Political Observation - Political Debate on Turkey and Erdogan’s Situation from an International Perspective
Political Debate on Turkey and Erdoğan’s Situation from an International Perspective
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Question: One of the exigencies of sound understanding of current political affairs is perceiving the reality of the states in terms of either being influential in the international situation, proceeding in the orbit of influential powers, client states or independent states. In successive publications by the party, it has been suggested that Turkey has been working towards becoming independent of the US in her domestic and foreign political decisions. Hence, what are the facts indicating this change, especially as the events could be construed as being a rebellion by a client state due to a clash of interests, or a concoction of some specific roles Turkey would execute as part of an American plot to deceive domestic and international public opinion? And would it be possible to issue a leaflet expounding the opinion of the party in a conspicuous and conclusive manner vis-à-vis Turkey’s status quo?
Answer: Political analysis involves exploring and diagnosing current events and facts in complete isolation of emotions, inclinations and beliefs; and the domestic or foreign political standpoint of the state does not necessarily correlate with its doctrinal identity. For instance, if Erdoğan became independent, this does not necessarily mean he has become religiously righteous. As for the viewpoint towards Erdoğan, it is gauged by his adherence to Islam and his good political performance; this, up until now, has not materialised. He still adopts a dangerous belief suggesting that “religiosity is for individuals rather than the system and the state”. This is what he has declared during more than one televised interview and such a belief has nothing to do with Islam.
As for his political performance and his domestic and foreign alliances, these are still dominated by narrow expedient criteria. In order to shed light on the reality of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would be imperative to perceive the following:
1 – The topic of Erdoğan is without a doubt tricky due to his aversion to some US policies such as his rejection of the Kurdish entity and support for others such as his contribution to the Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI) declared by George Bush Jr to the G8 in 2004. Hence, although the functions that the rulers undertake on behalf of major powers tend to heavily influence the perception of their affiliation to foreign powers and subsequent categorisation as collaborators, judging the rulers’ affiliation in this manner falls under comprehensive analogy, generalisation and logic. This inevitably corrupts the opinion. It would be, therefore, imperative to refer to the political concepts that regulate judgement in order to expound political situations, events and comments and link them to the pertinent sound information because gathering news to support or disprove without scrutiny and validation with reality would lead to corrupt processing and subjective receipt of news and information.
First, we ought to realise that affiliation and collaboration are not a perpetual contract from which the agent cannot break free, or which prevents the agent from changing sides or becoming independent. Such contracts are based on expediency and they can be broken if any occurrences warranting such a decision arise. A collaborating ruler is the one who colludes with a foreign side in implementing its initiatives and agendas; thus he has no willpower in foreign policy and he is restricted in domestic policy. As for the independent ruler, he is in control of his foreign and domestic policies irrespective of his ability to exercise his willpower or not, provided the impediments preventing him are valid and not conspiratorial because the independence of the ruler is linked to his volition rather than his ability to effectuate it.
2 – The difference between the client state and the satellite state lies in the type of the rulers’ relationship with major powers. The client state is led by a collaborator of a major power; thus, he executes what is required of him in foreign policy without any objections. As for domestic policy, he has the competency to handle it provided it does not impact on the interests of the major power. In client states, the political milieu, by and large, collaborates with a major power; nevertheless, it is the decision-maker and executor within the state of the foreign and domestic policy which determines whether he is a collaborator or merely one of the major power’s men.
There are several types of collaborators; some of them are coerced into succumbing since their survival is in the hands of their masters due to being implicated in issues threatening their lives or their reputations. Such types of collaborators have no choice but to execute the orders of their masters even if their lives were under threat; this is usually deduced from their behaviour which is by and large characterised by misadventures and disregard towards their subjects, such as al-Sisi, Mohammed bin Salman and bin Zayed. They can easily be replaced and rebellion is far from their minds. And some of them are subservient on the basis of a deal that helps them accede to power, without being implicated in a scandal or immoral issue and blackmailed by his masters as a result. This type of collaborator could become independent or defect to another power in case they are targeted by their masters, once they obtain the ability to threaten the interests of major powers and do away with them, as is the case with Turkey (and Iran), if only its leaders were doctrinal and brave. Ability in this context does not mean possessing military power matching the major powers’ but rather having a popular base to protect them, and having a state free from any foreign influence that may destroy their resistance in the face of major powers.
