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June 26, 2012, Tuesday

Syria trap

At his party’s parliamentary group meeting on Tuesday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a clear message about the military jet that was downed by Syria and the developments following this.

Three important things that need to be underlined are as follows: 1. A new period has begun in relations with Syria. 2. The engagement rules of the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) have changed in line with the beginning of the new era. Every military element approaching our border from Syria will be assessed as a threat and treated as a military target. 3. A warning has been issued to Iran, in line with the famous saying of Caliph Ali, who said one remaining silent before an injustice is a devil without a tongue; “If you give support to the massacres in Syria, then you are betraying your fundamental philosophy.”

There is a point that has become clear: Syria attacked our jet deliberately and with hostility. It is empty for Syria to resort to excuses or lies. The information and documents presented to NATO members cannot have been fabricated. Technology has a common language. If Turkey is presenting false documents, then it is possible for Syria to prove this. It can try to do things this way, but it will not do so.

I pay attention to this because some writers ask, “Why was our military jet flying over Syria at such a tense time?” However, Syrian helicopters violated our airspace five times during this tense period, and we did not down their helicopters. Experts remind us of rules and principles regarding this. The actions that need to be taken in case of a violation are clear. Putting them aside and striking the jet is an action planned beforehand.

The question that needs to be answered now is this: Why did Syria down our jet deliberately and with hostility? Did Syria make this decision alone? From whom and from which countries does it get this courage?

The prime minister gave answers to these questions in Parliament on Tuesday. “Turkey shook hands with its friends, embraced its brothers and ended its 100-year longing for its relatives. It is impossible for a country, especially for Turkey, which turns its back on its relatives to grow in this geography. There are some who are disturbed by Turkey’s growth. There are some who are disturbed by Turkey’s embracing of its brothers. We know that these circles support terrorism in Turkey. Turkey will never turn a blind eye to these engineering efforts in the region,” Erdoğan said.

We should be seeking the Syria trap in these statements. Turkey is gradually becoming stronger economically, in social policy and democratization. It has become an important actor in its region and in international politics. There are problems accompanying this.

Let’s begin from outside. There is jealousy and conflicts of interest. Are there not neighbors who are disturbed by Turkey’s new conservative-democrat line? Are there not global actors who want Turkey to remain a country which revolves around their axis?

Are not some circles at home resisting progress in order to retain the regime of military tutelage regime, to maintain their positions and to keep Turkey a protectionist country? Is not the incumbent government’s determination to democratize, despite its flaws and shortcomings, disturbing them? If they had the chance, would they not be happy if Turkey was dragged into economic chaos? Would they not establish new traps, even if they say, “We have changed”?

A foreign policy attitude that cares about our history and values is a source of disturbance for the West. Is it not high time for the West to give up constantly formulating arguments claiming that Turkey is changing its axis from West to East? Should Turkey be a country in line with the demands of the EU and US? It is important not to be separated from the world, but we should be integrated into the world while keeping our values. We should have bargaining power with the US and EU. As much as Turkey needs them, they should understand that they also need Turkey for alliance of civilizations and global peace.

OK, let’s get on well with Iran. But what does Iran have in its mind? What is it trying to do? Is the Islamic discourse a cover for Persian nationalism? We should question this.

Syria is a trap. We should identify those who set this trap.

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