Turexit?

Published 30.06.2016 00:34

Turkey has been normalizing its relations with two former allies with whom diplomatic relations had been strained for a while.

One of these countries is Israel. After Israel launched an operation on a Turkish aid flotilla and one of its vessels, the Mavi Marmara, which was transporting aid to Gaza, and killed some 10 Turkish citizens, Turkey minimized its diplomatic relations with Israel.

After ongoing tension for six years, a significant step to enable normalization was taken last week by the two countries. Israel apologized for the Mavi Marmara incident, accepted to pay compensation and decreased the intensity of the Gaza blockade, allowing Turkey to adopt a more moderate approach. In the following days, Ankara will appoint officers to the embassy in Tel Aviv, which has been out of action for six years.

The other country Turkey recently broke the ice with is Russia. In November 2015, Turkish jets downed a Russian jet violating Turkish airspace, after which Russian President Vladimir Putin cut ties with Turkey.

After the jet crisis, Moscow introduced a series of sanctions on Ankara including commercial embargos. But now, recent signals are much more moderate after a letter from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was sent to Putin.

After the jet crisis, Erdoğan said to France 24 that they might have issued a different warning had they known that the jet belonged to Russia. In this letter, Erdoğan expressed his thoughts and regrets on the jet issue to Putin more sincerely.

"We are deeply sorry for the downed Russian military jet. I would like to inform the family of the deceased Russian pilot that I share their pain and to offer my condolences to them. May they excuse us," the letter read.

Russia's first response to the letter was positive. The leaders of the two countries are likely to meet after a long time in the cold.

Now, everyone is discussing scenarios attempting to explain what motivations Turkey had for resolving its two major international issues, which had become chronic recently, in one day.

urkey's left-wing dissidents seemingly disapproved of the normalization of ties, although they formerly criticized the government for cold shouldering its neighbors. We must leave aside their baseless conspiracy theories, which are reflected even in European media.

Above all, Ankara's need to mend the trouble that the Russian embargoes brought to commerce and tourism is evident. However, this aspect of the issue is not a big deal for Turkey.

I surmise that Ankara thought about the big picture by considering long-term effects while taking those steps.

For instance, with the EU's current dilemmas caused by the Brexit and the fluctuations that the U.S. presidential elections will lead to, it is unknown what kind of outcomes we are about to face.

Turkey may want to have more alternatives in a possible atmosphere of uncertainty since Europe unfortunately does not provide any hope for Turkey anymore.

However, to what extent do you think the EU is aware of this psychological shrinkage while arguing that it has not given up its enlargement plan?

When the EU urges Britain to leave immediately and takes action to remove the English language from their internal correspondences, the situation is grave.

Germany's recognition of the Armenian genocide, various arbitrary criteria imposed on Turkey by EU institutions and some arrogant statements such as Turkey "cannot join the EU until the year 3000," demonstrate that the EU is trapped in sentimentalism.

Brussels must recover from shock and wake up as soon as possible. They must not push Turkey back into the periphery while Turkey "sterilizes" the EU's eastern border.

If the EU cannot realize the gravity of the situation and continues its arbitrary actions, they could lose a significant ally like Turkey to others in a future sooner than expected.

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