President Gül: Turkey plays active role in shaping new world order

November 09, 2010, Tuesday/ 18:07:00
Turkish President Abdullah Gül suggested on Monday that Turkey is already playing an active part in shaping the future international order that will replace the three-dimensionally “imperfect equilibrium” that characterizes the current state of affairs after the Cold War.

    Gül was speaking at Chatham House, the British think tank that will today present Gül with its prestigious Chatham House Prize from the hands of the Queen. During his speech titled “International System, Europe and Turkey in the first quarter of the 21st century,” Gül suggested that the Cold War era world system was yet to be replaced by a new and normal system that will manage international relations effectively. Gül compared the current situation to a three-dimensional “imperfect equilibrium” where the normalcy has to be attained in political, economic and finally social and humanitarian issues.

    Gül reiterated his position about the imperfectness of the current equilibrium in the political sphere by referring to the newly emerging power centers like Russia, China, India and Brazil and to the changing and expanding understanding of security in the new era. On the economic front, Gül pointed to the huge deficits of the developed market economies and the rising economies with fast growth rates and large sovereign funds emanating from current account surpluses. He didn't specify the shortcomings and deficits of the current international structure in terms of social and humanitarian values, but chose to say that they are “obvious.”

President Gül suggested that the new and normal order will be accomplished in the next decade and shared his thoughts about the main characteristics of the new normal international order. He suggested that this new order must address the three-dimensional deficits and that the new order countries would not be categorized as First, Second and Third World countries. Gül added that this new order must focus on the whole world and reject a Euro-centric understanding of history and international affairs. He suggested that in this order, principles and goals must prevail over club membership reflexes and that instead of an order in which winners are rewarded and losers are punished, the new order should enable us to win the hearts and minds of the defeated. Gül said that the new order must be a multicultural, multi-dimensional, heterogeneous but harmonized one where a single power’s hegemony is refused and where people distinguish themselves not by bearing symbols but qualifications, and express themselves not with rhetoric but with their deeds.

In his speech, President Gül also claimed that Turkey has been doing its part in shaping the world towards such a new and normal order by exemplifying the zero-problem policy as an alternative to the zero-sum game of the Cold War era.

In London, Gül also had a 45-minute meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron. There was no immediate statement after the talks. Cameron is a staunch supporter of Turkey’s accession into the EU and, in a speech during a visit to Turkey in July, he promised to “fight” for Turkey’s accession. “My view is clear. I believe it is just wrong to say that Turkey can guard the camp but not be allowed to sit in the tent,” he said in a speech at the Turkish Parliament.

On Monday, Gül also gave a speech on “The Islamic World, Democracy and Development,” at the Oxford Center for Islamic Studies, where Gül is also a member of the board.

Red Book rewritten, not revised

Gül also commented on some of the key issues in Turkish foreign policy while speaking to reporters on Sunday evening. Gül, responding to a question, said the recent revision of Turkey’s National Security Policy Document (MGSB), a classified document that outlines national security priorities, amounted to a complete rewriting. “It is not that some of the articles have been revised. The whole document has been rewritten,” Gül said, explaining that the former version of the MGSB reflected the realities of the Cold War era. The MGSB, commonly referred to as the Red Book, has been amended to remove Turkey’s immediate neighbors from a list of nations considered as potential enemies. The document was also cleansed of references to “domestic threats.” Experts say the MGSB overhaul indicates that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has been in power since 2002, has finally managed to revise the main foreign and security principles in line with its priorities.

Gül said the new MGSB does not contain any reference to any segments of the society as a security threat, explaining that the concept of security used throughout the document was interpreted on a broad basis to include economic and energy-related aspects of security. On plans to build a NATO-wide missile defense system, Gül dismissed claims that the planned shield is designed to protect Israel from a possible Iranian missile attack. Gül said instead that the planned shield is designed to protect all NATO allies from a possible ballistic missile threat.

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