Murad Etkin: Turkey has sufficient resources for independent policy
In the last 10 years Turkey experienced a great breakthrough in economic development, which defined the forming of its own view on the environment. The ruling party, headed by Premier Recep Erdogan, declared a new course to elimination of problems with neighbors and making Turkey one of the leading economies in the world. Close cooperation with Russia is one of priorities of new economy policy. The well-known political experts of Turkey, the editor-in-chief of Hurriyet Daily News, Murad Etkin, told VK about prospects of relations between two countries and main directions of Turkish foreign policy.
- What can you say about prospects of Russian-Turkish relations in next 3-4 years? What issues are the most important and sharp in the current bilateral relations?
- I believe in next 3-4 years relations between our countries will get new development, especially in such spheres as energy, tourism and construction, as in these spheres close bilateral cooperation has already been formed. In the nearest future Russian investment into tourist business in Turkey is expected. The Turkish side thinks that too intensive cooperation between two countries in the sphere of energy can lead to dependence of Turkey on Russia. To avoid such phenomena Ankara is coursed at distribution of cooperation spheres with the Russian Federation. Promising directions include transport and food producing. One of the most problematic questions is the Cyprus issue. Also I think that more balanced policy of Russia in the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict would contribute to approach of the conflicting parties.
- What is the main direction of the Turkish foreign policy? Does Ankara have sufficient resources to provide foreign policy in various directions simultaneously?
- The current foreign policy of Turkey doesn’t differ dramatically from previous, which was based on the principle formulated by Kemal Ataturk: “Peace in the country, peace in the world.” The current process in the sphere should be considered as the main condition for implementation of the relevant policy. Intensification of the foreign policy is caused by reality. The government of Recep Erdogan is building closer relations and links with both Eastern and Southern neighboring countries. The backbone of such policy is declaration on following independent policy after 50-year membership in NATO. The reason for new policy is general development of economy of the country, industry, which led to necessity of new markets exploitation. I believe that Turkey has sufficient resources for achievement its objectives.
- Many political scientists admit intensification of Turkey’s foreign policy. Along with positive attitude to this fact, some say about the threat of Turkish expansion. How is the foreign policy of Erdogan seen in Turkey?
- You question is connected with the previous one. It would be a big exaggeration to call the current foreign policy of Turkey's “expansion.” Turkey provides policy aimed at preserving what it got. It tries to eliminate threats and risks directed against the state and population. At the same time, it deals with them within strategic limits beyond the country’s territory.
The foreign policy by Erdogan is considered in Turkey as refusal from policy, provided from one united centre by the countries-members NATO. It is consequence of the Cold War policy. Turkey is aimed at active policy, based on authority of each state. The majority of the population accepts and supports this direction.
Interview by Fuad Safarov. Exclusively to VK