As for the satellite state, i.e. the state that proceeds in the orbit of a major power, it is totally independent in its domestic affairs. It can freely choose its rulers and its ruling system and determine its technilogical and commercial development. It may also compete with major powers in other than the political field. And it is nevertheless subservient to a major power in its foreign policy, as is the case with the European states that are not affiliated to the US; these states proceed in America’s orbit voluntarily or feel compelled since such an approach guarantees their national security, even if it clashed with their immediate interests, and matches their capacity and influence. These states do not proceed with a major power conspiratorially and treacherously as is the case with the affiliated states which execute the instructions to fulfil the interests of major powers even if it were at the expense of their own interests and societal and national security.
This is unlike the states that secure the interests of a major power in one single issue rather than every issue, since executing an instruction in one single issue denotes that the ruler is one of the men of a major foreign power rather than one of its agents or one of those who proceed in its orbit. Such rulers may clash with major powers and may deal with more than one major power in various issues of their foreign policy.
3 – The description of the state is linked to the situation of the ruler and it changes according to the change in the situation of the ruler. He may become independent or he may turn into a man of a foreign power after having been a collaborator or an independent ruler. The point at issue in describing the state of affairs of the states and their rulers is identifying the progress of events and interpreting the contradictions that have crammed the political scene in the Middle East in an unprecedented manner, namely America’s targeting of its agents and the situation in which they have ended up, in order to depict the outlines that expound the status quo instead of resorting to logic and generalisation which never lead to a sound and controlled perception. This is achieved by discerning the standpoints, motives and actions of the rulers and the side with which they proceed; if the standpoints of the ruler in the files that are deemed crucial to his country clashed with the policy of the US, this would mean that the relationship is ambiguous and thus it would be wrong to interpret them without probing the reality behind targeting him to ascertain whether the issue threatens his continuance in power or not.
As for the question “what are the facts indicating this change, especially as events could be construed as being a rebellion by a client state due to a clash of interests, or a concoction of some specific roles Turkey would execute as part of an American plot to deceive domestic and international public opinion?”, rebellion means independence and whether this is temporary or otherwise, this depends on Erdoğan ending or continuing his rebellion; this scenario would be down to two matters:
1 – If his rebellion emanated from his own convictions and abilities to sever his ties with America in which case he would remain independent.
2 – If he is targeted by America for a reason, then the relationship evolves with the reason in existence and in its absence. In other words, permanent independence depends on willpower rather than the status quo or the cause of rebellion; and in both cases, rebellion means independence.
It is clear that Erdoğan’s rebellion against America is a reaction to its continued targeting of him. He is unlikely to return to the domain of obedience despite the fact that he has been seeking a conciliatory relationship on condition that his future and the future of Turkey would not be undermined. As for the presence of a host of understandings on certain issues, such as the agreement concluded in the wake of operation Peace Spring, these occur on the basis of interest rather than affiliation.
The tension between Turkey and America is not a mere difference or a passing crisis because it is linked to a host of strategic issues such as the Kurdish and Syrian files and their impact on the Turkish entity, and the relationship with Russia who initially entered the Syrian scene with a green light from America but soon managed to control the situation, have a say in the matter and barter with America over Crimea and Ukraine. The rift between Erdoğan and America is also linked to America’s attempt to topple him in the last two elections and to Turkey’s non-compliance with the dictates of the US administration, in addition to their differences over several files.
Turkey had been the US’s partner in the Greater Middle East Initiative (GMEI) and Erdoğan never made a secret of it. He had been hoping to topple the Syrian president and establish a regime with an Islamic flavour which would have shored up his authority. He had believed the American promises before he realised that the fireball was heading in his direction, that the fragmentation of Syria would be applied to Turkey herself and that the dismantling of Deash was designed to replace it with the Kurdish Protection Units (YPG); this is why America backed the YPG in controlling the areas of Daesh and this confirmed to Erdoğan about America’s intentions to target him and divide the Turkish state. Those American designs widened the rift between America and Erdoğan and drove the latter to attack the Kurdish units stationed in Afrin to thwart America’s plan to germinate a Kurdish entity from the army she had established along the Syrian-Turkish border. It is also clear that Russia is exploiting the conflicting interests between Turkey and America, agreeing to all Turkish military operations along the border to widen the rift between Ankara and Washington. As for America, she hoped Erdoğan would be embroiled in a war of attrition that would move the conflict inside Turkey, impacting negatively on Turkish security and the economy, undermine the foundation of the regime and blast it from within. Moreover, America’s successive targeting of Turkey’s security and economy to weaken and topple Erdoğan has been conspicuous, not to mention the noticeable American backing of the Turkish opposition in recent years via Saudi and the UAE. America also exploited the rift between Ali Babacan, Ahmet Davutoğlu, Abdullah Gul and Erdoğan to fragment the AKP. Consequently, some leading figures within the party have been calling for maintaining the relationship with America and the West while others, headed by Erdoğan and Binali Yıldırım, have been calling for resisting the American designs.
