What if…

November 15, 2017

What if the Turkish Government had,
• remained on the democratic path, thus an invaluable partner for the West,
• continued to be a source of inspiration for the Middle East,
• not allowed the “Mavi Marmara” to deal a setback to Turkish-Israeli relations,
• continued with its facilitator role between Israel and Syria,
• not made the mistake of seizing the Arab spring as an opportunity for its neo-Ottoman illusions,
• kept its distance from inter-Arab feuds,
• not become Egypt’s principal adversary after the military takeover,
• remained engaged in dialogue with Baghdad,
• not engaged in regime change in Syria,
• not created a huge refugee problem for itself,
• not created security problems for itself,
• not shot down a Russian military plane damaging the fabric of its cooperation with Moscow,
• avoided unnecessary tensions with Germany and the Netherlands,
• not accused its Western partners of conspiracies while seeking regime change in Syria,
• not raised questions regarding its commitment to NATO where it is an equal member,
• kept the EU accession process on track regardless of the outcome,
• prioritized diplomacy over confrontation, cool-headedness over bravado, soft power over hard power?
Turkey would have,
• reinforced its status a major regional partner not only for the West and Russia but also the countries of the region,
• remained a secure and peaceful country,
• achieved greater diplomatic latitude,
• been in much better economic shape.
Was that “mission impossible”? Hardly, because most of that was already there or within reach. In other words, “mission impossible” was accomplishing the opposite and we did just that.
It is time for us to remember that “a fault confessed is half redressed”.

About Ali Tuygan

Ali Tuygan is a graduate of the Faculty of Political Sciences of Ankara University. He joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 1967. Between various positions in Ankara, he served at the Turkish Embassy in Brussels, NATO International Staff, Turkish Embassies in Washington and Baghdad, and the Turkish Delegation to NATO. From 1986 to 1989 he was the Principal Private Secretary to the President of the Republic. He then served as ambassador to Ottawa, Riyadh, and Athens. In 1997 he was honored with a decoration by the Italian President. Between these assignments abroad he served twice as Deputy Undersecretary for Political Affairs. In 2004 he was appointed Undersecretary where he remained until the end of 2006 before going to his last foreign assignment as Ambassador to UNESCO. He retired in 2009. In April 2013 he published a book entitled “Gönüllü Diplomat, Dışişlerinde Kırk Yıl” (“Diplomat by Choice, Forty Years in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs”) in which he elaborated on the diplomatic profession and the main issues on the global agenda. He has published articles in Turkish periodicals and newspapers.
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