“Turkish Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty”

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“Turkish Foreign Policy in an Age of Uncertainty”

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim KALIN was a guest of todays’ webinar where
Turkey’s strategic position against the European Union(EU) and its’ relationship as an entity
with each one of the European countries like Greece and France, or the Greek Cypriot
Administration of Southern Cyprus was discussed. As we know, Turkey plays and has a crucial
role within the international system due to its’ geopolitical location, economic capacity along
with its immense military power. Along with Turkey, Greece is also one of the main key actors
in this regional framework giving an additional importance to our bi-relations and multi-lateral
relations which should not be neglected or ignored by our decision-makers. In addition, like
Mr. KALIN highlighted very correctly; Turkey has a great traditionally rooted cultural
background which carries some similar characteristics in common with the Greece. Both
countries have a similar culture shaped by the historical events mainly caused by the Byzantine
Empire and the Ottoman Empire both ruling on the same soil since they shared borders, islands
and parcels over the years. However, these common shares resulted with certain disputes to
occur which as a result lead to sanctions.

Turkey has been working for decades to become a full member of the European Union
to achieve certain economic and strategic advantages. Despite the fact that the official
negotiations started in 2005, the EU countries did not approve and vote for Turkey to reach a
conclusion in its efforts to become a member of this union. Primarily because of Germany,
Austria and Belgium which are considered to be the locomotive countries within the EU,
Turkey’s EU membership process developed and proceeded inefficiently nearly coming to a
breaking stage. Furthermore, due to the impact of events in history, Greece has slowed this
process as much as possible by provoking the EU against Turkey and following certain policies.
Today, one of the new reasons contributing to the conflict woven historical relationship between
Turkey and Greece was caused by the treaty called “Exclusive Economic Zone Agreement”
which was declared between Turkey and Libya. As a result; every time Turkey sends an oil rig
to find oil in the Exclusive Economic Zone; Greece in return immediately informs the EU to
enforce certain sanctions against Turkey. The official response to this comes immediately from
the Presidential Spokesman Mr. KALIN who officially gives an answer like “we do not accept
any sanctions and inducement of EU by Greece.”

However; including the locomotive countries mentioned above the majority of the
European Union countries with no exception always produce excuses with the final aim of
preventing Turkey from becoming a full member of the club and putting certain barriers on the
road to leading to the full membership in the EU. A good example to this would be “the Customs
Union Agreement”. Turkey with the expectation of getting and enjoying the privileges granted
by the Schengen Visa as a result of the “Schengen Agreement” signed in the city of Schengen,
ended up with “the Customs Union Agreement”. This agreement had an end effect on behalf of
the EU enabling the EU to improve its’ wealth and capacity of trade. As we can see the EU
mostly broke the promises it gave to slow down the process. The bottom line is; like Helmut
SCHMIDT who once formulated in his memoirs; The EU officially does not want to enlarge
its borders towards the middle east region and become neighbors with especially Iran, Iraq and
Syria. Becoming a full member especially meant that the EU would have to take the full
responsibility of the security of the borders of Turkey as well as economically and socially. We
can see that very clearly from the events which take place every day for the past few years.

This article written by Yaşar Bora Togo

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