ANKARA (Hurriyet)—Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Monday unveiled a new foreign policy for Turkey, building on his original “Strategic Depth: doctrine introduced in an academic book a decade ago.
Davutoglu disclosed his new manifesto to 200 of Turkey’s diplomats who had returned to Ankara for a major Foreign Ministry seminar, titled “Democracy, Security and Stability: Outlook for 2010 in the world and in Turkish foreign policy.” The weeklong meeting is the second gathering of its kind.
“We have a lot to say in the international arena. And there are plenty of big nations who will hear us,” Davutoglu told the ambassadorial conference.
The foreign minister outlined five essential planks for future Turkish diplomacy: mental adaptation; self-confidence; cohesion between national and universal discourse; foreign policy coordination at home with relevant ministries and institutions; and the ability to read universal developments vertically and horizontally.
In his address, Davutoglu referred to a well-known quote from the founder of the Turkish Republic Mustafa Kemal Ataturk: “There is no defense of a line, but there is a defense of the surface. That surface is the entire homeland.” The leader was describing his strategy in geometric and military terms before the Battle of Sakarya in 1921 and in response to criticism for telling troops to retreat in the face of advancing Greek forces.
The minister reinterpreted the quote, saying: “There is no diplomacy of a line but there is the diplomacy of the surface. That surface is the entire globe.”
He later gave an anecdote of the maps all over the world to picture Turkey’s location in the world. “All maps are subjective. When you take a look at it from Japan, Japan seems to be at the center and when you take a look at it from the United Kingdom, it seems in the center. However, whatever map you take a look at, Turkey is always at the center.”
“We must have a message for the world. We are in the position of doing justice to this region. There is no other country in the world that has the same location as us. We must be active in these five, six regions simultaneously. Turkey’s diplomacy can only be compared with that of five or six countries in the world,” Davutoglu said.
Any type of crisis could be an opportunity for Turkey to raise its international standing, the minister said, adding that the country was not afraid of crises as long as it had a strong vision.
He emphasized diplomatic problems could be overcome not only through “our powerful military” but also through “our soft power,” stressing that hard power and soft power must be in harmony just like an orchestra.
After drawing an image of a strong Turkey based on a strong vision, Davutoglu predicted that Turkey would be an EU member by 2023, integrated with its neighbors, influential and active in the global arena and a respected country among the leading 10 economies of the world.
He envisioned a future foreign policy that would be original, self-confident, rational and honorable but said the diplomatic language employed should be understood by all, both at home and abroad. “The language used in Ankara must be understood in Mardin but it must also be understood in Washington and Tokyo.”
He addressed the ministry’s problems by comparing them to other foreign ministries in the world, saying Turkey had fewer diplomats and fewer funds for its Foreign Ministry.
“We have a total of 1,464 diplomats while this number is 5,809 in France, 5,700 in Britain and 2,541 in Spain,” Davutoglu said, adding that he had informed the Cabinet and the prime minister of the need to expand the Foreign Ministry’s budget.