Our relations with the U.K. were not so bad until recently. Then suddenly, London started to turn against Ankara. Who knows why. It could be that they were unable to handle the trauma caused by Her Majesty’s departure, or they couldn’t settle in with their new king. They want something from Türkiye. We can more or less guess what it is, but some things are possible while others are impossible.
Let’s first clarify the matter.
One. A memorandum of understanding was signed between the U.K. and the Greek Administration of Southern Cyprus (GASC) towards establishing a “strategic partnership.” It was signed in November 2022 in London. The U.K. is already a guarantor in Cyprus. When signing a strategic deal with the Southern administration, which includes defense and foreign policy, you should know that it will make a point. A point was surely made!
Two. It was another critical and interesting development: U.K. Chief of Intelligence (MI6) Richard Moore visited Yerevan this month. The Azerbaijan-Armenia “Peace Plan” meeting was set to be held under the auspices of Russia following this visit. However, the Armenian administration canceled the appointment and refused to attend. This caused serious disturbance.
Three. We woke up on Dec. 22 to another strange news. Let’s recall my previous column: “Hürriyet daily Thursday had former U.K. Istanbul consul general’s social media post on its headlines (‘Hayırdır Mr. Turner,’ 22/12). “In a shot that seemed like an ordinary photograph featuring a car, had the Sept. 8, 2015 newspaper page with the headline, ‘Tarifsiz acı 16 şehit’ [Inexplicable pain, 16 martyrs].” A terrorist ambush on Sept. 6, 2015, had martyred 16 of our soldiers in Dağlıca-Yüksekova. The consul general was sharing the shot seven years later. Furthermore, the British consul general in office – he is also the new owner of the kitchen – commented on it, normalizing the message as if there was nothing strange. It is impossible to think that neither of the British diplomats are unaware that this is “a simple cat” picture. Likewise, the fact that Hürriyet published this news on its banner headline with broad coverage within is telling as well. (Yeni Şafak, 24/12.)
Four. This was followed by U.K. news agency Reuters’ highly debated “job listing” advertising for the position of deputy bureau chief in Istanbul: “President Tayyip Erdogan has transformed Turkey in his two decades in power, shifting it away from modern secular traditions and turning it into an assertive diplomatic and military presence in regions stretching from the South Caucasus to North Africa. We need someone with strong writing and reporting skills who can deliver deep-dive enterprise stories at the same time as supporting our high-performing team covering a critical juncture in Erdogan’s rule – with runaway inflation and a battered lira combining to threaten his bid for re-election in the months ahead.”
The announcement naturally drew a reaction in Türkiye, and Türkiye’s English-language broadcaster TRT World responded to this text in similar wording. TRT World’s job description to employ a London-based correspondent said: “Failure of consecutive governments to respond to challenges like Covid-19, Brexit, and global economic crises left Britain in political turmoil. Short-lived governments put the UK’s future in uncertainty, shifting it away from Europe. The death of Queen Elizabeth II reignited the debate about the future of the monarchy, as many people questioned it as a way of rule from the Middle Ages in a Modern World. We are seeking an individual with strong writing and reporting skills with the ability to deliver deep-dive enterprise stories.”
Clearly, Türkiye and the U.K. are in conflict. It is too soon to call it a “crisis,” but a crisis is where this seems to be headed. We could have assumed upon Hürriyet’s report that tensions continued with intelligence services/foreign ministry. It had not surfaced until Reuters. It is now almost “official” with TRT’s rightful response.
Let’s get to the point.
What is the problem?
Simple. “[Erdogan] turned [Türkiye] into an assertive diplomatic and military presence in regions stretching from the South Caucasus to North Africa.” What Reuters refers to as the “regions stretching from…” is a vertical line that divides the world into two. It is the “destiny line.”
This line is also the area/entry to where the hot global conflicts/clashes will take place.
This includes Azerbaijan’s armed forces’ shift to the “Turkish model,” China’s landing via Saudi Arabia/the Gulf, the “We are deepening relations with Russia,” statement from Beijing the other day, Egypt’s new declaration, which violates Libya’s maritime zone, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky’s visit to the White House – which is likely to happen within three months before the great showdown – as well as Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s statement that “This war will not end so easily.”
TÜRKİYE SPOILING BRITISH FOREIGN POLICY OBJECTIVES
Like many countries that have influence, the U.K. is also aware the world’s center is shifting towards the “east and south.” It is trying to update its position in accordance with the new compass, but it wants to avoid losing what it already has in its “hand.”
Looking at it from the current perspective, we better understand now that Brexit was a move aimed at facilitating the U.K. in this regard. NATO and G7 will remain as U.K. diplomacy’s cornerstones. They are going to pave the way to certain changes in the UNGC; one or two countries from among Brazil, Japan, Germany, India, and Africa may be taken as permanent members. These countries signal what the U.K.’s top foreign policy objectives are as well.
Ukraine? All the way. Their official discourse is, “until we win,” but it really means, “Until Russia collapses, and can no longer continue.” Therefore, Erdoğan-Putin is a huge problem.
As a response to how the U.K. will position itself in the changing power equilibriums, it is said, “by going much beyond the deep-seated alliances.” In reality, these are the Caspian and Africa emphases. In other words, “the regions stretching.”
London is aware that it must create “strategic endurance,” and believes that this is possible only by establishing long-term partnerships with India, from Vietnam to Indonesia, South Africa to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the African Union, and the British Commonwealth regions.
We have reached the end of our allocated space, but, for example, what do the “Organization of Turkic States,” or “Energy Center Türkiye” steps signify for the British?
What did the president say Monday? “Türkiye is determined to become a hub of energy supplies to Europe from the Mediterranean basin, the Caspian Sea, and the Middle East.”