Is Turkey Next?
The importance of Turkey in international affairs is undeniable fact. From Truman doctrine to war on terror, Turkey has been centre of strategic policies for the west in particular and the whole world in general. There is no doubt that Turkey has played a significant role in Iraq invasion despite Turkish people reservations and low resolution vote count in the parliament. There is a great contribution of Turkish troops in Afghanistan and beyond. However, it is time for Turkey to mend their state of affairs with United States due to increasing influence of Israel on US and ever-changing dynamics of the international affairs which can create challenges for Mr Erdogan and Turkey. It can be witnessed in last year protests and US backing of certain organizations which are creating anti-government propaganda and maligning the current structures of the government by blackmailing. Is it plan of a new wave of civil disobedience followed by Arab spring? Is it an old trick of the US trade that either you will change according to our requirements or we will change you?
Last year protests of Gezi Park proves that patience and acceptability is becoming less in today’s Turkish society due to the obvious divide between the secular, religious and liberals. Although, this divide is the real beauty of any healthy society for generating debates and constructive criticism to development. However, when the divide is feeling oppressed and unjustified then it is extremely dangerous and toxic because it creates fury and rebellions. At this moment, both sides feel being victims by each other. Liberals openly criticize the Islamic friendly policies which have been introduced by the government. Unfortunately, liberals do not understand the discrimination they are supporting against a large group of people of a majority Muslim country. On the other hand, it is understandably difficult for religion practicing people to progress in the society where there abilities and development will be judged by their religious beliefs. After years of discrimination, Muslim people in Turkey have resentment against liberals. Historically, it has been witnessed that confusion and subjective divide in the society was created to break a nation. What we saw in recent events of Arab spring was an anger of the masses against a ruling unjust regime which was mobilized to create a massive wave of change. However, the purpose of the wave is still questionable and grey. In case of Turkey, it is the anger of one group people against another group of ideology. This balloon is bubbling for years and can burst in the worst ever scenarios a modern history has witnessed which will be disastrous and should never happen at the gates of Muslim world.
Mr Erdogan might have understood that today’s Turkey is post-cold war Turkey with no immediate threat of the soviets and not post World War II Turkey. He has shown sign of that in various incidents recently by not accepting direct interference from US whether it is an Armenian issue, US accusation of restricted freedom of speech in Turkey or last year protests. It is seen that Mr Erdogan have slowly but surely has balanced Turkish position on international platform by neutralising the previous regional bloc positions. For example, Turkish cautious response on recent Crimean crises shows that Russian threat perceptions are lower than in the history as Turkey nearly imports 60% of its energy from Russia and their bilateral trade is estimated to be around $40 Billion Annually. Similarly, Turkey is mending and developing their relations with Iran despite US pressures. Turkish and Iranian bilateral trade was estimated $13.5 Billion in 2013 of which half of it is importing oil and gas from Iran. Surely, it is in Turkish interest to enhance these ties for strengthening their economy. Mr Erdogan’s decision making ability and staunch leadership on this impregnable issue is commendable.Finally, it is important for Mr Erdogan and his government to identify those elements who are destabilizing the country and deal with them just like he did with the civilian supremacy decisions in the past. Mr Erdogan needs to bring all sections of community on one common platform and that is “ONE NATION”.