In Oct. 2015, I penned a piece on the state of Turkish affairs at the time, which was met with deep incredulity. The following is an excerpt:
“Day in and day out, the government comes up with an unbelievable practice. What’s worse, the society is mute and unresponsive in the face of the nonsensical practices of the government which acts like a cornered cat. This is the decadence of the society … The country will pay, and is already paying, a high price for this. But the highest price is likely Recep Tayyip Erdoğan establishing a submissive, passive and fascist social order with an iron fist and marketing it as ‘stability’ and a recipe for salvation from decadence.
Concomitantly, the world’s interest in Turkey has been lost irreparably. Since 2004, the country’s European Union bid and reformist vein of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had globally challenged the well-known contention that Islam cannot coexist peacefully with democracy. The AKP’s reformism had urged researchers to question their Orientalist perspective, and look at Turkey with empathy. For the first time, Turkey emerged as a true partner that had a say in international matters. Similar to the model of ‘Christian democrats”, the term “Muslim democrats” had started to be tossed around in political literature. Economic as well as political and social reforms had proceeded to confirm these observations. Turkey experts were popping up not only in the West, but everywhere.
Today, this trend has been completely aborted. Turkey’s agenda is in stark contrast with the world’s agenda. Isn’t ‘failed state’ a befitting definition for that Turkey, where both the state and the society are sinking deep down in thorough decadence?”
Since the piece was published, Turkey’s state institutions – academia, military, diplomacy, judiciary, public administration and the Treasury – have all entirely collapsed and have been subordinated to a few henchmen of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The disappearance of these key institutions’ system of checks and balances has been fatal. Add in the demise of the free media and an opposition that is ineffective and obedient when it comes to the government’s foreign adventures and one sees that Turkey has not been left with single meaningful check or balance. Unsurprisingly, the failed state has transformed to become a rogue state in the course of the last five years.
Just have a look to these foreign deeds, although the record should be flexible.
In Libya, warring parties are busy negotiating in Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia and Switzerland to reach a lasting peace. There is a consensus among the third parties involved in the conflict and the rest of the international community that these efforts should be supported – with the exception of Turkey and, accessorily, its rich avatar Qatar.
The United Nations Security Council has recently issued a strong declaration that will be followed by a unanimous resolution to seal down Libya’s peace efforts. The only party which shows its discontent through its proxies in Libya’s capital Tripoli, the head of High State Council and the defence minister, is the Ankara regime. The pro-Ankara proxies keep reiterating that all past bilateral agreements between Ankara and Tripoli will remain valid and Turkey’s military presence in Libya, together with its legion of jihadists, is unquestionable. This is the arrogant and lawless attitude of a rogue state.
In Nagorno-Karabagh, three ceasefires to the latest round of fighting have been quashed by opposing sides. Nevertheless, the co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group, France, Russia and the United States, are busy seeking an end to the violence and negotiations for a lasting peace. Within this framework of joint understanding and efforts, the only third party that is still calling for war is Turkey. The country has its soldiers, technicians and reportedly arms, including aircraft, in Azerbaijan, in addition to the jihadists it has exported to the warfront. This is the arrogant and lawless attitude of a rogue state.
In the Aegean and the Mediterranean, the Ankara regime is busy pushing its sovereignty claims not through talks and negotiations but through gunboat diplomacy. No one outright rejects Ankara’s and Turcocypriots’ territorial claims but points at diplomacy and international law to solve the disputes. None of the recent mediation efforts by the pathetic NATO secretary-general and clumsy German diplomacy have successfully brought Ankara to the negotiation table. This is the arrogant and lawless attitude of a rogue state.
In Syria, Turkey is both a subversive force feeding a rebel army and an occupying force. It shows no sign of abiding by international conventions that regulate the occupation areas. It openly tries to ethnically cleanse the occupied territories, encourages the spoliation of autochthones’ property, imposes a Turkish curriculum in schools and abducts Syrian citizens to try them on Turkish soil. This is the arrogant and lawless attitude of a rogue state.
In Europe, Ankara has adopted a language that violates all principles of classical diplomacy and stately relations, replacing them with threats, as seen against Cyprus, France and Greece, and curses, as seen towards Dutch, French and German officials. This is the arrogant and lawless attitude of a rogue state.
And last but not least, the sponsorship of Islamist militancy. Largely documented by international governmental and non-governmental bodies, the Turkish government’s financial, technical, political and military support for an army of jihadists, which consists of groups designated as terrorists by the U.N., that now operates all the way from sub-Saharan Africa to the Caucasus. Major Turkish populations centres like Ankara, Antioch, Maraş and Istanbul have become safe havens for international jihadists and their families. This points clearly at a rogue – if not a pro-terrorist – state.
(The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.)