Pages Navigation Menu

The Center for the Study of Islam Democracy

A Neo-Ottomanism?

A Neo-Ottomanism

The Majalla: Would you agree that Turkish foreign policy has radically changed in the past five years or so?

Ibrahim Kalin 2I believe there is as much continuity as there is change.  Take Israel for example. People think Turkey has turned its back on Israel because AK Party is an “Islamist party” with a hidden agenda.  That is not true.

Read More

Turkey was the first Muslim country to recognise Israel in 1948, but it was also among the first to pull out its ambassador when Jewish extremists set fire to the Al-Aqsa mosque in 1968.  When the Jenin incident happened in 2002, it was the late Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit, a secular politician, who called it a genocide, not the AK Party.  Until 2008, this government was facilitating Israeli-Syrian negotiations.  The Israelis trusted us.  The Syrians trusted us.  And we trusted them.  The Gaza campaign broke that trust.  Relations go up and down.

The nature of debates in Turkey, the West and the world are changing.  Turkey is no longer a stagnant country living in the shadow of super powers in a Cold War world.  History no longer flows from west to east.  There is no longer a convincing western axis.  The question is whether Europe has the strategic vision to project itself into the new world.  Will it transform itself from a continental power to a soft power effective over a wider region?  Or will it remain imprisoned in technical debates about EU legislation, its geopolitical vision extending no further than the Bulgarian-Turkish border?  Those who interpret change as a threat will be discarded by history.  That is why Turkey, independent of the Europeans’ state of mind, must follow through its own reforms with determination.  If we know what we are doing at a time when Europe and America are feeling muddled, whose fault is that?

Receive exclusive policy, publication, and event updates in your inbox

Thank you. You have successfully subscribed.