BY ZEYNEP GURCANLI
The Middle East, Caucasus, and even Central Asia stir. There are significant changes in the region where Turkey is.
It’s evident that the U.S. intends to put the Middle East in order, head toward the Far East, and show the flag in that region against the rising China threat. Experiences seem to be the pains of this tendency.
The attacks by Israel in Gaza under the name of “operation against the Hamas terrorist organization,” regardless of children, women, civilians, or armed elements, have reached a point that can be under the titles of war crimes and ethnic cleansing in international law.
Even the U.S., which has been the protectionist of Israel since the beginning of the October 7 Israel-Hamas conflict, had to say, “Use smaller bombs.” Yes. That was the exact recommendation by the U.S. Secretary of State Blinken, who visited Israel, to the Israeli administration, according to the U.S. press. Usage of the less effective ammunition…
WHAT HAPPENED IN GAZA HASN’T TURNED INTO THE WAR OF RELIGION
The humanitarian aspect of the conflict is heavy. Of course, there is a lot to say. However, it’s also necessary to examine the political developments that arose from it.
Israel’s operation in Gaza hasn’t turned into a war of religion despite all efforts by the radical elements in the region. Both the Arab countries and Turkey have avoided carrying it to this level. Even the latest statement by Nasrallah, who is the leader of Hezbollah, which came into existence in Lebanon with the support of Iran, didn’t go beyond the message “if Israel doesn’t touch us, we will not take action,” aside from the harsh expressions against the U.S. and Israel the statement included.
It’s necessary to read President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent statement, which separated the state and government in Israel, from this perspective. Erdogan tore into Prime Minister Netanyahu, who formed the farthest right and even most racist government in Israeli history. However, he underlined that the Israel-Turkey relations won’t be sacrificed to the Netanyahu administration. Consequently, the AK Party government recalled the Ambassador to Tel Aviv for consultations, which has the lowest cost among the possible sanctions on Israel.
SILENT WITHDRAWAL BY RUSSIA IN THE CAUCASUS AND CENTRAL ASIA
The entire world watches the quiet withdrawal of Russia, which is struggling with the Ukraine war, from the Caucasus and Central Asia.
Armenia, considered the backyard of Russia, seems to break up the link with Moscow thoroughly. Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan went so far as to open the Russian military bases in the country for discussion. Moreover, he has taken action to eliminate the economic dependency on Russia. The Crossroads of Peace Initiative, presented by Erevan, includes highway and railway projects to link Armenia with Turkey and Azerbaijan.
There are also similar developments in Central Asia. The region witnesses consecutive visits of the top American officials. The summit meeting by U.S. President Biden with the leaders of the Central Asia republics in New York last month shows that the next target of Washington is to focus on this region. The U.S.’s interest in Central Asia seems to have awoken France. The latest President Macron-level visits of France to the region signify that.
The Organization of Turkic States (OIS), initiated by Turkey, is a critical platform for the Central Asia countries to sever their ties with Russia, even with baby steps. From this perspective, it’s necessary to underline that Ankara swallowed the fact that the President of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), Ersin
Tatar, wasn’t invited to the last OIS summit in Kazakhstan, although OIS accepted TRNC As the observer state in the previous summit. The AK Party government seems not to intend to kick up a row over TRNC and damage the consequence of the tendency in Central Asia.
THE SITUATION OF TURKEY
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken’s region tour, which also included Turkey, ended up with an agreement between the Washington administration and region countries on what they couldn’t agree. Ceasefire for a few days to send aid to Gaza was on Blinken’s agenda. However, all regional countries he visited, including Turkey, supported a sustainable ceasefire. The same point wasn’t reached.
Moreover, Blinken tested the water for the post-Hamas Gaza in the region. The international press writes about many options, from wiping out Palestinians from Gaza to giving control of the region to Fatah, from establishing a UN mandate government to deploying peacekeeping forces in the region. There were even posts on social media that detailed the country, or Turkey, and the number of Palestinians to be sent. However, Ankara denied the allegations that there were talks regarding Turkey’s acceptance of Palestinians into the country. We will see if this is the attitude of the Turkish government for now, which is in economic difficulties, or if it changes.
Although the AK Party government frequently maneuvers and changes policies in the international arena, it has never changed its security-driven approach to Turkey. This approach has become more serious recently.
Turkey, among the countries with the youngest population, also changes. The election of Ozgur Ozel as the Chairman of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) looks like the first expression of society’s desire for change in Turkey’s domestic policies.
Let’s see how the rest will come.