We were among the few politicians and writers that disapproved of the aggressive remarks made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Mouloud Jawish Oglu, in which they accused Iran of working to partition of Syria and Iraq, convert them to Shia Islam, acting on ethnic Persian interests, and adopting policies that will disturb stability in the region. We did not disapprove out of love for Iran, but rather out of care for Turkey’s credibility and interests. We expected that both would retract their statements, especially after the strongly worded warning that came from Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and according to past experiences, and a deep reading of Turkish official statements in the past six years.
Our predictions were well-placed. It wasn’t long before the two retracted their statements. Mr. Jawish Oglu has now made a statement to the Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), published on Wednesday, saying “we will never forget Iran’s support and how it stood by Turkey, both government and people, during the failed coup of July 15”, adding “there is much common ground between Iran and Turkey,, and the cooperation between the Iranian and Turkish peoples has helped foster these fraternal relationships,” he ended his statement saying “the two countries need more dialogue in order to cement their relationship and prevent any misunderstanding,” this may signal a trip to Iran in the very near future, by Mr. Oglu, or Erdogan.
This is not the first time we’ve seen such retractions, and there’s actually a large volume documenting such instances, starting with the apology to Russia, the reinstating of strategic relations with the Israeli occupation, the foregoing of all terms for the removal of Gaza’s embargo, and now courting Iran and talk of fraternal relations.
Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, was strong and quick in his response to Erdogan and his counterpart Jawish Oglu when he said “Turkey is an ungrateful neighbor with a weak memory. They accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran of sectarianism, as if they had forgotten our position the night of the military coup when we stayed up until morning following developments even though Turkey’s government is not Shia”
Yes, the memory of the Turkish administration is a weak one, and it is ungrateful, and that is why it is now surrounded by enemies instead of friends, unlike 10 years ago. It has played a major role in instigating sectarian wars, and threatening the stability of most of its neighbours, especially Syria. It still occupies part of its lands under the pretense of establishing a safe zone.
If the Turkish government foresaw that it would have to apologize to President Putin (in Russian nonetheless), to avoid his wrath, and the lifting of the economic sanctions he imposed on it, then why would it shoot down his plane near the border with Syria under the pretense of it violating its airspace for a few seconds? If it was going to retract its aggressive statements towards Iran, then why make them in the first place?
These “unruly” statements, and the quick retractions, have shaken trust in Turkey’s positions, and have greatly diminished its credibility, reflecting negatively on its regional and international standing, a matter which gravely hurts its admirers who were very much taken aback with its experience in democratic governance couple with unprecedented growth rates.
Turkey’s stability is now on the line because of the policies its government has adopted, increasing its enemy count, providing the proper fuel for terrorism and separatists inside its own borders. The Turkish economy, which once called for “pride” for its success in the region and the world, is now in decline and on the verge of collapse. Istanbul’s hotels, as related to me by a friend who was there last week, are almost empty of tourists, and the Turkish Lira is bouncing up and down under the 4Lirs/$ roof. Yet still, Turkish officials have taken up a profession of creating enemies for themselves, and losing one friend after another in record time.
The bet on the anti-Islamic and anti-Muslim American President Donald Trump is a losing wager, and to side with him against Iran, Russia, or China, is a dangerous gamble. Turkey’s true power lies in its good relations with its neighbors, and the opening of channels of dialogue to settle all pending crises, thereby preserving its cultural heritage in the coexistence of all its sects and ethnicities, firmly cementing its demographic and geographical unity, and perpetuate it throughout the region. To go in the opposite direction is to opt for partition, civil war, economic collapse, which we do not want for Turkey or any other country in the region because it will suffer the most…time will tell.
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