Media Outlet : Daily Sabah
Date of Publication : 17.05.2017
Writer : Beril DEDEOGLU
Detail : Original Text

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has visited, in a short period of time, a number of important countries. First, he went to Russia to meet his counterpart Vladimir Putin. He then flew to India, making a brief stop in Kuwait as well. Following those visits, he went to China and from there, he flew directly to the United States, a visit which that will be followed by a visit to Brussels to join the NATO summit.

So he has met, one after another, the world's most powerful three leaders, the presidents of three major powers, the U.S., Russia and China. Naturally, economic relations, mutual trade and investments have been the major subjects of these meetings, but political and strategic relations have been discussed as well. New global threats, risks and opportunities, along with the emerging new global order, were in the background of these summits.

It is obvious that every country has its own perception about world affairs, as their interests and expectations are different. They also have their own priorities. This is how the U.S., Russia and China are acting, too. The thing is, those three countries don't really need Turkey to design their rivalries or cooperation, as they can do it directly with each other. So directly that, nowadays, their leaders talk to each other on social media. That's why, it is no secret what these powers are expecting from each other and on which subjects they agree and disagree. What is not clear is the attitudes of other great powers. This is important as all these other great powers are also in the system.

Moreover, there are countries like Turkey and India which can accelerate or curb the evolution of international dynamics. These are countries of strategic importance, with the ability to sabotage the game established by major powers. In other words, these strategic countries cannot impose their own will to the international system alone; they are nonetheless capable of disrupting the scenarios written by others.

The fact that Erdoğan has met with the leaders of all these important countries before going to the NATO summit means that Turkish foreign policy priorities are not limited to Turkey's surrounding region. Turkey does assess its own security problems in the context of global developments, as it knows that the future of many regional problems depends on the relations between major powers. That's why Ankara knows that the U.S.'s decision to send weapons to Syrian Kurdish terrorist groups is not independent from Washington's relations with Russia.

Therefore, Turkey's relations with those major powers cannot be understood from a bilateral perspective alone. Turkey's bilateral relations with these powers are impacted by those major powers' bilateral relations between one another. Besides, every foreign policy subject concerning Turkey is, one way or another, linked to Syria's civil war, hence to Iran's role in the system, hence to Israel's stance on a number of subjects. When one mentions Iran and Israel, how can one neglect the political situation in Egypt and Saudi Arabia? And all these matters are somehow influenced by the future of the European Union.

In brief, every little subject we label as "bilateral" is, in fact, only the piece of a bigger puzzle; as all these "bilateral" issues are quite "global." Unfortunately, individual countries have no better tool than bilateral meetings to solve these issues, as the existing international structures are quite inefficient. Those international bodies will progressively loose the little efficiency they have as well, because bilateral or trilateral summits are becoming the corner stones of the international system. International institutions and rules designed in the wake of World War II are becoming obsolete, indeed.