2017 has been the ‘year of victory’ for Turkey in international diplomacy. In the international arena, Turkey has become a country that is not a ‘player’, but a ‘game-setter’.
UN session on “Jerusalem” was the most important event to remind Turkey to the rest of the world in the last year. The US triggered a major provocation by declaring Jerusalem, the first kiblah of Islam, as the capital of Israel. This move resulted in the isolation of US with the efforts of Turkey. Turkey took action against the US that stood behind its provocation on Jerusalem despite the opposition by 14 countries at the UN Security Council vote. The issue was first addressed at the Summit of OIC held in Istanbul and Ankara declared Jerusalem as the capital of Palestine with a joint declaration. It took another move and gathered the UN General Assembly. 128 UN member states adopted the resolution on Jerusalem, drafted jointly by Turkey and Yemen, despite the threats by the US.
Key of Astana
‘De-escalation zones’ were introduced in Syria following the process initiated under the leadership of Turkey with the support of Russia and Iran. Consensus reached in Astana was fruitful despite unproductive meetings in Geneva. The end of civil war got near with each step. Al-Bab was taken under control by Turkish Armed Forces as part of Euphrates Shield Operation at the beginning of 2017. Observation posts were set up in Idlib in accordance with the decisions taken in Astana. Intensive diplomatic talks took place so that the US would not provide arms to the terrorist organization PKK/PYD.
Ankara reacted in the strongest way to NATO’s scandalous depiction of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and President Erdoğan as “enemies” during a joint military exercise in Norway. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg apologized to Turkey.
Illegal Referendum Null and Void
Ankara acted jointly with the countries of the region against the illegal referendum of Masoud Barzani in Northern Iraq. Turkey drew the line after Regional Kurdish Government (KRG) President Barzani held a referendum to further complicate the already tense situation in the region. Ankara, Baghdad and Tehran decided to take joint steps against the referendum which was held despite all warnings with support from the U.S. and Israel. Sanctions were imposed on Northern Iraq. Occupied regions including Kirkuk were liberated as a result of Iraqi Army’s operation on Barzani’s Peshmerga forces and PKK terrorists, thus rendering the referendum of September 25 null and void.
Coup Averted in Qatar
Turkey assumed an important role in the Gulf Crisis that emerged on June 5 when the governments of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut all diplomatic ties with Qatar. Ankara stood against plans to change the government of Doha during the process referred to as the “July 15 of Qatar”. Food aid was also delivered to the region to help the people of Qatar under blockade.