2018-07-02

Dynamics of the New Turkish Foreign Policy and Russian Dimension

by  Prof. Dr. M. Seyfettin Erol


In the post-Cold War period, the states have entered into two major struggles in search of the "New World Order". The first of these is about "survival" and the other is about being able to take place effectively in this new period, that is to be a power centre. In terms of some states, it turns out to be just a survival question, and while some of them are losing, others are looking for this regional or global power status. For example, in the US-led "unipolar" world, it is very important that Russia's "multipolarity" originate from some of its worries, and thus make its pioneering role.

Hence, here is " multipolarity ", in fact, the global survival struggle against the US on a global basis can be regarded as an antidote. So, states, as a response to the US hegemony, and hence with the common threat to their national security, respond with a "multipolarity" policy, and these tend to unite based on such collective stance. As a matter of fact, it is because of this reason that the idea of multipolarity is so popular. In this context, it will be clearer what I mean when we look carefully at the formation and development processes of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in the period from 1996 to 2001.


In the process of building a new world order yet unnamed, some states, notably Turkey, are in a very interesting position. To put it more concretely, these states, returning to their historical codes, co-present the two struggles simultaneously. In other words, these states are trying to be a regional-global power while waging a struggle for survival. 

No doubt, this issue is another important factor in the case of Russia. Because Russia has felt a second post-Soviet break up and therefore declared its policy of close neighbourhood with the concern of survival, today Russia has gone a long way in becoming a global power after this turmoil ...

Therefore, in terms of states which are in the process of returning to their historical codes, it is quite important to be able to follow a policy that is in line with the spirit of time, with its own facts, values and understanding of historical missions. As a matter of fact, those who have entered into the transformation process in accordance with this new process, that is, those who can reconstruct their state, are affected by this threat at least. Those who stay passive are losing ...

It is more than enough for you to look at the developments after the Cold War. At least today there is no such thing as Yugoslavia on earth. Moreover, with this example, states are facing the threat of "Yugoslavization". If we say that the regions, the "Balkanization" of geographies pass by " Yugoslavization ", we probably are not wrong. 


Thus, today's Greater Middle East Project, which is currently threatening Turkey, is in fact a project of " Yugoslavization ". Russia, like Yugoslavia, is a state in which this threatened individual lived simultaneously. The "response" and the "method", "rhetoric" and "tools" used by Brzezinski in response to this indirect threat to Russia are very important in this respect; especially in terms of two states with a common geography and past.

As a matter of fact, the new period of Turkish foreign policy is very much in the foreground especially with the size of Russia. The "normalization process", revised on June 27, 2016, entitled "Action Plan for Cooperation in Eurasia", dated November 16, 2001, sabotaged on November 24, 2015, has a very important place in it. The momentum of the Syrian / Middle East-based cooperation that took place in Turkish-Russian relations after June 27, and the extent to which it reaches strategic partnership, seriously disturbs the western world, especially US-NATO. Even more, Astana Process, S-400 and the process by showing the iconic trend now constitutes one of the major address of the nuclear threat to Turkey.

West's two other locations in the perception of a common threat that exists in the relationship between Turkey and Russia "alliance neighborhoods" to be directed to the course, equivalent to the USA's biggest nightmare. The US is aware that it will not be limited to the S-400s question. Therefore, different methods against Turkey were given a trial. President Donald Trump, for example, recently showed a carrot to Turkey, while Deputy Foreign Minister Wess Mitchell shows a "stick”. It is one of the last examples when Mitchell threatened by Washington's sanctions if Ankara fails to pass the S-400 air defence system agreement from Russia.

So, Russia has a very important place here. Of course, it is not only the weapon systems that Russia possesses so important. The experience of Russia after the Cold War is quite important. And it seems that this experience had a significant impact on Turkey of the case. Well, what kind of experience is that? And it really can be a model for Turkey? How does this affect the course of Turkish foreign policy, its position? Does it lead to an axis change or a new axis? The post-Cold War era was not only in the context of the collapse of the USSR empire, but also in many of the theories, concepts and institutions that were so popular until now. The fact that most of the ancestors, or replacements of the existing ones, have not been introduced, continues to show itself as an issue in itself.


This is also the reason why the building built on the bipolarity is collapsing along with the "identity problem" that is shaped around the "Who am I?" all over the world. Nations / states who can not give the answer to this question are either erased from the stage of history or are still in a survival struggle.

One of the states that sought answers to this question under the different models was, of course, the Russian Federation. This issue, which I have discussed in detail below, can be considered as a missing decade for Russians. But the same thing can not be said for the second decade. As a matter of fact, Russia is now a model in itself, trying to apply some of them to different quests in the face of the "defeat" and "identity" depression that it faces in the post-Cold War period. Today, "Russian model" as described in this case can, of course, also once again Turkey's "interest" in the field. This is not the first time.


"Strong Leadership" - "Strong System" - "Strong State"

As I underlined in my previous article, Russia, Turkey and other countries in terms of the issues of course that makes it so attractive is that not only have weapons systems. The answer given by Russia towards the threats it faces in the post-Cold War era and experience in this context is very important. In particular, the developments after President Vladimir Putin once again show how powerful a system and leadership are in terms of countries with a strong geopolitical-strategic position. So, first of all, a strong sense of leadership comes from the basis of "Russia Model". If it is not a strong leader, neither system can operate, nor can these countries be free from the threat of "Balkanization" or "Yugoslavization". The Yeltsin era is one of the best examples of this.


Putin's greatest success here is that he has made a good comparison of his country's strengths with weaknesses and developing a policy accordingly. Indeed, the fact that Russia, which does not have a serious competence and capacity with the West in the context of "soft power", is forced to shape the new international system through "crude power" and achieves to a great extent what it wants at this point, of course, as a great success of Putin.

One of the most important secrets underlying Putin's success is that it comes from the security bureaucracy in the international system, which is in a state of well-defined and security-driven restructuring. In this context, Putin's intelligence identity is a great chance for Russia. Because today, intelligence agencies called "phantom armies" are one step ahead of the armed forces. The doctrines that Putin publishes in his country are very important in this respect. As a matter of fact, these doctrines published in the Putin era have made "Russia's Near Environment Policy" more effective and meaningful. Furthermore, as I have already pointed out in my previous article, Russia is in search of a "Near-Earth Empire" with some states around Russia, and this has already come a long way.

"Russia / Putin Model"

As mentioned above, in the post-Cold War era, the Russian Federation, when faced with the threat of "Yugoslavia", began to search for an answer to this question and began to follow a policy that smelled pragmatism. Despite everything, Westernism, 2nd Panslavism, 3rd Asianism, 4th Eurasianism. In this configuration, no doubt, the following five issues provided a crucial advantage: 1. Historical experience and values, 2. Historical geography and depth, 3. Historical mission-vision conception, 4. Central-environmental integrity, 5. Strong understanding of the state and leadership. Putin in this context; The politics of Russia, which embodies the stance of "stability-consistency-continuity" in principle, taking into account the "politics-strategy-means" of Russia's realities, objectives and perceptions of threats, is the essence of the "Russian Model" or "Putin Model" creating.

On the other hand, it is important to draw the gold on the following point: the model, with Russia or Putin making an attractive / strong leader, covered primarily an issue for the medium-long term in its relations with other actors, including Turkey also carries with it. So, how this handicap will affect the future of Turkey-Russia relations? What is "Putin Model" applicable? If the application of this model anywhere in Turkey? In this context, what is the role of this model if US President Donald Trump will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and then Putin?

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