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Zaman - Common history, common destiny an d common future (With its “zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey's efforts...)

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  • Paul
    Zaman - (pro AKP muslim party) Aug 05, 2009 Common history, common destiny and common future With its “zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey s
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 18, 2009
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    Zaman -
    (pro AKP muslim party)
    Aug 05, 2009
    Common history, common destiny and common future

    With its “zero problems with neighbors” policy, Turkey's efforts inside
    the country and out are continuing at dazzling speed. I asked a Justice
    and Development Party (AK Party) executive the reason why the
    initiatives were introduced in such a rapid fashion with one following
    the next. The executive responded, “I connect it to the delay in
    overcoming the effects of the Cold War period.”


    Just 10 years ago, it was unimaginable for Syria and Turkey, which were
    on the brink of war, to set sail toward “unlimited” friendship. Iraq,
    which had become a nest of terrorism, was a country that was far from
    being a friend. It is for this reason that during the US-led invasion of
    Iraq, Turkey almost became a partner in crime. But by rejecting the
    March 1 motion, Parliament duly represented the national will. Now
    Turkey has reached a point where it is contemplating removing
    restrictions against Iraq. Signing protocols with Armenia and agreeing
    to open the border was previously unlikely to happen. But it has
    happened. The process began not with the language of cold diplomacy but
    with a warm conversation over sports. The establishment of a free trade
    zone with Iran is another item that is on the agenda. Bridges have
    already been built with Nakhchivan and Georgia, and relations have
    improved to the highest level. However, my same friend said, “There is
    more distance to be traveled en route to building friendships with

    The AK Party executive, who linked the success of these initiatives to
    the escape from “deep” structures left over from the Cold War, asked,
    “Could these steps have been taken if a structure that generated chaos
    to create an atmosphere fit for a coup continued its activities?” The
    executive noted that Turkish officials would return a visit paid by
    George Papandreou, who traveled to Turkey on his fifth day in office
    after being elected prime minister of Greece. The Greek leader had
    shared a peace-building award with İsmail Cem during his tenure as
    foreign minister. The senior AK Party official also said that with the
    closure of the crisis chapter with Bulgaria, relations between the two
    countries will be significantly improved. Foreign Minister Ahmet
    Davutuoğlu's emphasis on “a common history, a common fate and a common
    future” includes the message that Turkey will grow with its neighbors.

    A friend of mine who is a foreign policy expert said the slogan “A
    common history, a common fate and a common future” was crafted
    deliberately. “For example, it's no coincidence that there is no
    reference to a common culture. We share a common culture with neighbors
    with which we have a common history, but that kind of expression would
    have been limiting. As for the reference to a common fate, it
    encompasses everyone in the region. The emphasis on a common future
    expresses that it would be easier to build a high-quality future if it
    is done together. We can extend this partnership to our neighbors that
    have a coast on the Black Sea and the Mediterranean. We are evaluating
    every opportunity for peace and friendship, including soccer and
    provocations,” he added.

    Asked what he meant by provocations, my friend went on to explain: “In
    the first week of September 2007, Israeli jets used Turkish airspace to
    attack a military building in Syria. This attempt, which could have
    ruined relations with Turkey, had the complete opposite effect. The two
    countries did not fall into that trap.” Speaking of Israel, I asked,
    “Why was the problem with Israel deepened when ‘zero problems with
    neighbors' initiatives were being launched one after the other?”

    He said the exclusion of Israel from the Anatolian Eagle military drill
    was a step toward solving the problem. Noting that they wanted to help
    Israel face the Gaza massacre it carried out at the start of the year,
    my friend said: “You are going to kill innocent people and then act like
    nothing happened. Is there a more diplomatic way that could have been
    used to explain that that era has now passed?”

    Agreement with IMF to accelerate early elections

    Will the immense hope and expectation created by the initiatives lead to
    early elections? The initiatives, which first came as a response to the
    Kurdish problem, then turned into a democratic initiative and then
    became a “national unity” project, have evolved into a “process that
    will solve all of Turkey chronic problems.”

    Developments related to the political, social, economic and diplomatic
    aspects of the process are increasing hopes and expectations. Discussion
    of a meeting between Recep Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan and Republican
    People's Party (CHP) leader Deniz Baykal, which began with an exchange
    of letters and then turned into a debate over including cameras in the
    meeting, has added color to the process. A former deputy whose
    observations and analyses I value said: “The prime minister is running
    out the clock, and his luck is helping him out. The opposition is
    unknowingly supporting him. Everything is working out as he planned.
    This is going to lead to early elections.” “If an agreement with the
    [International Monetary Fund] IMF is reached, then you can be sure early
    elections will be held,” he added.

    Asked what the IMF's demands will be, he said: “They will agree upon one
    part. Parts that concern the government's election investment will be
    addressed first. For example, the law on increasing pension payments
    will come out first. The government has already started taking steps
    related to the restrictions the IMF will introduce. Reaching an
    agreement will provide major relief, albeit temporarily. Opposition
    economic pundits concede that ensuring relief will enable the government
    to win another election.”

    “Ayrılık,” a television drama from Turkish state-owned station TRT,
    which narrates the tragedy in Gaza, has increased tension between Israel
    and Turkey, with Israel summoning Turkey's acting ambassador to protest
    the series.

    Israel shot itself in the foot by making Ayrılık popular

    Many people heard the name of the TV series “Ayrılık,” aired by the
    state-run Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT), after a
    diplomatic row erupted over it. If Israeli officials, including Foreign
    Minister Avigdor Liberman, had not said the series was harming
    Turkish-Israeli ties, many people would not have paid any attention to it.

    Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, who is also responsible for TRT,
    tried to defuse the tension. “The Turkish government has no intention of
    severing ties with Israel,” he said, adding that the show does not
    contain any anti-Semitic material. He stated that anti-Semitism is a
    crime against humanity, which Turkey rejects. On the other hand, he
    could not help but be pleased that the recent discussions about the
    series have increased its popularity and TRT's ratings.

    Well, maybe Israel tried to make gains over the series, but it has shot
    itself in the foot by making the series popular.

    19 October 2009, Monday
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