Trend commentator: Destroyed taboo

Trend commentator: Destroyed taboo

Trend Middle East Desk Head Rufiz Hafizoglu

Turkey, whose foreign policy is based on the 'cold war' before, radically changed its policies after the Justice and Development Party (AKP) came to power in 2002.

In the face of the ruling party, Ankara began to pursue an independent, successful policy.

Perhaps the AKP's most successful maneuver was to submit its problems for review to the public at large. As the previous governments were aware of them, but did not have the courage to publish them.

The biggest issue was the fight against the Ergenekon terrorist organization, which consisted of former senior military officers and government officials, regarding which many said that it intended to ruthlessly fight to eliminate the republican values and principles of Ataturk.

Because, its members' commitment to the values of Ataturk and the republic was suggested as the reason for their arrest.

Although some said the government would not be able to wage a successful battle against Ergenekon, it seems as though their measures have bore fruit.

The AKP was able to prove its worth during the fight occurred between the army and the government in secret, but mercilessly on the streets of Ankara.

Moreover, Ergenekon's Hammer operation against the government had the reverse effect, and ultimately damaged the organization itself. This was a major government victory, and one might say the ruling power's first victory over a former taboo.

Regarding the democratic reforms undertaken by the government, one could cite the democratic policies taken toward Kurdish, Armenian and Romani issues, which, excluding the Armenian question, have at least partially shown positive results.

It is interesting that the previous governments, equally aware of their problems with the Kurds in the country, as well as with neighboring Arab countries, were not able to solve them.

In contrast to the AKP, the previous governments identified the terms "Kurds" and "PKK" and this served to the terrorist organization PKK, which posed as the defenders of the Kurds. This fact may be cited as one of the main reasons.

Of course, this fact could not fail to attract the attention of the AKP government. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan skillfully separated the terms "PKK" and "Kurds" in the political arena. The AKP's new policy on the PKK-Kurdish issue was a major reason for its success in dealing with the question.

The government also continued to pursue democratic values, while attaching significance to Islamic principles, which are the most powerful factor binding Kurds and Turks in the region.

One point that was left unattended in continuation of the plan on democratic attitudes, is the fact that government attached significance to the Islamic principles.

Because, the Islamic factor is the most powerful factor that unites the Kurds and Turks in the region.

The return of this unifying Islamic factor to Turkish-Kurdish relations may be able to bear fruit in terms of resolving the Kurdish problem.

In Turkey, where political processes develop and change rapidly, the Kurdish issue withdrew onto the background thanks to the democratic maneuvering of Hakan Fidan after his appointment as the head of the National Intelligence Organization. Fidan has years of operational experience abroad.

After his appointment, even the Turkish PM said in a statement that the top priorities of the country's intelligence are no longer inside the country, but rather abroad.

Meanwhile, Fidan's appointment has also not gone unnoticed in the already strained Turkish-Israeli relations.

Following Davos, scandals with the ambassador and the "Flotilla of Freedom" incident, ties worsened further after Israeli officials accused Fidan of having pro-Iranian views and said they feared that Turkey would send both sensitive Turkish and Israeli intelligence to Iran.

Although Israel has not offered evidence for these statements, one can easily read between the lines and see that they may simply not want an alternative intelligence force in the region.

Undoubtedly, besides Israel, the Arab countries in the region - Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - also disagree with the policy pursued by Ankara. Why? Because sooner or later Ankara's reforms in the sphere of democracy and human rights will affect the entire region.

The leaders of the countries listed above are well aware that the winds blowing from Tukey's democracy may result in an end to their reign. However, it is unclear if Ankara intentionally plans on exporting democracy.

Since coming to power, the government has faced a much more important issue than exporting democracy to neighboring countries - the upcoming referendum on amendments to the Constitution on Sept. 12.

The scheduling of the referendum for Sept. 12 is not coincidental.

This is one of the taboo, which the AKP wants to eliminate. The Turkish army 30 years ago, taking advantage of the rights given by the Constitution made the coup, political parties were closed. Coup d'etat in 1980 was a serious blow to democracy and human rights in Turkey.

Many processes occurring today in Turkey lead experts to believe that the ruling party will win in the referendum.

The AKP, which boasts the slogan, "Let's Eliminate All Taboos," is waiting for a more serious test - the parliamentary elections of 2011.

Although it is difficult to say whether the AKP will remain in power after the elections, it is clear that regardless of who will represent the government, Ankara will not change its foreign policy.

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