A Revisionist Response to the News Status Quo Building Process!

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Turkish foreign policy is once again a topic of intense debate and has got the focus of the international agenda. Herein, the effectively coordinated “field-diplomacy” manifested in Iraq and Syria undoubtedly has a decisive role. Gains made in the field has strengthened Turkey’s “diplomatic-political” competency.

This achievement further suggests that Turkey will expand and deepen its military-intelligence power and operations. Operations carried out in Iraq subsequent to the events in Syria and military bases constructed in different parts of the world are clear indications of this. (For instance; the “disruptive role” of the Turkish military base in Qatar in the Saudi-Qatari crisis is an important indicator.)

Ankara, which has been pursuing a foreign policy based on soft power elements has realised that this policy is unsustainable. Turkey has experienced concrete examples of soft power not being supported by “hard power” factors and the impractically ensued. The developments occurring consecutive to the Arab Spring and the distancing of Turkey from its geography make good examples. Even the relocating of Suleiman Shah Tomb is enough!

Turkey was Compelled into a Revisionist Policy!

Expecting from Turkey to pursue status quo politics in a world were soft power is considered as a vulnerability is a pipe dream. Ankara, which until yesterday was in favour of the status quo in the region (for instance the Saddam Hussain case) has been forced to initiate revisionist policies.

This imposition did not occur due to policies enacted by the US alone. It includes states that the US provided comfort too. For this, it enough to look at those who preferred the status quo in the region while initiating revisionist practises, establishing covert spheres of influences and excluding Turkey under the pretext of cooperation.

Therefore, those who strained Turkey into a shift of policy have no right to criticise Ankara! The sole delinquency of Ankara is that it initiated this shift a bit late. In other words, Turkey has given a late answer to the process of building a new world order after September 11. Hence, it is the “Late Actor” of the “New World Order”.

Being a “Deterrent Force” …

The new international system is based upon the capacity and power of military-intelligence a state possesses. Those who fail to execute such power are categorised as a “target country”. Infirmity brings frailty and Turkey has bitterly experienced this situation.

Undoubtedly, in this new process “deterrence” is essential and this determent is not limited to national borders. Power understanding “limited” to borders is destined to fail and equivalent to not understanding the new scheme and its rules. A deterrent force has the capacity to be play breaker-playmaker.

Herein, Turkey’s attempt to develop its own weapon systems and R&D is quite remarkable. Turkey being able to produce its own UAV has led to a greater achievement in the field and its performance in combatting terrorism has once again transformed Ankara into a security-oriented powerhouse.

Weapon system proposals (such as the S-400s and Patriots) oriented towards Turkey’s quest as well as recommendations for cooperative alliances are due to Ankara’s attainment in combatting terrorism. In this context, from the Middle-East to Africa, from Central Asia to South Asia Turkey is perceived as secure actor to initiate cooperation with.

The Cost of Being A Game Breaker!

If Turkey was not to initiate a successful combat against terrorism in its close vicinity especially Iraq and Syria, it would have been a pawn to many projects such as Sykes-Picot and the Greater Middle-East Project (GMEP).

Therefore, revisionist policies initiated by Turkey in recent years is an outface against the status quo envisioned in the region and has made Ankara a target. This is the underlying reason for the growing open-covert operations against Turkey.

Until yesterday Turkey had made little to no commitment towards global and regional issues and has tried it best to preserve the current borders and balances. However, the shift in foreign policy has caused discontent which peaked on 15th of July.

It is now better understood that one of the main objectives of the July 15th failed coup attempt was to force Turkey to return to status quo politics. The other thing understood is that the die is cast and Godswill no one will be able to stop it.

Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin EROL
Born in 1969, Dörtyol-Hatay, Prof. Dr. Mehmet Seyfettin Erol graduated from Boğaziçi University (BU), Department of Political Science and International Relations in 1993. After completing his master's degree at BU in 1995, Erol was accepted to the PhD program at BU in the same year. After completing his PhD at Ankara University in 2005, Erol became an associate professor in the field of “International Relations” in 2009 and a professor in 2014. Erol worked at the Eurasian Center for Strategic Studies (ASAM) between 2000 and 2006 and and served as the General Coordinator of ASAM for a period. In 2009, he served as also Founding Chairman and Board Member of the Institute for Strategic Thinking (SDE). He is also the Founding President of the Center for International Strategy and Security Studies (USGAM) and the President of the International Relations Institute of the New Türkiye Strategic Research Center (YTSAM). Prof. Erol has also served as the Director of Gazi University Strategic Research Center (GAZISAM). In 2007, Prof. Erol received the “Turkish World Service Award” from the Writers and Artists Foundation of the Turkic World (TÜRKSAV), and has received numerous awards for his academic work and his activities in the media. Some of them can be listed as follows: 2013 “Print Media of the Year Award” by the Association of Contemporary Democrats, 2015 “APM 10th Year Service Award”, “2015 Press-Intellectual of the Year Award” by the Writers' Union of Türkiye (YTB), “2016 Volunteer Ambassadors Media Honor Award” by the Anatolian Village Guards and Martyrs' Families, “2016 Türkiye Honor Award” by the Yoruk Turkmen Federations. Prof. Erol has 15 book studies. The names of some of them are as follows: “The United States of Turks from Dream to Reality”, “Türkiye-EU Relations: Foreign Policy and Internal Structure Problems”, “The New Great Game in Eurasia”, “The Search for Strategy in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Search for Security in Turkish Foreign Policy”, “The Republic of Türkiye-Russian Federation Relations”, “The Cold Organization of Hot Peace: The New NATO”, “Theoretical Approaches in Foreign Policy Analysis: The Case of Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Crises and Crisis Management: Actors and Case Studies”, “Kazakhstan” and “Current Issues in International Relations”. Since 2002, Prof. Erol, who has carried out radio programs such as “Eurasia Agenda”, “Strategic Perspective”, “Global Perspective”, “Analysis”, “File”, “News Desk”, “The Other Side of the Agenda” on TRT Türkiye's voice and TRT Radio 1 (Ankara Radio), made the programs “Arayış” on TRT INT television between 2004-2007, “Beyond the Border” on Kanal A television between 2007-2010 and “Foreign Policy Agenda” on BBN TÜRK television in 2020-2021. Prof. Erol, whose foreign policy column “Arayış” was published in Milli Gazete between 2012-2018, is consulted for his expertise in numerous national and international media outlets such as television, radio, newspapers, news websites and magazines. Prof. Erol, who also taught at Gazi University Department of International Relations and Ankara University Latin American Studies Center (LAMER) between 2006-2018, has been continuing his academic career as a faculty member at Ankara Hacı Bayram Veli University Department of International Relations since 2018. Since 2006, Prof. Erol has also taught in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at Ufuk University. The main areas of interest and expertise of Prof. Erol and the titles of his courses at the undergraduate, master's and doctoral levels in this area are as follows: “Geopolitics”, “Security”, “Intelligence”, “Crisis Management”, “Current Issues in International Relations”, “Turkish Foreign Policy”, “Russian Foreign Policy”, “US Foreign Policy” and “Central Asia and South Asia”. Prof. Erol, whose articles-evaluations have been published in many journals and newspapers, has been editor of academic journals such as “Eurasia File”, “Strategic Analysis”, “Strategic Thinking”, “Gazi Regional Studies”, “The Journal of SSPS”, “Black Sea Studies”. He is currently in the editorial boards of “Regional Studies,” “International Crisis and Political Research,” “Gazi Academic View”, “Ege University Turkish World Surveys”, “Ankara International Social Sciences”, “Democracy Platform”. Prof. Erol, who has been working as the Founding President of the Ankara Center for Crisis and Political Studies (ANKASAM) since 2016, is married and has three children.