Nasreddin Hodja and Turkish foreign policy

According to the tale, Nasreddin Hodja was once appointed a judge. One day, two men brought an issue to the Hodja. Having listened to the first man, Nasreddin Hodja said, and”You are right.and” Then he listened to the second man argue the opposite case. Surprisingly, the Hodja again said, and”You are right.and” Witnessing this, the Hodjaand’s wife intervened to ask: and”Hodja, how is this possible? You found both men right.and” The Hodja replied, and”You are right, too.and”
Nowadays, the decision makers of Turkish foreign policy are following a kind of Nasreddin Hodja doctrine. Ankara seems to say and”You are rightand” to many different actors, from Washington to Beijing. While Ankara is inviting NATO to an emergency meeting, the president is visiting China with the intention of becoming a member of the Shanghai Five. We are in the inconsistent phase of regional politics. For instance, Turkey has declared war on the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). However, simultaneously, the Turkish government is beginning to attack Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) bases in northern Iraq. This should be recognized as a rare case in Middle Eastern history: Three groups are fighting one another at the same time. This must be a serious contribution to the history of war. But what is the logic of the inconsistency here? When Turkey attacks the PKK, it automatically helps ISIL. When Turkey attacks ISIL, it automatically helps the PKK. This is valid for both the PKK and ISIL. So how can such a cycle of conflict end with a victory for one side? The aims of Turkish foreign policy are similar to these inconsistent fights. Both stand as a collection of controversial goals and intentions. For instance, Turkey means to construct with Russia a gas pipeline that has no relevance to the European gas network. Meanwhile, Turkey is part of the NATO strategy in Ukraine. And who is exporting vegetables to the Crimea, which is technically under Russian occupation? Or, Turkey wants to buy Chinese missiles while NATO Patriots are protecting its territories against the Assad regime. Turkish decision-makers probably think themselves geniuses who can dance with many actors at the same time. Letand’s say they apparently are and can. But is that true? Do idiots rule the other states? Do other statesand’ politicians not see these inconsistencies? Forget Western states. Does China not recognize this Turkish inconsistency? Last month, thousands of Turks protested against China regarding the human rights problems in the Uyghur region. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is in China now, and nobody is protesting. Where are those thousands of Turks who had protested to China a few weeks ago? Did Erdogan say anything about this problem in Beijing? Letand’s put it this way: When you lose consistency in foreign policy, other states act as if they are tolerating you, because that works in their favor. Inconsistent states are easy states to bargain with in foreign policy. The cost of inconsistency is to bribe every state you dance with. That is what Turkey tries to do these days: Ankara gives in to Qatar a tiny state becomes a major actor in Turkish politics. Even the Barzani factor is huge in Turkey. It is the same with regards to the US. After years of anti-American political jargon, Ankara is now ready to open the Incirlik base. Or how about Russia? Although it is Turkeyand’s official strategy to diversify its energy dependency, it is again Russia that is constructing the nuclear power plant in Turkey. The rule of following an ultra-pragmatic and inconsistent path in foreign policy is very simple: Keep giving, because that is why other states tolerate your inconsistencies. I am sure that many Chinese politicians know very well that Ankara will not be able to use their missiles, even if it buys them. Who cares? For China, it is critical to get the money those missiles command. Then Turkey may keep them in a military garage for years.