Turkey has lost the hope of joining EU. It can be discussed either it is Turkey’s fault or EU’s fault but it is almost certain that it will not take place even western aligned political parties will rule the government in future, Turkey will not long for EU membership.
President Erdogan has visited the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus in July and announced that Turkey will continue to explore energy in the region. This is important to emphasize that Turkey will follow the “Blue Homeland” doctrine. This would not only serve the purpose of new foreign policy but to secure the coastline, too. Therefore, it is logical. The most important gain of this strategy would be distracting public from ongoing problems at home. Covid-19 pandemic has disturbed the economy, unemployment rises and foreign investments are reduced dramatically. President Erdogan needs to distract the public attention from economic problems and such exploration activities will also help Ankara to unite country against foreign threats. However, covid-19 does not only disturb Ankara but almost entire globe. Therefore, Ankara should remember that it might not be easy to control the tension in the regions and it might lead to a very different path.
Turkey has given the idea of uniting the Cyprus. The Kofi Annan plan was voted and accepted by Turkish side but Greek Cypriots rejected it. Despite the fact that EU has warned that rejection of plan would cause great stress in the region, Greek Cypriots have been accepted as member of EU following its rejection. This caused great anger and disappointment among the Turks. It was a great chance and this has been rejected by Greek Cypriots. Now Turkey considers that Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus shall win the independence and two state solution shall be in place.
Moreover, Turkey has been claiming that the islands near Turkey are supposed to remain demilitarized which is one of the conditions set under 1923 Lausanne Treaty. In order to clarify the ambiguities, Turkey wants some parts of the Lausanne Treaty to be modified. By doing so, Turkey believes to achieve a greater economic zone can be secured under modified treaty.
Following rejection of Kofi Annan plan and other developments such as reemergence of Russian threat, aggressive Iran, growing anti-Turkish coalition compelled Ankara to adopt more assertive strategy which depends military industry and aggressive foreign policy with delicate moves.
In East Mediterranean, Turkey sees that it is boxed with counties establishing exclusive economic zone which energy was discovered. That pushed Turkey to develop “Blue Homeland” Strategy which enables Turkey to develop its navy and protect its coasts or its interest overseas. Although we are thinking that it is just a small portion of the Grand Strategy, it caused great surprises in the region. First bilateral agreement was signed with Libya in 2019. By doing so, Turkey tried to achieve two major success; first is to cut the line between Greece and Cyprus-Israel coalition. Second it would give more room to Turkey to contest strong navy and claim to economic benefit if achieving energy discoveries. That would help to distract constituents from the trouble of economy.
Even though, pandemic affected the global markets including energy market, Turkey’s hunger to energy will not fade away. Underwater gas pipeline will not be feasible to build soon in Mediterranean due to emerging market status but it is just not important. Turkey wants to reduce the cost of gas to its economy. Thus, would eventually enable country to be more competitive in global market.
Turkey has to act with careful steps. First of all, US withdrawal from Middle East does not mean that US has no interest in the region. US would like to see Mediterranean region as stable since it is the fastest route from Atlantic to Indian Ocean. While US intends to counter rising China, control over Indian Ocean is critical.
Second, Turkey needs cash flow from foreign investor to keep the economy floating. That means, Ankara cannot keep living with tensions since tension has negative effect on economy.
Third, despite the fact that Turkey develops good relations with Russia in recent years, the reemerging Russia in Mediterranean region means threats to south Turkey coast. Therefore, it has to be at good relations with US.
Therefore, Turkey has to move with careful moves while expanding its influence in the region. Turkey, regardless who is in power, has to seek energy exploration in Mediterranean region in order to reduce the cost of producing goods (due to energy prices). Thus, would enable to be more competitive in international market. Moreover, Ankara has to check Russia & US in Syria & Iraq while increasing its foothold in both countries. Turkey has to access the technology to develop airplane engine, tank engine, drone engine and targeting systems which will help Turkey to have independent foreign policy. All these moves require a delicate foreign policy as well as decisive actions once required.