeated the PKK and the Democratic Union Party (PYD) by fighting them Afrin. Simultaneously, Turkey also beat FETÖ, another terrorist group. Operation Peace Spring, launched against the PKK terrorist organization, has seen false information about it circulating in the Western press and especially in the U.S. A campaign against Turkey launched a week ago and these fabricated lies were discussed in Europe and the United States. However, a lie never lives to be old and cheaters never prosper.
Turkey will continue to be stronger as a nation with its profound state tradition and each political test will only serve to increase this power.
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.