Approach shift; Ankara seeks creating new regional balance

Alwaght- The new moves of the regional diplomacy of Turkey raise the question that if a change has happened to the Turkish foreign policy approaches that these days Ankara is talking about diplomatic rapprochement with the Israeli regime, and at the same time the process for de-escalation of tensions with Russia has just kicked off by the Turkish officials.

Earlier, Ankara sped up efforts to boost ties with Saudi Arabia.

It appears that the past few years’ challenges that sent the Turkish regional foreign policy troubled in a way have made the government decline in its active diplomacy that years ago was introduced by Recent Tayyip Erdogan.

The post-2011 Arab world’s developments, either the Arab uprisings that brought down some regimes or the domestic insecurity and crisis that hit some Arab states, spurred the Turkish leaders to move to make Turkey play the role of a leading country in a crisis and chaos-hit region. But the Turkish officials’ ambitions in different parts of Arab world like Egypt or the neighboring Syria met with failure. To put it another way, the course of crisis developments in Syria did not go the way the Ankara leaders expected. The zero-tension policy with the neighbors that Ahmet Davutoglu described in his political theory turned into heated tensions.

In past few months, the Turkish-Russian tensions saw a rise over Syria. Shooting down the Russian SU-24 bomber over Syria by the Turkish air force’s fighter jets meant chilled relations between Ankara and Moscow— two countries that their trade volume as two significant economic partners touched $30 billion. In fact, emergence of confrontation between Russia and Turkey on Syria left no room for political restraint.

In other side of the chaotic Turkish foreign policy in West Asia the tensions with other neighbors witnessed an intensification. The heightened tensions left no mark of former Turkey that strove after taking an active regional role

It seems that a collection of these developments has brought forth strategic challenges for Turkey. In fact, Ankara officials didn’t survive the criticism of the opposition groups at home.

In such a situation, the Turkish foreign policy makers have found it proper to give their policy a shift and move to a new balance. As a result, the Turkish-Israeli diplomatic ties that were in a nearly 6-year freeze now are set for normalization after a deal signed between Ankara and Tel Aviv. Despite the fact that the Israelis have met the conditions of the Turks for re-establishment of diplomatic relations, they never acceded to the condition that demanded ending the 9-year-old blockade of Gaza Strip imposed by Tel Aviv. However, Ankara, pushed by a strategic view, started to move in the way of diplomatic rapprochement with Tel Aviv, as it earlier warmed up relations with Riyadh.

But all these are taking place while Turkey-Iran relations experienced a tense situation, and at the same time Ankara is not hiding its concerns over Tehran’s growing influence in the region. Additionally, rifts with Moscow are putting new strains on the Turkish foreign policy.

It seem that the new pathway of Ankara policy is taken with the aim of getting the country out of the regional straits. Actually, Turkey is seeking restoring its formerly played role in the region.

The general picture of the region is not what Turkey’s ruling party Justice and Development Party experienced during its second round of governing, and now Ankara has to come to terms and make compromises with the ups and downs of West Asia’s chaotic circumstances, although new attitude of Turkey leans to creation of new balance in the region, and so it is not difficult to have an understanding of its approach concerning bolstering ties with the Israeli regime and Saudi Arabia and also de-escalation with Russia.

Picking this pathway, Turkey is attempting to prepare for dealing with the possible crises coming from the Syrian conflict or the Kurdish challenges, especially that the internal conditions in Turkey underwent some tensions due to Erdogan’s policies, and the huge blasts in such large cities as Ankara, Diyar Bakr, and recently Istanbul are good evidences for Turkey’s tense domestic status.

By Alwaght