Diplomats in Ankara must analyze Turkey properly

Published 29.08.2017 02:00

On Aug. 26, 2017, all eyes in Turkey were on Malazgirt, a small district in the eastern province of Muş where leading statesmen, including President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, gathered to commemorate the historical Battle of Manzikert, which was fought between the Byzantine army and the Seljuks in 1071.

Turkey chose the key location of Malazgirt to issue some critical messages. It underlined that those involved in different calculations in the region and their proponents must bear in mind that they will be confronted by a resilient and strong Turkey.

One must properly evaluate the importance of the Manzikert victory to truly understand Turkey. This was the key battle that opened the gates of Anatolia to the Seljuks, which led to the gradual and nearly complete Turkification of the region. And now, almost a millennium later, those failing to properly analyze the new Turkey and its strategically key position will inevitably be the victim of their own blunder.

That day, Turkey firstly issued a message for Iraqi Kurds, with whom the country has so far developed and maintained warm relations. Turkey made it clear that Iraqi Kurds must avoid dividing Iraq and fall the victim to a faulty dream of independence.

Turkey also told them that it is against those who would not hesitate to shed more blood in the Middle East to pursue imperialist interests by manipulating Iraqi Kurds. Turkey has always shown sensitivity toward the territorial integrity of its neighbors Syria and Iraq. It has also been beside the people of these two countries against an oppressive regime and a group of incompetent statesmen who are at some countries' disposition. Recently, Ankara's stance on the Qatar crisis has shown how artificial crises triggered between Arab countries with an aim to dominate natural resources must be confronted. It has also strongly supported an end to the bloodshed in Yemen.

When the entire world refused to take any tangible step against Israel's oppression of Palestinians, Turkey was the only country to come up with practical steps aside from condemning it verbally. Not only did it call to protect Palestinians, it also voiced support for Jews who were targeted by the Israeli state.

People overlooking the fact that Turkish Airlines flies to every single African capital cannot understand the country's current role in Africa. The friendly relations between Turkey and African countries are developing every day since neither the Ottoman Empire nor the Republic of Turkey has ever approached the continent with an imperialist mindset.

The same goes for Latin America. Over the past years, Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu have visited Latin American countries more times than all European leaders combined. These visits must also be taken into account.

Just a few days ago, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım became the first Turkish prime minister to visit Vietnam. During the visit, the two countries agreed to cooperate in various fields.

However, I wonder whether some of my European friends, who seemingly assume that the world solely consists of Europe, could follow the same path to see how many buildings and bridges Turkey has restored in Eastern Europe over the past years.

Turkey is still curing the wounds of the Balkan War, a dark chapter in Europe's recent history. The country is demonstrating that it is a true friend of Balkan countries while some European countries continue to ignore the region even though it is in Europe's backyard. A quick conversation with Kosovars, Macedonians, Albanians or Serbians would confirm this.

In short, failing to evaluate and re-evaluate Turkey's relations with countries like the U.S., Russia, China, India, and Brazil might lead to mistakes for some. I could add more to this list, but I do not intend to facilitate the work of foreign affairs authorities in EU capitals. Likewise, it is also not my duty to facilitate the work of some of foreign embassies and missions in Ankara that seem content with false reports issued by marginal groups.

I would urge them, particularly the diplomats in Ankara, to pay proper attention to interpret, analyze and comprehend Turkey and its realities. The undercover European intelligence officers who collect information in Turkey have so far failed to do this, and they are mostly misinformed or have misled their capitals.

However, the artificial crises and false problems with Turkey, which was created through a misinterpretation of the country, do not serve anyone's interests. This has been the case since 1071, and will continue to be so. Drawing lessons from history and understanding Turkey's current position would be in everyone's favor.

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