What is palpable is that Erdoğan has turned his back on some of commitments to America and he has been attempting to impose a host of restrictions on its initiatives in the region. This does not place Turkey in the camp of affiliated states; and securing some of America’s interests does not categorise it as an affiliated state since it is doing so out of interest. America’s persistence to bring Erdoğan back to the domain of obedience or get rid of him has driven him towards seeking total independence. Erdoğan’s stance has been characterised with stubbornness and defiance coupled with action on the ground since the rift began and came out in the open, especially in respect of the Kurdish file, the campaign to neutralise his formidable opponents at home, the relationship with Russia and the arms deal he concluded with her and the tense relationship with Europe. And despite the presence of some muscle-flexing, propaganda and an attempt to enhance his own popularity and that of his party, the rift is nevertheless genuine.
There are certain files related to the strategy of the US in which Turkey is still involved, but at the current moment” her involvement is merely pragmatic and expedient and not because she is affiliated as was the case in the past. This is corroborated by the S400 missile deal Erdoğan concluded with Russia, his dispute with America over the F35 jetfighter order, impeding the rise of the Kurdish entity, purging Turkey from the most important organisation used by America against Erdoğan, namely the Gülen organssation, turning the Turkish ruling system into a presidential system to widen his powers and strengthen his domestic influence at the expense of America’s agents.
The aforementioned denotes the change in Turkey’s situation; and this is her current situation. America could, however, recapture Turkey if it succeeded in toppling Erdoğan and putting an end to his policy. It is worth mentioning in this context that the US is attempting to recapture Turkey at this stage under the principle of “Turkey is bigger than Erdoğan”, according to analyses and opinions of some political forces within the US decision-making circles such as Senators James Lankford, Thom Tillis and Jeanne Shaheen; they believe that Putin’s showdown with the Turkish president and the threat of sanctions in the wake of the Russian jetfighter downing has forced the latter to position himself exactly where Russia wanted. Hence, economic pressure would eventually lead to subjugating Erdoğan or toppling him in a soft manner. The secret behind America’s tackling of the Turkish crisis in this manner lies in the fact that Erdoğan has succeeded in purging Turkey from the most powerful US hotbeds of influence within the political circles, army, security services and judiciary, in addition to entrenching his constitutional competencies via the presidential system.
In the light of a genuine rift between Erdoğan and America, it would be implausible to interpret Erdoğan’s statements as being designed to deceive domestic and foreign public opinion, such as the statements in which he said: “Turkey is no longer that weak state that obeys orders; she has become a powerful state which would not put up with any hostility towards her” and “certain powers are attempting to divide the countries of the region between them, and there are those who think that Turkey should be part of this dividing but our answer is: We have no land to offer you.” Erdogan also stated that his country would not be intimidated by anyone when the matter was related to her survival and her future.
Finally, having monitored the political progress of Erdoğan and his party since his rift with the American administration erupted, it has transpired that Turkey is heading towards total independence in her political decision-making; it has become clear afterwards that Turkey is an independent state in her political decision-making and that she does not execute any role assigned to her. However, she is unable to act in numerous political files domestically and abroad due to constraints i.e. her failure to act is due to inability rather than volition and due to the balance of power tilting in favour of the major states and the world order. When she executes the volition of the US, she does it according to her own interest rather than affiliation. As for her reluctance to act on certain files with the ability to do so, such as adopting the system of Islam, this is down to the beliefs and the concepts of the ruler or to pragmatic and expedient considerations, or due to the sensitivity and precariousness of those files; and in ruling matters, this has no bearing on the status of the ruler or the state in terms of its independence or otherwise.
Some of us may ask, if it has become preponderant to the party that president Erdoğan has effectively become independent in his political decision-making and that Turkey is capable of defending herself against a war of intervention, and since she is the most recent country connected to the Khilafah State, why would the party not attempt to meet president Erdoğan and review with him Turkey’s domestic and foreign issues, as well as the rest of the Muslims’ issues, and give him some advice?
The answer to this is that the party had been eager to have such as meeting; it compiled a letter requesting from president Erdoğan to meet a delegation of the party. The issues the party wanted to discuss with Erdoğan were determined and the letter was handed about a year ago to one of the Turkish embassies. The embassy returned the letter requesting a translation into Turkish, and once the letter was translated it was delivered once again by hand. The party has not received a reply yet despite the fact that it had sent the letter to whom is capable of delivering it to president Erdoğan from inside Turkey. Alas, the party’s request for his delegation to meet the Turkish president remains unanswered up until now.
17 Rabi’ al-Awwal 1441h
14 November 2019