Ultimately, the purpose of determining about the neighbouring countries is to generate the most growth in the port and coastal region, the administrative centre of the colonial hinterland, and to merely assign the task to the foreign hinterland, that it serves as sales market and as a supplier of low-order goods and services in Turkey.
Davutoglu hopes that this “hinterland strategy” generates the extreme growth in Turkey, which he needs, in order to make Turkey one of the largest economies in the world, at the expenses of its neighbouring countries.
In a fair economic cooperation among equal partners, the positive growth effects, which are associated with economic cooperation, are divided fairly equally between the states that are participating in the cooperation. In a colonial-type dominion & hinterland cooperation, the majority of profits, value and growth, however, can be bundled in the dominion, while the hinterland just has a little economically progressing.
This asymmetrical beneficial cooperation will not only affect an economic sector such as the energy sector, but the entire economy across all sectors, as well as the foreign policy. Such an asymmetrically-beneficial cooperation is achievable, for example, by implementing a dependent puppet regime in the hinterland by the dominion, which instead of considering the interests of their country, initially are following the interests of the rulers of the dominion.
Without a Turkish “hinterland”, which is dependent of Turkey and dominated by a puppet government, in neighbouring countries, Davutoglu`s ambitious, economic development plan for Turkey will not even function rudimentarily. And that is the reason why he unconditional wants to make the neighbouring countries to the “hinterland” of Turkey, instead to cooperate on a fair and equal basis. And exactly that is a major cause of the current problems of the Turkish foreign policy.
Also Syria is considered by Davutoglu through these economic glasses of the Turkish ambitions for a hinterland. In his presentation at Goldman Sachs, he said about Syria:
“Our connection with Syria is not only connection with Syria, but it is a connection with South Arabia, Egypt, Jordan; so all these politics and economics are interrelated.” (Source)
Davutoglu considers the importance of Syria as a transit country not only in terms of the grid-bound energy trading, i.e. gas, electricity and oil, but in terms of Turkey’s total trade to the south. Nearly all interurban traffic by rail and truck from Turkey in the GCC states, to Jordan and Egypt, ran through Syria. To circumvent Syria on the overland transit (overland shipment), to Jordan and further to the South east by Iraq, is a huge detour from Istanbul and there are also still security issues in Iraq.
The transport of goods by air is too expensive for some product groups. The ship transport is slow, and if some obstacles such as Egyptian transit tariffs, customs delays or the fees for the Suez Canal are a part of this ship transport, it is in many cases sure not ideal.
The competitive ability of the Turkish companies, which are related to the export to the South, will suffer if Syria is not available for Turkey as a transit country. Without the possibility to use Syria as a transit country, Turkey would be, in terms of the South, again an economic marginal region like during the times of the Cold War.
If the trade with South Arabia means that the goods from Istanbul have to be shipped to Egypt, and from there shipped to GCC and to Jordan, in such a case, it would then be more attractive for many companies to establish their regional centre immediately in one of the southern Arabian countries, for example, in Egypt; from there, they would just have to supply the outskirts of Turkey by ship or plane.
Moreover, without Syria as a transit country for Turkey, Turkey could completely bury its plans, that Turkey will become an energy hub in terms of connections into the GCC states, to Egypt and Jordan. Without the chance to use Syria as a transit country, Turkey would virtually have to bury all its plans, which include the aim to form Turkey into a rapidly growing central power with a lot of Arabic “hinterland”.
Against this background, the question arises, however, why Turkey has wantonly ruined its relations with Syria in recent months, and on top of this, why Turkey supports active armed groups in Syria, so that Syria is actually at present not usable as a trading partner and also not usable as a transit country for Turkey – in both situations, Syria is currently almost a complete outage for Turkey.
In 2010, Turkey still had a visa exemption with Syria and also a free trade zone. If one is looking from Turkey in direction to the south today, then one is not able to see an interesting “hinterland”, but a “no-go zone”, including chaos, violence and terrorism, which, moreover, acts as a cordon sanitaire for a smooth trade with Jordan, the country of the GCC as well as for the trade with Egypt. And this is not least a direct result of the Turkish foreign policy.
Davutoglu’s speech at Goldman Sachs also sheds light about what kind of worldview underlies this Turkish policy. Davutoglu has, mutatis mutandis, in a summary, roughly the view, that there were always new world orders, state alliances, and boundaries after major wars. Empires were toppled in these times, and new ones were formed. So it was already the situation after the First World War and after the Second World War and after all the ends of great wars prior them. Davutoglu has the opinion, that the East-West conflict, or as he calls it, the Cold War, was also such a great war.
This great war came to an end, a little more than 20 years ago, and as a result of the termination of this Great War with the victory of the systems of freedom and democracy over the system of autocracy, the autocrats of Eastern Europe were overthrown after another by the popular masses, and no force in the world would have been in a position to stop this process. Even Eastern European autocrats like Ceausescu and Milosevic, who have opposed the will (of this zeitgeist) of the masses of the people for democracy and freedom, would have been swept away by the overwhelming power of the focused desire of the masses for dignity.
