İlker Başbuğ visited China upon an invitation from Shanghai University. Accompanying him were former War Colleges Commander retired Chief Marshall Bilgin Bananlı, retired Vice Admiral Kadir Sağdıç and IT specialist Murat Başbuğ with him. This delegation held meetings with university institutions and think tanks in China. İlker Başbuğ says:
“We had the chance to clearly share Turkey's views in relation to what is happening in Syria and Iraq, Turkey's fight against terrorism and situations that may arise in the future in Iraq and Syria. […] However, such visits by nongovernmental organizations and individuals rather than those by state leaders alone may be beneficial for the country. For example, when discussing the PYD [Democratic Union Party] issue there, they made a request from us. They said in the case the Republic of Turkey provides more concrete documents, proof and the information it has concerning the PYD matter, we would have a chance to better understand and evaluate this matter.”
If we are going to tell the whole world the realities of our country in the Middle East, which really is a hell hole, and that we have to become involved to fight the terrorism both on the inside and outside threatening our security, of course China should have a special place in these very valuable public diplomatic activities. It also seems that countries like Russia and Iran, which have no direct security threat on their own country, acting freely in Syria and Iraq is whetting China's appetite.
It seems the prophecy of thinkers, who claim that the global financial crisis seen in the “Post-U.S. World” picture and the fault line taking shape in the cyberwar chaos is going to use up its energy with the World War III earthquake, is going to come true. Or if we are to consider Associate Professor Ahmet K. Han's definition; World War III has already started.
While giving a lesson to some, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says, “The world is bigger than five.” Turkey is going to continue to explain its own reality to the people of all countries on this planet, great or small, through the state and nongovernmental organizations and at international platforms and closely follow the cutthroat fight of the “giants” on the chessboard, trying to defeat one another, while setting up its own game without taking the bait itself. It's not an easy task. We can see it is difficult in these days, but we are going to succeed.
Turkey has known to clearly show with its special attitude to date, that it is determined not to be a pawn, despite those who have been castigating its foreign policy. Everyone knows that a characterless Turkey that keeps away from everything – as suggested by our social democrat opposition – and eventually becomes “withdrawn” or a Turkey that dances to someone else's tune, is not going to have a chance to live or be perceived in the current conjuncture or see respect, and that the obvious powers are not going to allow anyone to tan on the beach in the Middle East tsunami.
Former Deputy Prime Minister Ali Babacan, who took post in 12 different ministry positions and is currently a deputy in Parliament, was the guest of honor at the Association of Real Estate Investment Companies' (GYODER) traditional High Advisory Board (YİK) meeting. I had the chance to listen to him many times during the years he was a member of the government. It was another very stimulating speech this time, too.
Since the meeting was closed to the press, I cannot include the details here. However, I am sure that both YİK President Avni Çelik and GYODER President Aziz Torun will allow me to briefly touch on the final question and Mr. Deputy's response.
I humbly asked: “Until 2008, 2010 and even 2011, the West, its politicians and media were raving about our president and country. As a matter of fact, there was even a mention of President [Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan being shown as a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. Then there was a breaking point and a fusillade started from every front. President Erdoğan and Turkey were turned into targets with the most aggressive accusations. This attack is still ongoing. What do you think happened at this breaking point?”
In summary, Mr. Babacan said: “The economic and political coup attempts that followed the Arab Spring and Gezi events show that Turkey started to step on someone's toes and conflicted the interests of some countries. That point of conflict of interests, which you refer to as the breaking point, coincides with just about the same period.”
It was quite important to hear a matter that we frequently mention in this column from a politician who closely lived those periods and had political responsibility.
At the point reached, Turkey has shown both friend and foe that it will not fall prey in the lion's den.