The unexpected outcome generated from the meeting between President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his U.S. counterpart Joe Biden – which everyone was expecting to be tense – at the NATO leaders’ summit deserves lengthier evaluations. This outcome is the harbinger of a new era in Turkey-U.S. relations, and portents a new position for Turkey in the new order of global relations.
We see, through this opportunity, that some radical changes can happen quicker than anticipated, even in international relations.
In addition to the U.S. decision to withdraw from Afghanistan, the management of Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai International Airport being left to Turkey, is the result of lengthy evaluations concerning Turkey’s means and potential.
As we previously mentioned, though Turkey was present in Afghanistan on NATO’s mission, it was received by the Afghan public at a much different rank when compared to the treatment given to NATO forces.
The people of Afghanistan – and even the Taliban – greeted Turkey like the troops of a sister country, independent from NATO. This continues to this day. There is no doubt that the said position Turkey has in this region is an opportunity that neither NATO nor any other non-NATO actors have. In fact, Turkey owes this not only to its historical ties, but also to the fact that it never overshadowed these relations with a negative experience like the other actors have. There are indeed countries that are both geographically and ethnically closer to Afghanistan, yet in this case, being close to such an extent may prove to be a disadvantage.
Though Turkey is both culturally and spiritually close with Afghanistan, it also has the advantage of not having the geographical proximity that will always lead to disputes. Of course, this relationship also includes a connection such as representing the caliphate center in this region’s slow-running, and hence, not yet forgotten history.
Of course, this is not the only reason Turkey is able to undertake such a mission in this new period. As a matter of fact, there is a distinctive attribute that is the common denominator in all the international operations Turkey has lately been involved in. This is the performance it has shown in bringing stability to every region it launches an operation in, unlike other global actors.
In every country Turkey reaches out to, life starts to go back to normal, and stability is instituted.
At least 5 million Syrians, who were living in complete chaos in Syria, are now going on with their lives in stability and security in the safe zones established through Turkey’s Euphrates Shield, Olive Branch, and Peace Spring operations.
Turkey stopped the dispute against Qatar, the approaching constant chaos in the Gulf through its involvement within the frame stipulated by the joint security cooperation deal with Qatar. It is thanks to this involvement that Gulf countries did not miss their last opportunity to build a new future again today.
Turkey revived a destroyed state in Somalia, together with all its institutions, through its prominent operation, and re-included a country that was caught in a spiral of terrorism back into the international community.
Called by Libya’s legitimate government, Turkey became involved in the country’s terror atmosphere, which was created by putschist Khalifa Haftar, who is an undertaker of crimes against humanity in Libya. As a result of this involvement, it is now possible to talk about a stable country that can now conduct an election. Otherwise, the current situation in Libya would have been a civil war or nothing other than a putschist despotism ruled by warlords, who intimidated everybody. However, Libya is today in the process of a stable democratic process that is able to make decisions for its own future.
The same can be said for Azerbaijan. Following the end of a three-decade occupation, thanks to Turkey’s support, an order of stability and regional cooperation is now in question with the participation of six countries – which Armenia also has the option of joining.
As clearly seen in all these examples, Turkey is not on a quest to occupy and settle in any operating area. Its sole pursuit is to establish stability, territorial integrity, and to leave that country to its own people. Quite frankly, Turkey is undertaking an order-instituting mission, and this is increasingly being recognized and applauded by everyone.
It is this proven style of politics Turkey is implementing that rapidly changed Biden’s extremely negative attitude towards Erdoğan. Consequently, Biden now has the expectation that Turkey can play the same role in Afghanistan as well.
Considering this as an undertaking expected from Turkey falls short of seeing the aspects of Turkey in this exchange that are in sync with its own mission.
It is out of the question for Turkey to back down from the sensitivity it has shown with respect to instituting stability, territorial integrity, and making sure those nations have the chance to determine their own fate in all corners of the Muslim world. Therefore, Turkey is establishing its international relations, cooperation, and solidarity frames on this basis. Nobody has the right to attirbute any other significance to these cooperations or relations.
Turkey is a country that invests not in war but peace. With the exception of the defense industry it developed recently out of necessity, Turkey is not a country that makes gains through war. It is always investing in peace and stability in its foreign policy through its export-focused economy. In other words, Turkey’s style of politics, which demand peace and stability, is partly an obligation resulting from the nature of its economic structure. This quality paves the way for a very special place for Turkey in the new order of the world, which is longing for even the slightest state of stability.
We will continue to discuss the aspect of this special position concerning Afghanistan.