Friday, August 22, 2014

Turkey's new Prime Minister - Ahmet Davutoglu

As expected, Ahmet Davutoglu was named Prime Minister of Turkey. The former Minister of Foreign Affairs is the architect of Turkey's current foreign policy direction.

President Erdogan and Prime Minister Davutoglu represent a Turkish Institution that the world better get used to dealing with. I use the word institution because the AKP (Justice and Development Party) is shaping a Turkey that will run a certain way long after Erdogan and Davutoglu are dead.

Davutoglu believes in Turkey's "Strategic Depth". He's a true geoplitical thinker. His entire foreign policy is predicated on the fact that Turkey's unique geostrategic position has provided them with advantages. Not only has it guaranteed their nation state status, it also enables them to influence multiple adjacent regions. They control the Bosporous, can influence the Caucasus, the Balkans, and have a historical leadership role in the Middle East.

The current institution in Turkey loathes the Cold War days. Turkey was but a handful of nations out on the periphery. Caught in the middle of an argument between two nations playing their own geopolitical chess game.
The AKP is looking to lead Turkey beyond their old alignments and spin the globe in such a manner where the center is on Anatolia. I highly doubt Turkey's membership in NATO lasts much longer. Similarly, I believe their application to join the EU is more about appearances and European diplomacy than anything else. Turkey's plans are to lead not to join.

Davutoglu has coined the phrase "zero problems" when describing relations with Turkey's neighbors. They're trying their hardest to not offend anyone and to repair the relationships that aren't so great. The hope is that eventually Turkey's economic power on top of their "soft power" will begin to seep deeper into their periphery. Eventually the entire Middle East, parts of Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the Balkans (all former Ottoman areas) will all see Turkey the ideal model and look to them for leadership.

"Zero Problems" is most definitely phase one in the AKP institution's foreign policy plan. We're sure to see a more assertive Turkey in the years to come. They see themselves as leaders blessed with the geography that enables them to influence those around them. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is a defining representation of the current regimes direction. This institution is being built to sustain itself for years to come.