Impressions from the G-20

It is also quite natural that the recent massacre in Paris dominated the agenda of the G-20 summit. Countries in attendance at the G-20 relayed a strong message of unity and resolution in the fight against ISIL. At the same time, though, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s public statement about how ISIL is actually financed by some 40 countries — and that quite a few G-20 countries are among its financiers — turned the united front of “resolution” against ISIL into a topic for debate unto itself.

The summit also saw President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and top Turkish officials heavily involved in meetings that surrounded not only the ISIL question but questions about what to do regarding Syria. The view that a “secure region” needs to be formed in Syria and that a “no-fly zone” needs to be declared is something the Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been pushing for a while now. Despite Ankara’s insistence on this front, it was unable to come away from the summit with any clear supporters for this strategy.

At this point, the clear target for global powers — notably the US — is not the Assad regime but rather ISIL, with French President Francois Hollande being the most recent leader to expound upon this.

The AKP’s stance until now — which has seemingly viewed there being no limit to how much jihadist groups in Syria gain in power and size, as long as the outcome is that the Assad regime is overthrown — is no doubt something the US and other countries have in mind. There is little question that the current uncontrollable state of both ISIL and al-Qaeda-linked groups in this region are partially the result of this AKP stance.

The photograph that appeared to show President Erdogan holding the cheeks of US President Barack Obama was very well received by militant AKP supporters. After all, it depicts Erdogan as a true “world leader,” big enough to be able to reach out and stroke Obama’s face.

But to turn things the other way, this same Obama was pictured chewing gum during Erdogan’s speech at the summit. Not only this, but he apparently didn’t have his headphones on, which means he didn’t even feel the need to listen to Erdogan’s words.

In the run-up to the Antalya summit, President Erdogan noted that he would be bringing the idea of “collective terror” to the agenda in talks with other world leaders. And he did this. But I do not actually believe that anyone really understood this odd concept, which Erdogan said he wanted to highlight for the sake of Turkey.

Just to briefly recall: After the Oct. 10 Ankara massacre, Erdogan listed the names of many terrorist organizations, including the Syrian official intelligence agency Mukhabarat, declaring that the guilty party behind the Ankara bombings was actually a “collective terror” organization. This was despite the fact that on the very first day it was apparent that the real perpetrators were actually ISIL members.

What now remains clear from the G-20 summit is that the AKP’s ideas and theses regarding terrorism and Syria really had no takers. Obama said straight out, “There is no need for a secure region in Syria,” while Putin also made his thought-provoking statement: “I provided examples based on our data on the financing of different Islamic State [ISIL] units by private individuals. This money, as we have established, comes from 40 countries and there are some of the G-20 members among them.”

In the end, though, Turkey made a successful show of hospitality when it came to its guests; there is little question that people loved not only Antalya but Turkish cuisine as well. And, as a Turkish journalist, this makes me more than just a little proud to mention. What does not make me proud, however, is the isolation and sense of loneliness that this regime, which makes limitless efforts to silence the opposition media, is making Turkey experience.