Issued by CEMO Center - Paris
ad a b
ad ad ad

How will Erdogan manage his country's foreign relations in his new presidential term?

Wednesday 07/June/2023 - 08:58 PM
The Reference
Mahmoud al-Batakoushi

The results of the Turkish presidential elections, which ended with Recep Tayyip Erdogan winning a new presidential term, raise many questions about Ankara's foreign policy in the next five years, especially since the recent era witnessed many interferences in the affairs of neighboring countries such as Syria, Iraq and Libya, which Turkey considers its “ancestral legacy”. It also provides military services and advice to many African countries, in addition to Azerbaijan, where Ankara contributed to supporting the latter in its war with Armenia and the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which imposed great economic burdens on it, in addition to the strained relations with the international community after it abandoned its previous policies of zeroing out problems it had pursued until recent years.


Opposing policies

Turkey recently discovered the size of the losses it incurred due to its conflicting policies and its rapprochement at many times with Russia, as well as the purchase of S-400 air defense systems, which prevented Ankara from receiving the advanced American F-35 aircraft and excluded Turkey from its manufacturing program, in addition to the sanctions imposed by Washington under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act against the largest organization for the development of Turkish defense industries, as well as the escalating disputes over border demarcation in the eastern Mediterranean, which diminished Ankara’s hopes of realizing the dream of joining the European Union.

Ankara is also continuing its balanced role in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war without siding with one party at the expense of the other, in addition to its attempt to improve trade relations with Moscow, as Turkey constitutes a base for re-exports, allowing Russia to circumvent economic sanctions and access foreign markets.


360-degree politics

The biggest evidence of this is the statements of Erdogan's chief security adviser, Ibrahim Kalin, who confirmed that Turkey is trying to manage a 360-degree foreign policy, explaining that Ankara does not want to favor any particular issue, actor, region or country over another. Erdogan had confirmed in statements before the second round of the elections that he intends to maintain the same policy in relations with Russia and other countries as before, adding that he will not challenge Russia as the Republican People’s Party (CHP) did, and that they have been in contact with the United States, China and the West and will continue on this approach from now on.

This foreshadows Washington's imposition of sanctions against Ankara, which ultimately harms the Turkish people, while Ankara has recently recalculated its positions and is working to improve its relations with neighboring countries to reduce conflicts and open new markets for its products to revive its economy, which has been exhausted by wars, conflicts and the corona virus (Covid 19), as well as Erdogan's financial policies that were the cause of the collapse of the Turkish lira.

It is expected that Erdogan's new policy during his presidential term will correct many of the mistakes of the past era, especially that the world is currently witnessing processes for reconfiguring a new international order that may be multipolar, so Ankara is trying to improve relations with the countries of the region. This has already begun to be implemented recently by restoring relations with Syria and developing a plan to return the refugees, as intelligence meetings were held at the level of the defense and foreign ministers, including Turkey, Russia, Iran and the Syrian regime. The same thing happened with the Gulf countries, which will help Turkey attract capital and give life to its exhausted economy.


Turkish-African relations

It is expected that the coming period will witness the continuation of Turkish relations with African countries, after the past years witnessed clear activity for Ankara in the countries of the continent through the portal of cultural grants, humanitarian aid, and cooperation in the security and military fields through the SADAT Company, which is a military arm of Turkey, and it will also work on resolving the Libyan crisis, in coordination with Egypt this time, to establish security and stability in the country that has been suffering for more than ten years.