In other words, rather than to blame the aggressive, threatening and domineering behaviour of Turkey, led by megalomania, over its neighbours, as for example, in the open support to terrorists for the purpose of a regime change in the neighbouring Syria and Turkey’s attempt to dictate, with whom its neighbours Iran, Azerbaijan und Cyprus are allowed to maintain relations of foreign policy, the prominent foreign policy columnist speculates in the leading government newspaper in Turkey that the interests of a Franco-German-Russian axis were to blame that the relations of Turkey with many of its neighbouring countries has become worse.
Russia is therefore not with some of the Caucasian and Central Asian countries in the “near abroad” of Russia, thus in the areas where Turkey is also very active, as well as with the Central Asian superpower China in strategic security alliances such as the CSTO and the SCO, but in an axis of the NATO members France and Germany. To come to such a thought is already very hard.
However, Beril Dedeoglu did not seem to even have the idea in mind that the neighbouring countries of Turkey actually follow, at least, a rudimentary foreign policy that is based on values and principles in contrast to Turkey, and that the aggressive and domineering behaviour of Turkey has therefore negative consequences for the bilateral relationship.
Well, Beril Dedeoglu, as prominent columnist in the main English-language pro-government newspaper of Turkey, does not proclaim the official foreign policy of Turkey, of course. Due to her position, however, it is obvious that she is familiar with the foreign policy ideas of the Turkish government, of course.
To analyse columnists who are very near to the government has the advantage, that they are allowed to express themselves more clearly than the government, which has to be more cautious in its public formulations, when it is not interested to make itself vulnerable, for example, by the opposition, of course.
To notice, whether, and if so, to what extent, do the observations of the columnist match to the ideas of the Turkish government, it is also necessary to investigate, how the Turkish government actually expresses itself. For this alignment, we analyse a lecture by the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu with the title “Vision 2023: Turkey’s Foreign Policy Objectives“, which he gave at an investor-event in London, that was organized by the globally active U.S. investment bank Goldman Sachs on 22 November 2011, so a few weeks after the release of the previously analysed article by Beril Dedeoglu. Davutoglu’s speech at Goldman Sachs is, according to the medium, correspondingly much longer than the article of Beril Dedeoglu.
Of course, Davutoglu has not served the problems of the contemporary Turkish foreign policy on an epic scale to the investors and he has not garnished them with wild anti-Turkish conspiracy theories, but rather showed them from the best side. And so he hardly went into the fact, that Turkey, despite the officially declared zero-problems-with-neighbours policy at the time of the speech, as described by Beril Dedeoglu, has a growing list of serious problems with neighbouring countries.
But it is still worthwhile to read the speech from the beginning to end, because Davutoglu has revealed in his speech, with his view of history, his ambition and his understanding of the current global political zeitgeist and the role of Turkey, the idea behind the disastrous foreign policy of Turkey. Hereinafter are some summarized comments to Davutoglu`s thoughts, which he has made in his speech, but in this manner, it may be the situation, that it is not able to deliver the, at first glance, relatively “round impression” of the speech, that this speech has, in its entirety, might has left at some listeners.
Davutoglu shows huge ambition, enthusiasm and self-confidence in his speech. Davutoglu begins his lecture with the statement that Turkey does not belong in the category of the “next Eleven”, therefore to the potentially thriving fast climbers into the top class of the global economics power in the coming decades, which are behind the G7 and BRIC countries, to which the investment banker at Goldman Sachs sees Turkey, but rather belongs to the current Eleven. In the year 2023, Turkey would belong to the ten largest economies in the world, as he also announced at Goldman Sachs.
The assignment to the group of the “current Eleven” was, of course, half a joke, because the group of the “current Eleven” does not exist. But the joke shows where Davutoglu sees Turkey, in contrast to the global economic reality. In fact, Turkey is currently in the worldwide ranking of the gross domestic product of all states on the about 16th to 18 position, depending on whether one uses the nominal GDP at exchange rates or the purchasing power parity value of economic output as scale, and it is not likely to change too much upwards over the next four to five years, because the distance between Turkey and the countries two places further up is respectively so big, that Turkey can hardly fill the gap, even if Turkey achieves an outstanding growth in the next years.
If the remark of Davutoglu was not meant to be a joke, and his later remarks suggest this, then it testifies that Davutoglu strongly overestimates the economic power of Turkey, or that he counts to the economic strength of Turkey also an Ottoman or ethnic national-culturally Turkish economy that does not belong to Turkey, but where Turkey, quite natural, determines about them economically and politically. Already the opening of his speech suggests a bit of attention on the Turkish megalomania, of which the article by Beril Dedeoglu is characterized.
The assertion, that Turkey would belong to 2023 to the ten strongest economic nations of the world, was, however, similar to a campaign slogan of the JDP (Justice and Development Party / AKP) for the election in June 2011. But Davutoglu repeated the cocky nonsense after the election now even in front of an expert audience and he did not deliver the impression that he was joking.
On the contrary, he spoke even in detail about which countries would then belong to the other nine top ten states, quasi the continents forming states USA, China, India, Russia, the major or area strong states Canada, Australia and Brazil, as well as the European countries Germany, Britain and France, which according to an opinion have a continent-esque (continent-like) European economic lifeline.
