Thursday, December 1, 2016

Is Recep Tayyip Erdogan becoming a liability for Turkish foreign policy and economy?

    Thursday, December 01, 2016   No comments

A country's economic development depends on stable governance. When a country is ruled by a person who acts impulsively and contradicts himself often, his government looses credibility. That can be a drag on regional stability and national security. This applies to Turkey.
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan is loosing credibility fast and that is reducing any chances of seeing Turkey play a positive role in a very unstable region. These are signs that Erdogan may not be psychologically stable or temperamentally able to lead his country.
Just two days after declaring that his government's forces entered northern Syrian to "end the rule of the cruel [President Bashar al-] Assad", he was forced to walk back that comment stating that "Turkey's military operation in northern Syria did not target any one country or individual, but was aimed at terrorist organisations, only". Stating one thing and its opposite days apart reveal Erdogan's personal ambitions, that are driven by his sectarian and nationalist impulses, and the requisites of good relations with countries he depend on, namely Russia and Iran. 

Timeline of events

Erdogan's comments about Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad were a topic of discussion during the upcoming visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Turkey, TASS reported Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov as saying on Wednesday.

"That will be a good topic to clarify the intentions," he said answering a question from a TASS correspondent.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for Russia's Foreign Ministry, said on Wednesday that Erdogan's words on removing Assad were uttered "off the record."

"We studied the matter yesterday. The quote caused a great stir," Zakharova said. "We tried to understand whether it was quoted as it had been said. It was not a direct quote, but a retelling of what had been said ‘off-the-record’. We rely on the public statements."

The retraction came after Erdogan called Putin and supposedly explained himself. 

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, stated on Tuesday that his army entered Syria in order to end the reign of Syrian President, Bashar Al-Assad, and bring justice to Syrians.

“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” Erdogan stated.

Erdogan alleges nearly 1 million people have died in Syria, despite the fact no monitoring or humanitarian group has put the death toll this high.
“In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and men. Where is the United Nations? What is it doing? Is it in Iraq? No. We preached patience but could not endure in the end and had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army [FSA],” Erdoğan said at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul.

The Turkish Army illegally entered Syria in August 2016, claiming that they were focused on defeating the so-called "Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham" (ISIS) in northern Aleppo; this did not prove to be the case, as they have repeatedly attacked the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) near the border.


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