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Getting the fruits of African expansion

Presidential Spokesperson Kalın pointed out that they have realized an African expansion in recent years, which has begun to bear fruit. Stating that mutual embassies were opened with African countries, the trade volume increased, and when Africans had problems, Kalın said that these were the results of a 360-degree foreign policy perspective.

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın participated in the “Turkish Foreign Policy as We Enter the Centennial of the Republic” program held at Bilkent University.

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Sözcü Kalın said that they are trying to implement Turkish foreign policy from east to west, from north to south with a 360-degree perspective, and that the imagination of history and geography is one of the most important pillars of this perspective.

Emphasizing that nothing that history and geography put in front of them is foreign to them, Kalın stated that no matter what his job, power or position is, wherever he goes in the world, there is a ground where he can establish a relationship.

“Strategic thinking is the embodiment of the state mind”

Stating that the issue is to re-read history and geography dynamically in line with today’s needs, Kalın continued as follows:

 

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“The main thing is to see the big picture. Strategic thinking is the embodiment of the state’s mind. You don’t think in the short term, you don’t limit yourself to nearby geographies or the issues of the day. There have been discussions about Turkey’s strategic orientation from time to time. It’s like ‘Turkey is moving away from the traditional western axis, shifting to other axes’. 10 years ago, this debate was at its peak. It was a framework used to criticize Turkey, to stigmatize and condemn Turkey’s foreign policy moves. In this multi-layered world where everything is intertwined, there is no single axis, no single center, traditional alliances are formed. It is no longer possible to reduce interests to a single area.”

“Whatever our strategic priority is, we determine foreign policy accordingly”

Kalin stated that Turkey’s being a NATO member and positioning itself within the Western alliance does not prevent it from developing good relations with Russia, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America.

Pointing out that developing good relations with Russia does not mean fighting with the USA, Kalın said:

“When countries such as the USA, Germany, France and England, which have the ability to direct global politics, engage in such political engagements in different parts of the world, it is not a subject of criticism, but when Turkey opens a Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Russia, it is said to be out of the question. However, Turkey is said to be out of line. “While doing this, he never sees ourselves in the giant mirror and says that we rule the world. We know where we are, but we are not unfair to ourselves. Whatever our strategic priority is, we determine a foreign policy and implement it.”

“The fruits of the African expansion are being reaped”

Kalın pointed out that they have realized an African expansion in recent years, which they have started to bear fruit.

Stating that mutual embassies were opened with African countries, the trade volume increased, and when Africans had problems, Kalın said that these were the results of a 360-degree foreign policy perspective.

Noting that the same is true for Latin America, Kalın said: “We have good relations with Latin American countries. Until 2-3 years ago, we sided with the elected legitimate government in the political crisis in Venezuela. We were criticized for that. They tried to stage a coup, but they could not. With the imposition of the energy crisis that emerged after the Ukraine-Russia War, the US began to normalize relations with Venezuela and to establish contact with the Maduro government. Two years ago, those who criticize us began to say, “Turkey was right.”

Normalization with Middle East countries

Presidential Spokesperson İbrahim Kalın reminded that there has been tension in relations with some of the Gulf countries and Israel recently.

When the normalization period was entered with these countries, “What happened, the handshake with so-and-so, relations were normalized. Isn’t it to compromise on principles? Isn’t it to act without principles?” Stating that they were faced with such questions, Kalın made the following evaluations:

“Since the middle of 2021, we have read photography from a different perspective. We said, under the leadership and instruction of our President, within the framework of the new regional dynamics that emerged, ‘2022 will be the year of normalization.’ We said, ‘Let’s put forward a foreign policy vision by increasing the number of our friends as much as possible and putting the conflicted areas in brackets.’ we shook hands, why did we normalize with Israel?’ they ask. These are all things related to the periodical problems that lose their effect over time and open the door to new possibilities. There is never an absolute one-way line in foreign policy, there are ups and downs.”

Russia-Ukraine War

Kalin said that there are three types of power in international relations, which are hard, soft and smart power.

Stating that hard power refers to the military and economic power, soft power refers to factors such as culture, art and belonging, and smart power refers to the power that is formed by the blending of hard and soft power, Kalin said:

We stand behind it all the way. They started to take steps. Two or three days ago they extradited a PKK member. They will come after them. This is one of the important examples of smart power usage.

A new balance of power and distribution of power is needed in the world. It will not be possible to build a new balance of power and a global order in which everyone feels safe until the causes of the Ukraine-Russia War are eliminated. It would be too optimistic to expect a permanent, sustainable end to the war. For this, a new global agreement, bargaining and balance needs to be built between Russia and the West.

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