How Come Erdogan Apologised Now?

By: Mohammad Aburumman

تم نشره في Tue 28 June / Jun 2016. 12:00 AM
  • Mohammad Aburumman

Seven months had passed since his refusal to apologise, as a primary condition placed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to overcome the dropping of a Russian fighter. Now, finally, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, apologises explicitly, and the Kremlin published parts of his apology online!

Meantime, Erdogan has been working on normalising relations with Israel, after six years of diplomatic disparity between the two Countries, on the basis of the Freedom flotilla incident.

On the spot, Colleague Barhoum Jraisi discusses the mistaken impression that economic relations with Israel were weak or frozen over the years since the flotilla incident; contrarily, he sees that the year 2014 has seen the peak of commercial and trade activity between Turkey and Israel, reaching USD6.8 billion, 534 per cent the sum of trade between the two in 2000!

In the end, given Jraisi’s report, the aims of the agreement are political, not just economic; exclusively related to Israeli gas. Even if that were true, it would be out of national interest that Turkey efforts to normalise relations with Israel, in the end of the day; Turkey’s interests are primal to Erdogan’s plans.

Accordingly, could these positions be viewed as a total parting from Turkey’s foreign line of relations? Will this entail other revaluations? Turkey’s position from Assad and Sisi’s regimes for example? Or perhaps the position from Islamists?!

In my opinion, I would say we face a partial parting, or a half turn, from and with actively effective regional influencers, like Russia, Israel, and possibly Iran, with a general retention of Turkey’s position from the Syrian crisis. Of course, this comes after Turkey has found itself afloat a sea of hostility; the Syrian regime, Iran, Russia, Israel, the Kurds, and ISIS, devoid of friends, globally and regionally; Arab countries are for the most part against Turkey, for now, and newly found alliances with some Arab states are still frail and unreliable.

More importantly, Turkey’s relationship with the west has also destabilised. Europeans and some American parties are intensively critical, as rivalry begins dominate Erdogan’s relationship with westerner peers, now that the dream to join the EU has vaporised.

All things considered, I would say Erdogan is seeking to more or less reposition Turkey in such a way that would alleviate some of the culminating external pressures, especially given its inability to overthrow the Syrian regime and aid the “Arab Spring”, putting itself out there as an active agent of change, representative of Sunni Islam; which in turn faces the growing influence of Iran and the collapse of the official Arab system!

Moreover, this repositioning has been underway for two years. The Strategic Studies Centre of the University of Jordan hosted Turkish researcher Mohammad Zahid Ghoul, in December 2014. He spoke of serious intentions among the Turkey decision circles to revaluate the foreign political scene, based on pragmatic, regional, and current developments.

Ironically enough, our Turkish friend, who happens to be in close proximity to Erdogan’s Justice and Development party, discussed the frames into which Islamists and secularists have been seeking to cram Erdogan into, which —according to Ghoul— is largely inaccurate; Erdogan’s party is ultimately extremely secular, but we in the Arab world still have an inversed unrealistic view of our surroundings. We see things as we want them to be!

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