BY İBRAHIM KARATAŞ
MAR 02, 2023 – daily sabah
Turkish flags decorate a street outside the United States Embassy in Ankara, Türkiye, April 25, 2021. (AP Photo)
The West is making use of all available opportunities to impose sanctions on Türkiye and bring the country in line with their policies
The realist theory of international relations asserts that international order is anarchical, meaning that each state’s sole goal is to ensure security against foreign threats so it can survive. Particularly small states and middle powers are in danger in anarchical circumstances. As a solution, they bandwagon with greater/superpowers so that they can be safe against enemies. Superpowers feel less threatened but must maximize their power as foes are continuously seeking to advance their hard power. Therefore, including superpowers, states form military alliances to protect themselves.
Türkiye as a middle power did what all other states did and joined regional and international alliances, e.g. NATO. However, after the country became a bit stronger, it naturally asked for more space to maneuver. Besides, it did not tolerate wrongdoings targeting itself, in particular, the support of terrorist organizations targeting Türkiye by Western allies. It felt estranged and eventually decided to have an independent foreign policy.
Therefore, instead of being under the protection of the NATO alliance, it followed a free policy since the alliance itself was damaging its security. Realism will hardly explain what Türkiye is doing. While states join their powers to secure themselves, Türkiye acts separately for its security. Yet, a maverick foreign policy always comes with a price and Türkiye is forced to pay it nowadays. Remember what dangers Qatar countered after it split from Saudi Arabia? Since then, the small country has been under continuous pressure, not to mention coup attempts, blockades and invasion plans by neighbors.
A haven for terrorists
Türkiye’s position is not different from Qatar and generally all other countries with assertive foreign policies. Currently, all terrorist organizations attacking Türkiye, except Daesh, are sheltered by the United States and European countries. When the Turkish government felt the terrorist threat in northern Syria, it expected NATO members to offer support but Americans, the French and others were busy shipping free weapons to the YPG, PKK terrorist group’s Syrian offshoot. In addition, the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), another terrorist organization that attempted a failed coup on July 15, 2016, is under the protection of Washington, too. Many PKK and FETÖ members live safely in the U.S. and European countries, including Sweden and Finland.
Türkiye has no problem with the two Nordic countries but can not tolerate terrorist attacks from there. Just looking at the crimes of those on Türkiye’s most-wanted list will prove how Turkish officials are right in their arguments. For instance, the Turkish army’s secret documents were spread via the internet by a FETO member living in Sweden. The Turkish army will presumably be the Swedish army’s ally in NATO but, as can be seen, it can not protect its future ally even on its soil. What is more, burning the Holy Quran is an act of enmity. How can these two countries be allies then?
An unbiased person can quickly grasp that Türkiye is right in its policy against Sweden. Türkiye has done nothing wrong against Sweden. Yet, Sweden dares to punish the Turks by enraging them with the Quran incident. No Muslim in Türkiye would attempt to burn the Bible since respect for holy books is a must in Islam. Sweden saw the vile action as freedom of expression but we know that it did not allow the Torah to be burnt. It was correct but why not the same stance for the Quran? It seems that Sweden, either acting on its own or with pressure from Western countries, is trying to punish Türkiye. And this punitive attitude is not only related to NATO membership but also to Türkiye’s other policies as well.
West acts blindly
Developments point to the fact that the Nordic state seems to be getting tips from other countries, most probably from some U.S.-based centers (maybe the U.S. government). The U.S. administration does not want its hegemony questioned and it thinks that Türkiye’s actions challenge its hegemony. Therefore, it uses all opportunities to punish Türkiye. Particularly, congresspeople harboring good relations with anti-Türkiye lobby groups are decisive in Turkish-American ties.
They act blindly and blame Türkiye, ignoring their own mistakes. We can understand this by reviewing the sales of jets to Türkiye. At first, they banned the F-35 sale to Türkiye due to the purchase of S-400 missiles from Russia. Yet, they ignored their decision to not sell the Patriots. The F-35 sale was halted because of various irrelevant reasons such as the detainment of Pastor Brunson, a Christian pastor from North Carolina who had lived in Türkiye for more than two decades, Türkiye’s ongoing Syria operations, the Karabakh War, the Libya crisis, relations with Greece and Israel, human rights abuses and so on. Nowadays, Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership are used as pawns in the sale of F-16s.
Hence, the problem is obviously not the acquisition of S-400 missiles. It is all about independent Turkish policy, clashing interests, lobby-payrolled politicians, etc. Since the arrogance of the U.S. and Europe blocks their wisdom, they punish Türkiye with their malicious feelings. This is a loss-loss game. It seems they won’t understand their errors until they are faced with a crisis that will unveil Türkiye’s importance.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Holder of a Ph.D. in International Relations
Categories: America, American History, Americas, Eurasia, Europe, Europe and Australia, European Union, Qatar, Sweden, Turkey, Turks, United States, USA
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