IBRAHIM – Turkey’s growing regional alienation hampering trade

Turkey’s growing regional alienation hampering tradeAs the governmentand#39s andldquozero problem with neighborsandrdquo policy has long become a thing of the past with Turkey being increasingly ineffective against the fierce political turbulences in its region, the nationand#39s commercial relations with its neighbors are also sustaining damage.Numbers provided by the Turkish Exporters Assembly (TIM) show, for instance, that Turkeyand#39s exports to Iraqis greatly declined after the terrorist Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) started making great strides in gaining control over Iraq, which is fragmented after a perilous sectarian strife.

Iraq has long been the second-largest market for Turkish exporters but with sharp declines after May, it was replaced by the UK in terms of monthly figures.For Abdulkadir Civan from Gediz University, the transformation of the ruling Justice and Development Partyand#39s (AK Party) foreign policy after 2010 has pulled Turkey back to the foreign policy axis of the old after the government had successfully engendered multifaceted relations with other countries in the region with a great deal of positive impact on mutual economic and cultural ties.

There may be several reasons for this transformation, says Civan, pointing to Turkeyand#39s worsening relations with Israel after the Mavi Marmara incident and its implications for the overall approach taken by the Recep Tayyip ErdoIan government to the Arab nations in the Middle East as one of the possible factors for this transformation. The Arab Spring can also be singled out as a major catalyst for this transformation, he opined.

Assoc. Prof.

SavaI Gen from Fatih University is confident that the opportunities for Turkey to regain the same brisk trade of the past with its Middle Eastern neighbors are extremely low though the conflicts and civil wars in these countries are overLike Civan, Gen also notes that Turkeyand#39s regional policy had been carried out rationally up until 2010 and was certainly successful, as seen in joint cabinet meetings, burgeoning trade, the removal of visas, etc. Turkeyand#39s biggest mistake was its misperception of the Arab Spring, said Gen, arguing that it viewed the massive social unrest in Arab countries from the perspective of the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood, which the AK Party believes to be from the same ideological lineage as its own, failing to see that the demands for democracy were the major characteristics in these upheavals.

andldquoThe government was not able to read the processes correctly. Now it has restricted trade with Egypt and Syria,andrdquo Gen told Todayand#39s Zaman.

He thinks there is no chance that the losses in economic relations will be recouped anytime soon as Turkey is no longer able to directly communicate with the governments of these countries. Turkeyand#39s interlocutors in these countries are sub-state actors like the Democratic Union Party (PYD) or ISIL rather than the authorized governments and this situation will only make relations worse, he added.

Encircled by problem-ridden countries, the foreign trade prospects for Turkey are bleak. Trade with northeastern markets are mainly carried out through a route across Georgia and Azerbaijan or through Iran.

In the Northwest, Turkeyand#39s ties with Bulgaria are strained over a crisis of clearance certificates, or dozvolas, which allow Turkish trucks carrying goods to pass through BulgariaSpeaking to Todayand#39s Zaman on the condition of anonymity, a bureaucrat in the Customs and Foreign Trade Ministry said the Bulgarians were deliberately restricting the issuance of dozvolas in response to the Turkish governmentand#39s attempts to meddle with the internal politics of the country through a political movement led by Turks in BulgariaIn the Southeast, Syrian trade has slowed down tremendously, albeit partly recovering after a sharp fall of 69 percent in 2012. Israel became a foe in 2010 after the Mavi Marmara incident though commercial relations with the country remained unscathed.

Once hailing Turkey as a model for their quest for modernity while clinging onto their Islamic roots, Egyptians are lashing out at Turkey as a source of evil and a perpetrator of their bitter internal problems. Local media outlets are full of public calls to boycott Turkish goods.

Egypt announced this past Tuesday that it will not renew a transit-trade agreement with Turkey after its term ended in April, which was reported by the Egyptian state news wire Mena as a political move, indicative of the worsening political relations with Turkey as a result of President ErdoIanand#39s incessant criticisms of the ruler of Egypt.The decision not to renew the agreement means Turkey will have to use the Suez Canal to transport goods to countries on the Arabian Peninsula, which will increase costs by around $2,000 per truck.

Turkey signed a deal with Egypt to establish a transit transportation route connected by the Ro-Ro Line on April of 2012 after Turkish trucks had to give up on the route via Syria to Jordan as well as some other major trade destinations southward due to the civil war in Syria The Ro-Ro Line has allowed Turkish exporters to bypass the Suez Canal while increasing their transportation costs in exports to the region by $1,000 per truck as compared to the Syrian route.Turkish Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Tanju Bilgi released a statement on Wednesday confirming Egyptand#39s step.

andldquoThe Ro-Ro and land transit transportation regulations with Egypt cover only a fraction of Turkeyand#39s trade with the region while it has been contributing significantly to the Egyptian economy. The Egyptian government, with this measure, will add just another one to the damages it has been inflicting on the interests and welfare its own country and people,andrdquo said Bilgi in the statement.

ErdoIan has been having problems with the Egyptian government since the summer of 2013, when Mohammad Morsi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood with which ErdoIan is ideologically aligned, was toppled by a military coup by then-Egyptian Chief of General Staff Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.Relations with Egypt soured further after ErdoIan ratcheted up his critical tone of Sisi, who later became the countryand#39s president, and last November both countries expelled each otherand#39s ambassadors by declaring them persona non grata Cairo slammed Turkey for what it called meddling in its internal affairs.

At present, Turkey has lost all the achievements it had garnered up until 2010 and the governmentand#39s general attitude amplifies its problems with the countries in the region rather than improving them in an appeasing manner, Civan asserted.The political scientist underlines another looming danger with Turkeyand#39s wrong policy choices.

Pointing out that the voting for temporary membership in the United Nations Security Council, where Turkey received about 60 votes, is a serious setback compared to 150 five years ago, Civan said although the ballot was secret, a large number of these countries that are no longer supportive of Turkey are possibly Africans. This dwindling sympathy for Turkey suggests the possibility that Turkeyand#39s trade with these countries will not be as robust as it has been since deteriorations in diplomatic relations are usually reflected on mutual trade as well.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

Related Post
شركة الطيران الوطنية الحصرية تواصل التوسع في أميركا الشمالية بخدمة إضافية من مطار لوس أنجلوس
– China’s exclusive national carrier continues expansion in North America with additional service from Los
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, Nov. 12, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Dubai Airshow – Panasonic Avionics Corporation (Panasonic),