High-level statements that the government finally gave the green light to Sweden’s membership at the NATO summit in Vilnius created cautious optimism in the relevant circles that Turkey’s interests and especially its security may finally be properly observed.
However: we would like to state that we, the Republican People’s Party, do not agree in any way with the policy followed up until this point. The steps taken by the decisions of one man, and his approach which resembles blackmail, has dealt a great blow to our reliability and predictability in the eyes of our friends and allies.
In addition, this foreign policy does not suit Turkey at all. Turkey has lost its reputation in the process. The trust we have established over many years in foreign policy has been replaced by insecurity, and our credibility and consistency have been severely damaged. This government is responsible for this.
The insecurity has caused very serious losses to Turkey both politically and economically. Who would consider direct investment in a country that has neither rule of law nor justice? There is no doubt that the government and its supporters are responsible for this shameful state.
From the beginning of the process, one erratic move has led to another. No matter how justified the initial arguments may be, the processes of Finland and Sweden’s membership to NATO have been mismanaged.
While we should seek our rights using NATO’s unique mechanisms, NATO has been offended by the Turkish government, due to extremely ugly policies that resemble blackmail – especially of our friends and allies, our international interlocutors.
As a matter of fact, just before the Vilnius Summit, President Erdoğan asked a relevant question regarding Sweden: “How can a state that does not distance itself from terrorist organizations contribute to NATO?”
But the President refrained from explaining why we ignored the fact that Russia allows the activity of the official representation of the YPG in its capital, not to mention its support for the PKK.
In addition, Erdoğan did not dare to subject other NATO member countries such as the USA, which supports the YPG/PKK elements, to a similar evaluation, but did not hesitate to put all responsibility on Finland and Sweden. For example, he did not even think of mentioning any concrete sanctions against the USA due to its ongoing support for the YPG/PKK.
The reason is quite simple: because, sitting in a glass mansion one cannot throw stones at one’s neighbor. In addition, the government’s main goal is to gain ground in domestic politics. But this cheap politics offers no other result than to make us ridiculous, especially internationally.
The government completely destroyed our maneuvering area in foreign policy by making hollow threats to use only in domestic politics against Finland and Sweden, which have been supporting our European Union membership from the beginning.
In this context, our reliability and reputation in organizations such as the Council of Europe, of which we are founding members, and especially NATO, have also been greatly damaged.
Again, at NATO’s last Vilnius Summit, the government was able to request that the European Union (EU) countries revive our membership process so that we could approve Sweden’s NATO membership without getting bored.
However, Erdoğan knows very well that the verbal support of EU member states, or Sweden alone, will not mean anything until Turkey brings the EU harmonization process to a certain stage, primarily regarding our legal and justice system.
Another big mistake of Erdoğan’s is that he uses foreign policy as material for his domestic policy agenda by insisting on the mistake he constantly repeats. There is no end to this. Cheap heroism works in domestic politics, but the cost of this in foreign policy is very heavy, as we have experienced many times thus far.
We regret that the negotiation process regarding Finland’s and especially Sweden’s memberships in NATO has been carried out with such unseriousness that Turkey’s reputation has been sacrificed to empty heroism. These maneuvers do not suit Turkey’s honorable foreign policy tradition.
In the context of the government’s decision, announced by President Erdoğan, to give Sweden the green light on NATO membership, we would like to believe that Turkey received a positive response to its justified demands from Sweden on the fight against terrorism.
If so, nothing could be more natural than to support this decision, which we believe will strengthen NATO. In that case, without further damaging our reputation with empty threats, we should bring Sweden’s membership to the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as soon as possible. Let us then discuss together and manifest the national will, not that of a single person.
One of the biggest mistakes is to make foreign policy according to the codes of domestic politics, the feelings and support of the base, with ideological motives. Ideology-based diplomacy, over time, makes you a part of all problems. You become increasingly lonely, as seen in our recent political history. You begin to lose your friends and allies. Trying to solve the issues within NATO by materializing domestic politics brings more harm than good.
The Republican People’s Party is not in favor of bringing the bilateral problems between Turkey and other countries to NATO. It should not be forgotten that Turkey’s EU and NATO memberships are decisive in its foreign policy and its participation in the political, economic and social structure of the West gives it strength.
Decisions in foreign policy are taken not according to the ideological agenda of a single person or group, but in accordance with the institutional mind and the traditional foreign policy principles of the country, with a supra-partisan understanding in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, where the national will is manifested.
The Republican People’s Party believes that resolving Turkey’s legitimate demands through dialogue with Sweden will be more beneficial for Turkey’s long-term interests. Therefore, the CHP will support Sweden’s membership in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey as well as Finland’s NATO membership.
This article has been translated and compiled from the author’s Twitter page.
The views and opinions expressed above are the author’s and do not reflect those of the Free Turkish Press.