OPINION

Turkey on the edge

Turkey’s much-hyped “zero-problems” foreign policy has turned out to be a flop as the country finds itself facing a number of open fronts. That ambitious dogma was masterminded by newly installed Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu during his tenure at the country’s Foreign Ministry. Davutoglu now has to deal with the fallout from his own policy.

Turkey’s relationship with Washington has become fragile, if not explosive. No one really knows what happened exactly, or when, but there is clearly a great deal of mistrust separating the Obama-Biden team from the Erdogan-Davutoglu duo. Even experts on Turkish-US relations are uncertain about the causes behind the damage.

Meanwhile, the once-strategic relationship between Turkey and Israel has also been shaken. Many observers say the rupture between the former allies in the region runs deep – so deep in fact that even a neo-Kemalist administration would find it hard to mend. The reason here, some commentators have suggested, is that Turkey provided crucial information to Iran that seriously compromised Israeli interests.

The Turks also made the wrong move in the case of Egypt, which put them at odds with the government in Cairo. The Egyptian establishment has always been skeptical of Ankara’s assertiveness in the region anyway.

As a consequence of the above, Turkey finds itself faced with very big threats and dilemmas. As things stand today, there is no such thing as a perfect solution or a safe path. Of course this does not change the fact that Turkey holds a key geopolitical role. It is a big economy and still carries significant strategic leverage.

For its part, Athens has over the past 20 years held the view that its national interest lies with a predictable, stable Turkey. Now it seems we may have to get used to dealing with an unpredictable and not very stable Turkey with its leaders constantly on edge. The implications of all this for Greek foreign policy has to be examined with caution and a cool head.