Islamist opposition leader slams AKP govt for lack of vision on foreign policy

Temel Karamollaoglu, leader of the Islamist opposition Felicity Party (SP), has slammed Turkey’s AK Party (AKP) government for not having a serious vision for the country’s foreign policy, Gazete Duvar news portal reported on Wednesday.

The opposition leader argued in a statement on Wednesday that Turkey has lost its dignity in the international arena due to the unsuccessful foreign policy adopted by the ruling AKP.

Holding forth that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his government are responsible for a number of deficiencies in Turkey’s foreign policy moves, the SP leader listed some that occurred during the rule of AKP.

He referred to an article written by him in which he accused Erdogan of supporting the US-led invasion of Turkey’s neighboring Iraq in 2003, a year after AKP came to power in 2002.

Referring to soldiers of the United States army during the invasion, Erdogan said in an article dated March 31, 2003, that Turkey hoped and prayed for them to return home safely.

“We hope and pray that the brave young men and women return home with the lowest possible casualties, and that the suffering in Iraq ends as soon as possible,” he concluded the article published on Wall Street Journal.

The SP leader said the Turkish government is among those responsible for the current situation in Libya, an oil-rich country where there has been chaos for eight years since the fall of its leader Muammar Qaddafi, in a NATO-backed uprising in 2011.

“Although they initially said ‘What’s NATO doing in Libya?’ a week later representatives from the same ruling party, unfortunately, provided the biggest support for NATO’s intervention in Libya,” Karamollaoglu underlined.

The country has been split between rival governments and military factions based in the east and the west since 2014.

“They pretended as if they were doing something for the situation in Rakhine, but they failed to do anything useful to end the slaughter there,” the SP leader further said.

There’s an ongoing conflict in the Rakhine State, Myanmar, characterized by sectarian violence between the Rohingya Muslims and Rakhine Buddhists.

While Rohingya civilians suffer a military crackdown by Myanmar’s security forces, Rohingya insurgents carry out militant attacks.

Since the beginning of the military crackdown in August 2017, a total of 24,000 Rohingyas have been killed, 18,000 Rohingya women have been raped and 116,000 Rohingyas have been beaten, a study by Harvard University estimated in August 2018.

The Amnesty International (AI) said that more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children, and women have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh since the beginning of the crackdown on the minority Muslim community.

Karamollaoglu further argued that the Turkish government fuelled the Syrian civil war.

“We have been facing a civil war that is far from over for more than seven years. Those who are responsible for it are members of Turkey’s ruling [AKP] government for paving the way for global powers to write their own tickets in the territory,” Karamollaoglu emphasized.

The civil war in Syria broke out between the forces of President Bashar al-Assad and anti-government rebels on March 15, 2011.

Turkey and Russia agreed on a cease-fire treaty in September 2018 in order to turn Idlib, the last rebel stronghold in the region, into a de-escalation zone and remove extremist fighters.

However, the agreement was effectively shattered by fighting in late April, when Assad launched an assault arguing that Syrian rebels had breached the existing ceasefire agreement.

Although US President Trump voiced his intention to withdraw US forces from Syria on June 4, 2018, Washington changed the course of its plans due to pressure from its European allies.

The leader’s press statement on Turkey’s foreign policy came a few days after Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu announced during an ambassadors’ conference in Ankara that Turkey wants to expand its diplomatic presence in Asia as the region becomes the economic center of the world.

“An effective foreign policy is only possible if you have a powerful economy. And the economy cannot be powerful if it is not based on production and high technology,” Karamollaoglu noted.

“Even that’s not enough. No country where justice is not secured, corruption, extravagance, and bribery become main rules instead of a qualification-based understanding and polarization is used as a political tool by those in power can be powerful or peaceful,” he added.

The opposition leader held forth that is it not possible for Turkey to become a powerful and respected country in the international arena without correcting its mistakes.

“They have to begin the work by embracing all sections of society. Then they must accept being transparent and accountable and learn to handle the problems through negotiation,” Karamollaoglu outlined.

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