Turkey’s ’multi-centered’ foreign policy
Davutoğlu makes the claim to bring new breath, an understanding to Turkish foreign policy! Therefore, he claims to have a multi-centered foreign policy that depends on direct mutual interest of countries that we have bilateral relations with, aims to have zero problems with neighbors, and makes Turkey a central country in the Middle East and independent from the U.S. backwashes.
Davutoğlu paid a visit to the United States after Barack Obama was elected president and made the following remarks to describe Turkey-U.S. relations in the new period, "Turkey’s foreign policy choices and priorities overlap with Obama."
I can only make an assessment on multi-centered foreign policy through an approach based on conclusion.
I am of the opinion that if a multi-centered policy cannot be anchored to anywhere, or rather clearly if it is not equipped with basic principles, it will eventually transform into a policy that cannot reach any conclusion anywhere and that can try to please everyone. If I look at Turkish foreign policy from a conclusion-centered point of view, I see the following picture:
1) On the eve of Apr. 24, Armenian Day, Turkey approached Armenia and talked about opening the border without preconditions.
2) Obama was pleased to hear the developments and did not utter the word "genocide" on Apr. 24.
3) But Azerbaijan, on the other hand, got fumed and challenged Turkey. Obviously, Turkey couldn’t convince Azerbaijan on the Armenian initiative. And Turkey promptly made a U-turn to give a guarantee to Azerbaijan.
4) As Russia assured Azerbaijan regarding the Upper Karabakh issue, Azerbaijanis decided to sell natural gas to Russia in big amounts. Therefore, the Western product Nabucco project, to paralyze the Russian hegemony in the energy market, was harmed severely.
5) Turkey announced partnership with Russia in the "Blue Stream" project and began to talk about a strategic partnership with Russia, just about the time it had an anchor with Obama.
6) Since Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan offended Israeli President Shimon Peres through his remark "You know how to kill" in Davos, Turkey-Israeli relations have not been on track.
The number of Israeli tourists visiting Turkey has dropped radically as sports events are being suspended.
But most importantly, Israel does not want to see Turkey as a mediator in Israeli-Syrian talks.
7) Erdoğan fell into a serious trap on the "Mine Bill" issue (See: the visits of Israeli ambassador to Ankara to southeastern Turkey and to Parliament). Erdoğan, who became a hero in the Arab World with his "One Minute" move against Peres in Davos, this time, lost prestige among Arabs.
8) Turkey became the first country to congratulate incumbent Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad following the controversial presidential elections, despite the United States and the European Union. However, the very same Iranian administration wants to see Turkey neither as a broker in Iran-U.S. relations nor in Iran-EU affairs.
9) Neither Saudi Arabia nor Egypt accepts Turkey as a dominant country in the Middle East. They are even disturbed by Turkey’s approach to Iran.
10) In the last period, Turkey mediated between the West, which refuses to have direct talks, and Hamas and Hezbollah. This is the only solid improvement in hand!
In a conclusion-centered approach the multi-center foreign policy does not look good!