Although Davutoglu has not managed it to correctly count to nine in his lecture, he has asked the question twice of how Turkey could challenge these large and powerful states as the strongest economic countries in the world.
And he has answered himself to his own rhetorical question, because Turkey has neither significant natural resources nor a large population, and so this would only be possible with education, and therefore, Turkey invests a lot of its budget into education and it will continue to focus the priority of its policy on education.
First, it sounds like a very reasonable policy that the spending on education are constantly raised from geopolitically motivated economic ambitions. And as far as the steady increase in spending is concerned on education, this policy is certainly very reasonable.
But with the geopolitically motivated economic ambition there are deep problems, at least, if this ambition gets realized in such a catastrophic foreign policy like Davutoglu has explained it in his speech, and how it is currently even practically demonstrated by Turkey. Of course, Davutoglu and the JDP (Justice and Development Party / AKP) have raised a much exaggerated, ambitious long-term goal.
According to data of the IMF, Turkey has reached with about 774 billion U.S. dollars GDP around 42% of the economic output of India, which is on the tenth place, in the year 2011. According to forecasts of the IMF, six years later, in 2017, Turkey is expected to have achieved around 55% of the economic output of Italy, which is predicted to be on the tenth place at this time in future.
Even if the IMF adopted data series till 2023 just continues and Turkey would have then, in 2023, about 80% of the economic output of Italy and about 55% of the economic output of the (in that time) tenth-placed country France, this would be a very huge achievement for Turkey.
If Turkey would further grow in this manner for a few years after 2023, then Turkey would be probably not yet be on the tenth place, but it would then be nevertheless a greater economic power than the countries Italy and France. If Turkey could even keep its advantage in growth compared to many other countries in 2023, and Turkey therefore is catching up additional 12% to the tenth place in the next six years till 2023, so Turkey would have then achieved about 65% of the, according to the GDP in 2023, tenth-placed country, even a greater and more rapid achievement would be possible for Turkey.
But to become the world’s tenth largest economies of the world until 2023 is due to Turkey`s current perspective, however, even with a sensationally high Turkish economic growth, nearly impossible. That would be no real problem if the leadership of Turkey would be satisfied with a great improvement in the world economic position, and would simply rejoice that the population of Turkey will simultaneously become educated and prosperous people.
But Davutoglu wants more: he wants that the comparatively small Turkey with its 75 million people and 800,000 square kilometres area not only permanently economically overtakes the European and East Asian industrial countries but also other countries, which have huge populations, vast natural resources, or quasi-continental (continental-like) dimensions, and that Turkey rises to the top ten of the strongest economies in the world, in order to stay there for a not foreseeable future. Just with education and growth alone, this is not able to get realized.
When Turkey only county on education and growth in this plan, it will, if it really works at all, take a few more decades until Turkey economically overtakes European and Asian industrial powers such as Germany and Japan, and even if Turkey succeeds, then the other large, population and resource-rich countries like Iran, Pakistan, Nigeria, the Philippines, or even other countries, have until then themselves overtaken Turkey already, so that Turkey will hardly succeed in its rise in the top ten of the major economic powers of the world.
Davutoglu knows this for sure. But he still wants or even perhaps because of this fact that Turkey belongs to the top ten of the most economically powerful countries in the world within the next ten years. And Davutoglu also has a plan by what magic tool it will be possible to make Turkey into one of the ten largest economies in the world within less than ten years.
His speech at Goldman Sachs includes the magic word “hinterland” which comes from the times of the German colonialism:
“Therefore to these very respected distinguished investors, I want to give this picture, just to make sure that none of our economic objective is without base. There is always a preparation and when you invest Turkey, you will see a zone around Turkey, not only Turkey. When you look at Turkey, do not see only a country with 786.000 square kilometre. But you see a hinterland; you can see where you can reach from Istanbul. If you want to go to somewhere, because Istanbul is one of the main destination of transfer. Or if you have a headquarter in Istanbul, it means you can have access to all the surrounding regions and the globe.”
In English, the term “hinterland” is understood as the country behind the port or behind the coast of a colony. Who had occupied the coast or the harbour, had also the exclusive rights on the hinterland behind the colony. Therefore, Davutoglu advertises the neighbouring states of Turkey as a colonial hinterland, which belongs to the NATO colony Turkey, in which they would have special rights, to the investors.
Of course, the term “hinterland” may not be meant as a term of colonial rule. Of course, the term “hinterland” could also mean something like the commendable service of better transport / traffic engineering development of neighbouring countries in the context of a fair regional cooperation.
Since the NATO country Turkey was surrounded on three sides by the Eastern bloc belonging States during the times of the Cold War, with which it was only possible to maintain small economic and social exchange, and Turkey was by this something like an economically difficult marginal zone for developing in the Western economic system, such an interpretation is also quite close (standing to reason).
But the Turkish attempt to decide on the foreign relations of its neighbouring country Azerbaijan, the Turkish arrogance, to generously allow the superpower Russia to “contribute” to the Turkish foreign policy in the region, and much more, the Turkish attempt to barter away Iran`s sovereign neighbouring state Syria, however, also suggest a Turkish domination feeling about his neighbours, to which the colonial term “hinterland” fits perfectly.