Turkey’s former prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu accused President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of stewarding his country away from Europe in an interview with Kathimerini, while slamming Greece purportedly aiming to “lock Turkey in the Gulf of Antalya.”
Davutoglu, who broke with Erdogan’s ruling AK Party in 2019 to set up the rival Gelecek (Future), said that decisions made in the wake of the botched 2016 coup pushed Turkey on a path of greater authoritarianism.
“Despite our warnings, the president and the party leadership decided to change the country’s system of governance. They picked the presidential system. This changed the nature of politics in Turkey,” he said. “The current approach is pulling Turkey away from the European model of democracy and administration.”
This also had an impact on foreign policy, Davutoglu argued. “Institutional contacts and long-term strategy has been replaced by personal contacts. If Erdogan’s relations with [Russian President Vladimir] Putin are good, then relations with Russia are also good. It was the same with [ex-US president Donald] Trump,” he said.
However, the architect of Turkey’s now-defunct “zero problems with neighbors” doctrine appeared to be on the same page as Erdogan on the Eastern Mediterranean.
“Turkey has the longest coastline in the Mediterranean. Whoever thinks that via Kastellorizo and Cyprus they can lock Turkey in the gulf of Antalya, must know that Turkey will react strongly,” Davutoglu said.
Reiterating Turkish claims of “gray zones” in the Aegean, he said that exploratory contacts must continue, but was pessimistic about their prospects. “The problems in the Aegean, like the continental shelf and FIR, will persist; we cannot expect to reach a solution,” Davutoglu said.