Strong diplomacy, strong status: Turkey in the region

After the end of the Cold War, the United States declared itself the sheriff of global politics. The new world order of American neo-cons amounted to the sole hegemony of the U.S. around the world.

Devastating the established international order, this unipolar international system nullified the status of international law and organizations, particularly the United Nations.

During the first two decades of the post-Cold War period, the U.S.’s unlawful occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq concluded, providing lasting political instability in the Middle East.

However, the eruption of the Syrian civil war soon proved that the unipolar international order was simply not working. Losing their role as a playmaker, the U.S. administration injected itself into the Syrian crisis as one of the parties of the regional conflict by using two terrorist organizations, Daesh and the PKK, as proxies.

During the Syrian crisis, all players revised their regional alliances. Re-emerging as a strong rival to the U.S. in the Eastern Mediterranean, the Black Sea and the Baltic regions, Russia exploited the U.S.’ weaknesses in Syria by forming a strong alliance with Iran.

In line with independence

After realizing that its alliance with the U.S. did not work in Syria due to the political hesitancy and frailty of the Obama administration, Turkey began to adopt an independent foreign policy.

As opposed to Ukraine or Greece, Turkey pursued a multilateral and multidimensional foreign policy thanks to its immense capacity for being a regional power.

At the same time, the Turkish government initiated a peace process for the resolution of Turkey’s Kurdish question. The resolution process aimed at expelling the PKK from Turkey and establishing lasting peace in the country.

Even though Turkey succeeded in conducting crucial reforms regarding the resolution of the Kurdish question, the peace process was sabotaged by certain global powers and the PKK began to conduct a series of terrorist attacks in Turkey, murdering hundreds of civilians.

War on every terror

While struggling against the PKK, Turkey was targeted by Daesh and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) as well. After Daesh conducted terrorist attacks in the country, Turkey managed to deal devastating blows to Daesh in Syria, becoming the first country that utterly defeated the global terrorist organization.

Masterminded by its so-called leader who lives in the U.S., FETÖ attempted to stage a full-fledged coup d’état in 2016. Thanks to the resistance of the people, the coup attempt failed and the government initiated a legal struggle to purge the terrorist organization from the state structure.

Today, FETÖ has lost almost all its capacity to stage military or bureaucratic operations in the country.

Regarding the PKK, Turkey not only dealt a devastating blow to the terrorist organization in the country but has also conducted a series of successful military operations against the PKK first in Syria and now in Iraq.

After the threat posed by these terrorist organizations was eliminated to a great extent, Turkey began to engage in regional politics.

Thanks to the military operations conducted in Syria against Deash and the PKK, Turkey has become one of the strongest parties involved in the Syrian crisis.

In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey made an alliance with the legitimate government in Libya, preventing Greece from establishing a single-sided exclusive economic zone.

Thanks to Turkey’s strong support, the U.N.-backed legitimate government in Libya has taken the upper hand in the country. Today, Libya is getting rid of all terrorist organizations and gradually becoming a more stable country.

In the Eastern Mediterranean, Turkey has emerged as a regional power thanks to not only its strong navy but also its rooted diplomatic capabilities.

During the Nagorno-Karabakh war, Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan significantly contributed to the Azerbaijani victory over Armenia.

Both in Libya and Karabakh, Turkey’s status as a regional power became strongly established in the international system.

Now, Turkey engages in a diplomatic struggle, which aims to ameliorate Turkey’s relations with firstly the EU and Egypt and then Israel and Saudi Arabia.

While President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan initiated a comprehensive reform process, which includes structural reforms, a human rights action plan and the establishment of a truly democratic constitution, Turkey has simultaneously activated its diplomatic channels in regional politics.

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