Turkey likely to fix key foreign relations as Erdogan starts new term
14 Jul 2018, 01:34 ( 2 Months ago)
As Turkey starts a new system of executive presidency, the Turkish government led by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is likely to fix its foreign relations with key allies, experts said.
The essence of the country's foreign policy may remain, but Erdogan is likely to try to repair Turkey's strained relations with some allies such as the United States, after winning the June 24 elections.
"The policy making model and implementation of foreign affairs in the previous parliamentarian system was already functioning under a de-facto presidential system. Therefore we will not see a major change in decision taking processes," said Hasan Unal, a professor with the International Relations Department of Atilim University.
After his inauguration on July 9, Erdogan appointed his new cabinet. Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu is among four ministers that have retained position in the new cabinet.
Erdogan will continue his domination in foreign policy with extended powers. Under the new arrangements, ministers will report to the president, instead of the parliament as it was in the old system.
Parallel to the ministries, nine councils dealing with issues including security and foreign policy will develop, supervise and coordinate relevant policy suggestions.
Erdogan will appoint heads of these councils, but likely to keep his former foreign affairs aide Ibrahim Kalin to manage the foreign policy, Unal said.
The composition of the "security and foreign policy" council, its relations with the Foreign Ministry and its role in foreign policy decision-making, need to be seen in upcoming months, he added.
In the past few years, Turkey has seen a number of political appointments for the ambassadorial positions in the Foreign Ministry. The new system will likely demonstrate that this method will be applied to other positions in the Foreign Ministry along with other institutions.
Multiple ministries have been merged in the new system, such as the European Union Affairs Ministry which has been integrated into the Foreign Ministry, a sign of lowering profile of the EU membership bid of Turkey.
Unal stressed that Turkey will likely step up healing its bilateral ties with prominent countries as Erdogan does not need to conduct any election campaign for a few years.
In the new term, the improvement of the bilateral relations with allies and partners in the world will be an important dimension of Turkey's foreign policy, said Kilic Bugra Kanat, research director at the SETA Foundation.
Ankara will continue its EU membership bid, Kanat said, noting that repairing and improving its relations with the United States and the EU will enable Turkey to become more assertive and creative.
In the light of the economic problems of the country, one should expect Ankara to adopt a foreign policy based on economic concerns, he noted.
The Turkish government may take steps to increase investors' confidence in order to attract more foreign direct investments, said Kanat, who is also a Daily Sabah columnist.
The good news to this end, the state of emergency, which has been in place since after the failed coup attempt in July 2016, will be lifted as Erdogan has pledged.
Turkey's Western allies and many crucial foreign investors have been critical of the state of emergency, calling on the Turkish government to lift it in order to attract more foreign investments.