Turkey claims to influence in region as successor of Ottoman Empire: Trend News commentator

Turkey claims to influence in region as successor of Ottoman Empire: Trend News commentator

Rufiz Hafizoglu, head of Trend Middle East desk 

After reformist Justice and Development Party (AKP - Adalet ve kalkınma partisi) came to power in Turkey in 2002, changes were felt in country's foreign and domestic policy in the true sense of the word.

Although the opposition nationalist and conservative Islamist forces did not so much believe in the success of AKP after a "small" victory, leading to the triumph, the opposition forces had to accept their fate.

With its consolidation in power, the AKP has brought innovation in the polar Turkish society. Of course, it was impossible to prevent polarization, instead the political elite of the country exchanged seats - this time liberal Islamists gained the status of the political elite.

Without doubt, AKP's services merit in gaining the political elite status is unexampled. The most successful acts as the ruling party were steps, marking a revolution in domestic and foreign policy in the true sense of the word.

If whenever the issues of domestic and foreign policy were solved by the army, AKP managed to eliminate this tradition. But undoubtedly all, including government, have the Turkish Ottoman ambitions. The fact that successful internal and external policies were not carried out in Turkey, in one way or another way it restricted these ambitions.

AKP knew about the weaknesses of the country in those or other matters and the reformers had to take drastic steps to further strengthen its image. At least because the previous government, the AKP also had Ottoman ambitions, and the ruling party was aware of what problems caused dissatisfaction for ordinary people.

For this reason, it is time to carry out fundamental reforms in order to be strengthened.

Despite the start of negotiations on Turkey's entrance to the EU in 2004, this process delayed. The main reason for this is the Kurdish problem, Turkey's failure to implement the requirements to open borders with Armenia and its refusal to recognize the "Armenian genocide" committed by the Ottoman Empire in 1915.

In fact, the AKP knew that the doors of the EU are closed for Turkey. But despite this, it continued holding reforms in the country in order to join the EU. Many experts believe that the reforms carried out by the AKP in fact were carried out not with the same objective, but in order to become the most democratic state in the Middle East, super-state.

Along with the reforms implemented, making significant changes to foreign policy, Turkey has become a mediator in resolving the problems of the region. Starting dialogues Syria-Israel, Israel-Lebanon, Palestine-Israel and Pakistan-Afghanistan is a result of Ankara's foreign policy.

In fact, the steps taken for the sake of "membership" to the EU, were carried out with the aim to become the strongest in the Middle East. However, along with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Israel and Iran seeks hegemony in the Middle East.

In such a situation, it is time for Ankara, who played an active role in resolving the frozen conflicts in the region and the world, to say its word. Palestine existed in the same region, which Ankara regards as a potential Ottoman territory, which left the Arab States and the Arab-Israeli conflict. The Palestinian problem and the Arab-Israeli conflict have acquired such a status that "solving" this problem, it is possible to gain prestige in the region and Islamic world.

Based on historical principles, Turkey, which claims for Ottoman influence, can not harm its relations with the Arab states, but strengthening these ties was one of the priorities for Ankara.

Israel's conducting military actions in the Gaza Strip in 2008 caused regression in relations between Ankara-Tel-Aviv and the beginning of the Arab-Turkish relations. The first reciprocal step of Ankara to protest against military actions in Gaza was to eliminate the Turkish-Israeli inter-parliamentary friendship group.

In Davos the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan asked the President of Israel "one minute" to comment on events in Gaza, and thereby enhanced his credibility both inside the country and in Arab and Islamic countries. Erdogan returned to his country as "conqueror of Davos".

After the Turkish-Israeli relations receded into the background, Ankara had to take some steps to strengthen its power in the region. For this reason, Ankara re-considered its relations with Baghdad and Damascus, eliminated visa regime with Syria and signed 48 documents in Iraq during one day.
To please Iran, it was also necessary to take appropriate steps, and speaking at the UN General Assembly, Erdogan noted that while the whole world is discussing Iran's nuclear program, no one is interested in Israel's nuclear program.  

Later, Ankara refused to conduct joint military exercises U.S. - Israel - Turkey, and the conqueror of Davos, Erdogan, said that it was done at the desire of the Turkish people.

In fact, on the backdrop of all these events, Turkey openly states throughout the region that Ankara is the only force and power in the region.

The time will tell whether Turkey will realize its Ottoman ambitions in the region.

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