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July 31, 2012, Tuesday

New foreign policy in new Turkey

It is useful to take a look at foreign policy discussions from a broader perspective. How the new Turkey is being designed determines the axis of the new foreign policy style. Therefore, the major goals of the new Turkey should be set properly.

A proper foreign policy depends upon domestic integrity and unity. And domestic unity requires the reign of a mentality that promotes respect for each other, non-discrimination against others, enjoyment of freedoms by all and avoiding conflict in the country. Unless this is achieved in Turkey, a proper foreign policy cannot be drafted. In other words, a Turkey which has not resolved its Kurdish problem, Alevi issue, alleviated the tension and polarization and addressed its major fault lines will not have a proper foreign policy.

In addition, a foreign policy style that is left to the discretion of the authoritarian and totalitarian pro-guardianship mentality will be useless. There is no goal in this policy style; it is destined to be controlled by other circles and powers. Full democracy is required for a proper foreign policy. Moreover, a parliament that ends the regime of military guardianship, addresses the problems in the election and political party laws, and checks the government through the deputies elected by the people is necessary. In this style, the judiciary should stand as the assurance of justice. Thanks to Parliament and the judiciary and an administration checked and balanced by these bodies, foreign policy will be free of political considerations and entanglements.

The new Turkey should rise with the same values in the domestic and international arenas. If you act differently in domestic affairs, you will not be trusted by your neighbors, friends or enemies. If you are not trustworthy on the domestic stage, then you cannot be trusted in international affairs as well. The greatest danger and threat to an administration is a lack of trust.

The new Turkey is a Turkey that seeks reconciliation and consensus. This Turkey cannot be restructured by the social engineering projects of any political or social groups. In other words, it should be noted that 50 percent of the people support the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), but there is also the other half. A new Turkey cannot be built by impositions. There will be no peace in such a Turkey.

In the new Turkey, the domestic and international goals are the same. The foreign policy in this Turkey seeks to attain a Turkey and world where everybody enjoys their rights, agrees on universal human rights, pays attention to sharing, and cooperates on peace and prosperity.

Discourses on a common Islamic market and an Islamic political union may appeal to traditional supporters, but they do not mean anything in a globalizing world. Those who propose these discourses have not been convincing so far on the benefits of these projects for our country and for our nation. The political parties that made these proposals have become marginalized over the time.

Religious and ethnic fault lines cannot be used in foreign policy. There should be no room for the distinction between Islam and Christianity, the Islamic world and the Western world. History is full of blood and pain associated with ethnic, religious and sectarian polarization and conflicts.

Global peace depends on the alliance of civilizations rather than a clash of civilizations. From this perspective, Turkey's membership in the European Union is pretty important. However, this does not necessarily mean that Turkey should be submissive to the demands raised by the EU. On the other hand, we should be aware of the importance of the opening up towards Asia and Africa as well. We need to work on new initiatives towards the Pacific, the Far East, Russia, the Turkic republics and South America as well because a Turkey that is not present everywhere in the world will not be a global power.

What the world needs now is a common ground that would represent the common values of humanity rather than policies and institutions that would lead to further polarizations. So far the world has suffered extensively from the confrontations and polarizations. We need an era of information, transportation, health technologies and peace projects rather than arm dealers and drug smugglers. The new Turkey has great responsibilities.

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