TURKISH FOREIGN POLICY IN POST COLD WAR ERA-1

Abstract

Turkey has always tried to keep her balance policy and the lands that Turkey settled down helped her in this case. Thanks to its strong state tradition most of the time we see this policy’s success. Turkey as a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member tried to apply her Foreign Policies on behalf of her official allies. Thanks to the collapse of the Soviet Union, Soviet threats went away and Turkey found more places to move in easily from Balkans and Caucasia to Central Asia. By the governance of many parties especially in the Post Cold War Era between the years of 1991 and 2002, Turkey had a lot of new perceptions in terms of her Foreign Policy. All in all, in this paper, I tried to emphasize both Turkish internal and external structures related to her Foreign Affairs approaches.

            Keywords: Foreign Policy, Turkey, United States, Post Cold War Era, Gulf War, Relation, European Union, Iraq

The Soviet Union had represented a part of Socialist-Communist populations for years and years. As most of the historical cases have pros and cons, the Soviet Union’s collapse had various positive and negative consequences. To examine the Turkish Foreign Policy in the Post Cold War Era, we should seek the interior of Turkish governments and their governmental senses. As a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation(NATO) ally, Turkey was threatened by the Soviet Union’s government especially under Joseph Stalin’s government. Between two poles of the World, Turkey tried to keep her balance policy as she did in World War II duration. However, conditions and threats triggered Turkey to want herself as a part of NATO. In order to be a part of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, Turkey did not hesitate to fight in the Korean War which was going to be the entrance ticket of Turkey to become a part of NATO. All in all western-allied Turkey considered the policies of her allies in the 1990s as well, after the USSR’s collapse.

A. Turkish Governments and Foreign Policy Makers in the Post Cold War Era

When the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics has officially collapsed in December 26th, 1991, newly established 49th Turkish government was ruling the country by the premiership of Suleyman Demirel. The 49th Turkish government was formed by two party’s coalition; True Path Party led by Mr. Demirel and Social Democrat Populist Party led by Erdal Inonu[1] who is the son of Ismet Inonu, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk’s fellow soldier. Whether we examine the Post Cold War Era and take the years between 1991 and 2002, Turkey was mainly dealing with internal issues. PKK (so-called Kurdish Workers Party) accepted as a terrorist organization by both the United States[2], North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and European Union, was increasing its terrorist attacks against eastern Turkey against mostly the law-enforcement forces and the Kurdish civilians living in the villages. As well as it was not that bright in terms of the economics of Turkey which had completely felt the worst economic crisis in its Republic history in 2001[3]. In the post-cold war era, between the years 1991-2002, 9 Turkish governments established in 11 years until the Justice and Development Party of Turkey singly won the elections.

Most of the famous Turkish politicians performed as the Minister of Foreign affairs in the post cold war era. Due to a lot of governments tried to govern Turkey in the pre-mentioned era, a lot of Minister responsible for foreign affairs led the Turkish foreign policies. Some of the ministers who served in the 1990s had effective years in Turkish policies such as Erdal Inonu,

Deniz Baykal former president of Turkey’s Republican People’s Party, Mumtaz Soysal one of the signers of Turkey’s 1961 Constitution, Tansu Ciller first woman prime minister of Turkey.[4]

B. Turkish Foreign Policy Approaches

The collapse of the USSR pushed the World to get ready for a single-pole hegemony which was going to exile until today. There is no doubt that Turkey felt less pressure on herself by following the Soviet Union’s collapse. Especially the new situation which came out led Turkey to change her security perceptions. By the independencies of the Turkic countries in Central Asia and Caucasia formerly belonging to the Soviet Union such as Kazakhistan, Kirghizistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Turkey gained significant power in these regions and on Turkic nations. Thanks to the common ethnic and religious thoughts and the similarities between Turkey’s and newly established Turkic countries’ security perceptions, Turkey settled in a much advantageous position in the region.

Post-Soviet States

a. Gulf Wars and Turkey-US Relations

a.1. Turkey’s Position at the First Gulf War

            Duration which got started by the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq triggered an international issue in which the rest of the World powers were going to be included. At that moment, Turkey did not hesitate to act with International Public Opinion, supported by the United Nations Security Council. Moreover, Turkey stayed with the decisions of the International Coalition led by the United States of America.[5] While Turkey was doing this, she considered her security perceptions as well.

According to Turkey one of the estimated future thoughts was upon the threats that can be emerged against Turkey by Iraq with the power gained by the invasion of Kuwait in the Middle East. Owing to the water issue between Turkey and Iraq was also one of the major reasons that Turkey did not hesitate to move on with the International coalition.[6] In this case, Turkey mostly tried to take precautions that can be harmful in terms of Turkish foreign policy in the future. However, Turkey did not want a fully destroyed and collapsed Iraq.

A U.S. Marines 2nd Division convoy moves past a tank equipped with a mine-clearing sled in Kuwait as the ground war gets under way Feb. 24, 1991.
Gene Herrick/AP

Even the crisis afterward, Turkey accepted the Kurdish population which abandoned in Iraq in order to protect against any threats can be caused by Iraq’s Saddam Hussein.[7] Operation Provide Comfort (Huzuru Temin Harekati or Çekiç Güç) was one of the evidence that Turkey put efforts to protect Kurdish migrants who came until her borders. Supports of Turkey for United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 is one of the concrete examples. Additionally, some of the Turkish columnists did not hesitate to emphasize the developments which are currently happening between Turkey and United States about Operation Peace Spring as the “Second Operation Provide Comfort” or “Second Combined Task Force”.[8]

To be continued..


[1] “49th Turkish Government, Wikipedia English, November 27, 2019.

[2] “Foreign Terrorist Organizations”, US Department of State, August 10, 1997.

[3] The Turkish 2000-01 banking crisis, RaboResearch-Economic Research, September 4, 2013.

[4] “List of Former Ministers of Foreign Affairs”, Republic of Turkey Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

[5] “WAR IN THE GULF: Turkey; Turkey’s Role in Air Assault Sets Off Fear of Retaliation”, The New York Times, Clyde Haberman, January 20, 1991.

[6] Ortadoğu Su Krizi ve Türkiye (Middle East Water Crisis and Turkey), INSAMER- IHH Humanitarian and Social Research Center, Kadriye Sinmaz, May 12, 2017.

[7] 90’lı Yıllarda Kürt Göçü (Kurdish Migration in 1990s), BIANET Independent Communication Network supported by SIDA (Sweden International Development Agency), A. Murat Eren, March 17, 2012.

[8] İkinci Çekiç Güç’e asla izin vermeyiz (We’ll never allow the second Combined Task Force), Yeni Akit, Faruk Arslan, August 16, 2019.

Oğuzhan Çiçek
Editor in Chief of The FEAS Journal©, Gazi University, Faculty of Economics and Administrative Sciences, Department of International Relations.
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