Monday, May 4, 2009

New Turkish FM and Neo-Ottomanism

Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan recently announced a reshuffle to his cabinet which included the appointment of Ahmet Davutoglu as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (the previous minister, Ali Babican has been shifted to Minister of the Economy). Professor Ahmet Davutoglu is a Turkish political scientist, academic and ambassador. Previously, Davutoglu was the chief advisor to Erdogan.

Davutoglu was born in Iconium (Konya in Turkish) and graduated from ─░stanbul Erkek Lisesi (German International School) and the Department of Economics and Political Science of the Bogazici University, Constantinople. He holds a masters degree in Public Administration and a PhD degree in Political Science and International Relations from Bogazici University. His most important work is the book, “Strategic Depth – The International Position of Turkey” first published in 2001. This book apparently provides clues regarding his views on the future prospects of Turkish foreign policy:

Greek left wing newspaper Eleftherotypia published an article written by Ari Arbatzi (which can be accessed here) that included the following excerpts of Davutoglu's book:

“the short and medium term objectives of Turkish foreign policy in the Balkans is the strengthening of Bosnia and Albania, within a framework of stability, and the application of international law for the safety of ethnic minorities in the region. Within this legal context Turkey needs to be continuously aiming to provide guarantees that would allow intervention in cases involving Muslim minorities in the Balkans. A striking example in modern times was the intervention in Cyprus”

In regards to Greek-Turkish relations; and particularly the Aegean, Davutoglu writes:

“The area in which Turkey find itself close to war, more than any other case, are the Aegean islands, which seriously restrict Turkey’s vital space, which is due to unforgivable mistakes made by an absence of a coherent maritime strategy. The crisis in Karntak (Imia), highlighted the Greek domination, even on rocks that are close to our shores, and this is the bitter price of these accumulated errors”

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