What Davutoglu has not said so directly, but what is clear from the context of his comment on the European economic lifeline and his views on the prospects of Turkey after the upheaval in the Arab world is, that he believes that the strong and advanced Western European industrial states, who stood on the side of the Eastern European masses, would have enormously economically benefited by the upheaval in Eastern Europe and the following inclusion of these countries in their economic and political system, through the EU, because they would have won an economic lifeline, or – in his terminology – they would have won a “hinterland”.
Unfortunately, according to Davutoglu, the international structures would not have been, more than 20 years after the end of the Cold War, adapted to the resulting new global political situation after the end of the Cold War – or, in any case, not sufficient enough. Although the function of the G7 had been largely replaced by the G20, which better reflects the present conditions, but the UN Security Council (UNSC), and in particular the veto rights of the permanent members, would still reflect the situation during the Cold War.
Therefore, Turkey wants a reform of the decision-making structures there, so that new strong powers, such as Turkey, have more to say.
And, as Davutoglu further explains, the situation in the Arab world with its autocratic anti-democratic governments would reflect, in the view of Davutoglu, regrettably still the outdated rules of the Cold War.
But with the self-immolation of a man called “Ebu Azizi” in Tunisia – Davutoglu is not able to correctly recall his name, in reality his name was Mohamed Bouaziz – the so-called “Jasmine Revolution”, as he calls the US-led coup for the democratization of Tunisia, has started and the Turkish government would have immediately recognized that this result would unleash the desire of the masses of the Arab world for dignity, and thus “transform” the entire Arab world in something like Eastern Europe after the end of the Cold War by the unstoppable masses.
The “Arab street” (Arab path) and the Arab youth feel humiliated by Israel, the Arab masses strive for dignity, and masses that are striving for dignity are unstoppable by any force in the world.
The Turkish government has therefore convened a cabinet meeting and decided that Turkey wants to be on the right side of history and as a matter of principle, wants to proactively take the side of the unleashed masses, as Davutoglu has also told.
The Turkish government has promised the Turkish population in 2002 – after the election victory of the JDP (Justice and Development Party / AKP) – more “transparency, rule of law, more democracy, more political participation and freedom” and it cannot be inconsistent now and just tell, these would be the rights of the Turkish population, but the Arab population has to live under autocratic regimes. The government would then become implausible.
The Turkish government has in addition decided, that it will use the means of efficiently and effectively diplomacy in order to ensure that the transition will be peaceful, and that Turkey would be against violence and also not support violence, but it will use diplomacy and economic means to support the transformation. To support the Arab masses in their quest for dignity, which will inevitably lead to a transformation of the entire Arab world, is a value-oriented and realistic policy, because that would be the inevitably course of history.
This transformation of the Arab world should have actually taken place earlier, in the 90`s, but it was delayed because of the oppression by the autocratic governments; but now is the time for change and the transformation will be rescheduled. Egypt would be the most important part of this, because Egypt is the most populous Arab state, and thus, something like the brain of the Arab world.
The transformation of the Arab world could run here and there a little bumpy, like it was the case in Eastern Europe in Yugoslavia because of the stubborn Milosevic, but it will ultimately take place, just like the transformation of Eastern Europe has proceeded, because historical developments cannot be stopped by any force in the world when the time is ripe for them. Egypt is particularly important because if the transformation in Egypt will be a success, then Egypt will become a flagship of a convoy, in its wake, the other Arab states would be transformed (in line), Davutoglu said.
In terms of economy, the transformation of the Arab world by the “Arab Spring” – as Davutoglu calls the Islamist awakening – has quite by accident the advantageous side effect for Turkey, that Turkey is the centre of the states of the “Arab Spring” and it will thus gain hinterland, which it needs for its rapid rise to world power.
As Turkey was from the beginning of the transformations in the Arab world on the side of the unstoppable masses, and Turkey is a shining example in terms of Islamic democracy and freedom for the masses of the Arab world, the formed governments, that will be formed from the striving of the masses for dignity, follow Turkey, and the Arab States thereby incorporate into the economic system of Turkey, like the states of Eastern Europe were incorporated into the economic and political system of the Western European industrial states at the end of the Cold War by the will of the masses for transformation.
The stable, well developed and progressive democratic-Islamic Turkey will thereby become the economically and geopolitically main winner of the “Arab Spring”; into the, marked by the highest growth, regional centre with a lot of connected Arab hinterland, as Davutoglu has advertised Turkey, mutatis mutandis, to the investors of Goldman Sachs on 22 November 2011
By this revelation of Davutoglu, the historical worldview, the ideological basement and the economic motivation of the disastrous foreign policy are disclosed. From this, the significant fundamental contradictions, the mistakes in strategic thinking, and catastrophic miscalculations of Turkish foreign policy can be derived.
Understanding the Disastrous Foreign Policy of Turkey – Part 1
Understanding the Disastrous Foreign Policy of Turkey – Part 2
Understanding the Disastrous Foreign Policy of Turkey – Part 3
Understanding the Disastrous Foreign Policy of Turkey – Part 4
Understanding the Disastrous Foreign Policy of Turkey – Part 6