Monday, 12 July 2010

'Turkey is at the centre of everything'

The above video – which I noticed on the infognomonpolitics blog – is of a lecture given last week by Turkish foreign minister Ahmet Davoutoglu at Chatham House, a leading foreign policy think-tank here in London.

His theme is Transatlantic Relations, but his objective is to persuade his audience to accept that Turkey’s strategic imperatives are exactly the same as the West’s.

‘Turkey is at the centre of everything,’ Davoutoglu brazenly declares, as he takes us on a tour of all those areas he believes Turkey has influence and interests – Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Bosnia, Kosovo – and makes it clear that he expects the West, particularly Britain and America, to back Turkey’s global vision for itself as if it was their own, and the realisation of which he presents as organic and inevitable – based on Turkey’s geography, economic power and cultural connections.

His audience seems to lap it up, and whereas 10-15 years ago you may have expected questions to a Turkish foreign minister to be about Turkey’s relations with Greece and Cyprus, Armenian genocide recognition or the Kurdish rebellion, none of these issues is ever mentioned. It’s all to do with Turkey and Iran, Turkey and the Middle East, Turkey and Central Asia, Turkey and Russia – i.e the strategic agenda that Turkey has set.

Davoutoglu makes neo-Ottomanism sound so benign – continually referring to peace, democracy, the free market, soft power, and so on – and only once does he let his mask slip – when he adamantly refutes the existence of anti-semitism in Turkish society and portrays Turkey as a paradigm of tolerance and multiculturalism; which proves that for all his eloquence and erudition, he still suffers from the same delusions about Turkey as the dumbest and most blinkered Turk nationalist.


lastgreek said...

'His [Davoutoglou] audience seems to lap it up . . .'

Business people of the unfettered kind no doubt. No morals to bind these pricks. I am sure they got giddy at the prospect of making so much money.

John Akritas said...

Hard to disagree with your assessment, A; particularly your view that the Turks now plan to take it on themselves to be masters of the Eastern Mediterranean. I still think there's a touch of delusion to their grandiose vision and it might all come crashing down for them – a lot depends on how they handle Israel. Greece is nowhere to be seen. In the lecture above, Davoutoglu didn't see fit to mention Greece once – why should he? My only hope is that the Turks get rash or miscalculate and push Greece too far and bring things to a head, concentrating Greek minds in the process.

lastgreek said...

"30,000,000,000," not "30,000,0000,000"

I guess i lost count of my zeros.

Anonymous said...


I can not but agree with Anon and John. Pasok and all the other democratic parties which held sway, since the fall of the " Fascist Junta" , have been ransacking the nation and dispossesing the Greek people. Proof ????? The proof is all around us. 35 years of democratic , pseudo democratic, kleptocratic partitocracy. Welcome to the new Greece, bankrupt, dispossesed, alienated, colonized . Proof???. I can not find any more proof than the present condition of our country. The laughing stock of Europe, the butt of every filthy joke. Chronic Unemployment, pensioners robbed of their pensions, paltry wages comparable to thirld world standards, the youth bereft of ideals, goals and a constructive horizon. It is difficult for our expatriate brothers to comprehend out pitiable condition.
One does not need a lecture by a PHD professor or a high falluted intellectual shooting statistics and references to witness the degrading situation our country is living through.

lastgreek said...

We can't really talk about democracy in Greece. Since the end of the Second World War, the interests of the Greek people have been subservient to the United States. Of course, by "United States" we mean the American corporations and not the American people themselves since they too hardly have any say in their own affairs. I still have this vivid image, as a teenager visiting Greece...looking out into the Bay of Piraeus and seeing this massive, American aircraft carrier, its deck replete with fighter jets. Right then and there, I got my first lesson in American hegemony.

To be continued...doorbell rang :-)

lastgreek said...

Actually, John, Turkey is indeed at the centre of everything--at the centre of terrorism in the region!

Turkey: no regard for the precepts of international law.

What about Turkey's treaty obligations?

Hahaha . . .

Here's a bit of trivia about one of my "favourite" American presidents, the war criminal (seriously, have not all American presidents, with the exception of one or two, been war criminals?) and part-time rapist Bill Clinton:

In 1997, Clinton authorized massive military arms sales to Turkey. How massive? Well, in that single year--alone!--more American arms flooded into Turkey than in the entire cold war period combined up to that point!

Why do you think Turkey is in Afghanistan?