Recently, Turkey made some moves about Syria and Libya. Turkey seems to maintain a strong stance about the Eastern Mediterranean issue as well. However, we somehow can’t manage to shape a balanced foreign policy towards China.
China’s progress in building technological capacity is enviable, indeed. Turkey, on the other hand, sadly can’t keep up with the latest 5G technologies and digital transformation. Our National Broadband Strategy still remains unclear.
A Chinese freight train traveling the China Railway Express from China to Europe reached Turkey in November 201, crossing into Europe using Marmaray subsea tunnel. As you may well know, Turkey is running a large trade deficit with China. Following heavy criticism of those who felt proud about this freight train reaching Ankara, it was decided to send a container to China by rail as a symbolic gesture.
Apparently, government engaged in a deal without exactly identifying risks and threats to Turkish economy while, sadly, providing support to projects designed to boost Chinese economy. Turkey still doesn’t have a proper railway network to meet the needs of Turkish industrialists, yet, some people are proud of a freight train crossing into Europe for some reason.
Just like the fact that we sold 51% of the Bridge to the Chinese with intent to build Kanal İstanbul. As a matter of fact, the total value of all of the most traded stocks and assets of Turkish firms and the government is equal to the market cap of some US and Chinese companies. We were once boasting, “Turkish economy grows even faster than Chinese economy!” and now look where we are. As the saying goes, “How the mighty have fallen”.
“Turkey’s Libya policy works well so far…”
You keep asking me what Turkey is doing in the Eastern Mediterranean. Well, there’s a lot to do in the Eastern Mediterranean. It is a part of our homeland and we have every right to be there. It is Turkish government’s duty to protect the rights of our people upon those seas. Therefore, it would be better for all of us to take a wider perspective when considering the situation.
It appears like increasing defence and trade ties between Turkey and Libya will eventually bring a major paradigm shift. The United States and Europe don’t seem very happy about the future cooperation between the two countries. Slowly but surely, the U.S. is pushing the Russian forces to withdraw from the region. The reason why Russia is still occupying territory in Ukraine is because its presence and influence in Syria is gradually being weakened. When Russia can’t find any empty territory to occupy in the Middle East, it then decides to invade a Ukrainian territory which is located on the far end of the Greater Middle East project.
Turkey’s position in the region is of critical importance. Russia is unhappy about the fact that Turkey can operate freely in the Middle East as long as it stays away from the territories that the U.S. demand from Syria. Such high level of liberty granted to Turkey is actually some sort of American gesture, in terms of correcting their mistake.
I won’t hesitate to tell it myself since the U.S. has already admitted to it: Following its miscalculation that avoiding fight with ISIS would bring Syrian Regime and the U.S. closer, the U.S. administration is now trying to intimidate the Russian by helping Turkey increase its presence in the region. But, surely, the U.S. wasn’t expecting Turkish and Russian troops to jointly patrol a Syrian region.
In the midst of all this chaos, both Russia and the United States seem to be upset by the fact that Turkey moves closer to support for Libya. Fortunately, Turkey has been managing the situation pretty well so far. As a matter of fact, we have a caused a new paradigm shift in the Eastern Mediterranean where we went to drill for gas. We handle both the United States and Russia, quite successfully so far.
In the meantime, government fails to take the necessary steps in terms of public diplomacy to justify our actions and to convince the concerned parties. As lobbyists keep working as hard as they can in the United States, Russia and in the EU; Turkey should not overlook China which has been increasing its presence in Africa. We better not steered by the Chinese while trying to gain more diplomatic power.
I am aware of the fact that government has no money but you can’t change keep changing policy depending on who the fund provider is. If you keep doing that, you will end up dazed and confused.