Economists are trying to predict the possible effects of the unavoidable – and certainly undesirable – increase in the exchange rate on citizens.
However, the cost of the current economic crisis to citizens is not solely financial, or as a result of inflation. There is also the foreign policy dimension.
The Political Price of the Visit by the Prince of the UAE
The most concrete sign of the “cost” of the economic crisis in foreign policy is the visit of Crown Prince Mohammad of the United Arab Emirates to Ankara.
Until just a few months ago, Crown Prince Mohammad was touted by pro-government media outlets and AK Party officials as the financier and shadow power behind the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. For example, in a statement made in 2017, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said, “We know that a country provided 3 billion dollars in financial support for the coup attempt in Turkey, in order to overthrow the government using illegitimate methods. Moreover, we know that this is a Muslim country.
At that time, the pro-government media said what Cavusoglu left unsaid. Headlines and columnists announced that the UAE funded the coup attempt, using the Prince’s photo.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu claimed the UAE’s alleged involvement much more clearly. In a television interview in May, he said, “The United Arab Emirates is the perpetrator of July 15th, along with the United States.
Despite this, while these two officials remain in power, the UAE Crown Prince, was greeted this week at a ceremony in Ankara hosted by President Erdogan himself. Can there be a greater “cost” for a politician than this?
Of course, there is also the aspect of “cost” that directly concerns the economy.
The weakening of the Turkish Lira against foreign currency has also reduced the price of businesses, property, and services in Turkey for foreigners. One of the countries that can benefit most from this is the oil-rich UAE, known globally as the “bottomless pocket.” The Crown Prince’s visit may pave the way for the country to make extensive purchases from Turkey. There are already reports in the Arab press that the UAE is interested in buying private hospitals and defense industry facilities here. Let’s see.
WHAT WILL THE POLICIES OF LIBYA, SYRIA, AND ISRAEL BE?
While Turkish AKP officials accused the UAE of being behind the July 15 coup attempt, the UAE always placed itself on the opposite side as Ankara in conflicts around the world.
So much so that the claim that the Turkish Armed Forces Vatiyye base in Libya was bombed by unidentifiable UAE warplanes was featured in many reputable newspapers.
This adversarial relationship has not only been in Libya. The UAE has always been anti-Turkey, both in Syria and in the Eastern Mediterranean. Now, with the Crown Prince being hosted in Ankara, it is obvious that this foreign policy could change. It’s inevitable.
The UAE, which has been trying to overthrow the Assad regime for years, sent its Foreign Minister to Damascus just last month. After Turkey may come the readmission of Assad’s Syria to the Arab League. Who knows?
Perhaps the Crown Prince, so heavily accused by Turkey, is intervening so that the AK Party government can reconcile with Assad.
Perhaps he will be the mediator for the normalization of relations between Turkey and Israel, with whom the UAE has just reconciled.
Perhaps, even, this might pave the way for President Erdogan to meet directly with President Sisi of Egypt.
It is possible to see these shifts as “acceptable” for foreign policy, or even as political prices it’s necessary to pay given the foreign policy mistakes of the AK Party government.
However, if this business reaches the point of making concessions in the Eastern Mediterranean, it will be a disaster not only for the AK Party but for Turkey’s future.
The official document submitted by the AK Party government to the United Nations, in which it promised that it could “relinquish its right to guarantee” in Cyprus is dire. The document, covered widely in international media, shows that the AK Party have started in a direction that could lead to a complete loss of Cyprus and the “Blue Homeland.”
The issues of jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean, water and airspace territory issues in the Aegean, and the issue of Cyprus are Turkey’s national causes.
These issues are too critical to be the “cost” of foreign policy mistakes already made. This is a real issue.
Those who try to pay this “price” will find themselves sinking….