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The centennial of the Republic of Turkey. Modern trends in the internal and foreign policy

photo: independent.co.uk
3 November 2023
Amur GadzhiyevAmur Gadzhiyev

Amur Gadzhiyev

Candidate of historical sciences, CISS expert

On 29 October 2023, the Republic of Turkey celebrated the 100th anniversary from the day it had been founded. For the recent two decades, the Justice and Development Party (the AK Party) headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been ruling the state. The country has undergone significant changes over this period.

The current distribution of political forces in the country

This May, the presidential race and parliamentary elections took place in Turkey. R.T. Erdogan and the Peoples Alliance coalition which he headed, consisting of the AK Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (the MHP) headed by Devlet Bahçeli, the Great Union Party (the BBP) headed by Mustafa Destici and the New Welfare Party (the RP) headed by Fatih Erbakan, won once again. The election campaign turned out to be one of the most difficult and tensed one in Turkey over the recent two decades.

One of the important political outcomes of the elections in May was the breakup of the opposition National Alliance consisting of six parties: the Republican Peoples Party (the CHP) headed by Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu;  the Party of Humanity, Novations and Good (the Good Party) headed by Meral Akȿener; the Felicity Party (SP) headed by Temel Karamollaoğlu;  the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) headed by headed by Ali Babacan;  the Future Party (GP) headed by Ahmet Davutoğlu; the Democrat Party (DP) headed by Gultekin Uysal.

Some opposition parties and politicians started drifting towards the ruling authorities. This was the situation in the country when the municipal elections campaign commenced, which will take place on 31 March 2024. The party in power views the forthcoming elections as the possibility of revenge for its partial defeat (especially in Istanbul and Ankara) during the previous elections to local power bodies in 2019. And we need to say, that the aspirations of the AK Party are not groundless, because it is highly unlikely for the opposition to repeat its triumph of 2019 due to lack of unity.

The new period, which commenced after the May elections, started with the announcement about the preparation of the text of the new Constitution. To bring the text of the Constitution to the referendum, 3/5 of votes are required, i.e., 360 out of 600 mandates. Considering the effective distribution of seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the split inside the opposition, the necessary 360 votes may be obtained the AK Party (263) + MHP (50) + SP (20) + DEVA (15) + BTP (5) + the Free Cause Party (4) + DP (3). 

Erdogans mega-projects and social-economic problems

Currently the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan is actively implementing the concept of Turkey as a regional logistics center, energy hub and international traffic corridor for food cargos. The full-scale launch of all these transit initiatives can provide quite promising prospects for Turkey, and simultaneously the funds for the state treasury. R.T. Erdogan is already receiving certain political benefits from the start of partial implementation of some of these projects, so their monetization will come soon. The Turkish President understands this and puts in great efforts to assure the commencement of these initiatives performing at full capacity within the established deadlines.

On top of all that, the commissioning of a series of infrastructure facilities is scheduled for 2023-2024, including the ones in industrial manufacturing, energy and logistics. A number of the already performing major projects (both infrastructural and hi-tec of civilian, defense and dual purpose) will be expanded and brought up to the new level; some of them were commenced during the times of the AK Party rule. 

The development of the Turkish defense industry deserves special attention. During the several recent years, it made a quantum leap demonstrating noticeable progress and efficiency improvement, which not only contributed to increasing the defense capabilities of the Turkish army, but also made the Turkish weapons popular all over the world. Currently, seven Turkish companies are in the list of the manufacturers of high-quality defense industry products in accordance with the high global standards. Three Turkish companies engaged into manufacturing military equipment and spare parts were included into the top-100 of the defense companies of the world. The Turkish defense industry includes several dozens of enterprises in the key sectors of armament manufacturing. Currently, the Turkish defense industry participates in implementing the National Development Plan designed for the period 2019-2023. By the end of this period, the defense industry should cover 75% of the needs of the Armed Forces of Turkey.

After winning the presidential race in May 2023, R.T. Erdogan faced the need for urgent changes in the state economic policy. The national currency continued its slide, inflation rate did not go down, and there was no spare money in the budget due to the pre-electoral populist policies. The Turkish leader had to call for the economists with the views opposite to his own and to agree for almost doubling the key interest rate. However, it turned out to be not enough: the Turkish lira continued to lose its positions and on 23 June 2023 it collapsed down to its historic minimum.

At the same time, the market decrease of the Turkish lira exchange rate helped the exporters to improve their competitiveness and allowed for the National Central Bank to recover its hard currency reserves. The Government succeeded in aligning fiscal imbalances caused by the reconstruction after the February earthquakes and by the election campaign expenses, and this was partially done by way of increasing the tax rates. The tightening of monetary policy is expected to continue gradually until the municipal elections of 2024, which is a sign of keeping the high inflation rate in the next several months.

In addition to the slide in the Turkish lira exchange rate, surge of prices including real estate prices, and countering the consequences of the February earthquakes, the Government has to deal with the excessive influx of refugees and illegal migrants. According to the recent data provided by the Turkish Government to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of emigrants from Syria as of 14 September 2023 in Turkey was 3,288,755 persons. At the same time, starting from 1 January 2023, their number decreased by 247,143 persons and reached its 7-years minimum. In addition to emigrants from Syria, there are also refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey from a number of other countries mainly from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia.

The big number of illegal migrants is perceived in Turkey not only as a social-economic problem, but also as direct threat to the national security. After the elections, the Ankara's migration policy was revised, especially with respect to its «open doors» element, first of all for the refugees from Syria. Hence, the Turkish authorities became noticeably active in identifying and deporting of illegal migrants.

Foreign policy concepts of the ruling party

Having come into power in 2002 under the slogan «Everything for Turkey» (Her şey Türkiye için), the AK Party leaders by the end of their first five years in 2007 claimed the intent to bring new qualitative features for their foreign policy: it was to become more ambitious, pro-active and independent. Ankara was no longer limited by its objective to become a regional power: it strived to turn the country into «the power influencing the international development», and for that it had to «refuse from the defensing position in responding to international crises» based on the regional and global vision.

In 2010, within the framework of preparation for the second national referendum on the Constitution, the AK Party presented the concept of «New Turkey» (Yeni Tükiye). 2023 was set as one of the important targets, when the state had to achieve regional superiority in a series of spheres, and the AK Party leaders promoted the following foreign policy objective to turn Turkey into the «independent, influential and global power».

In 2013, the Turkish leadership advanced a thesis of «The world is bigger than five» (with a reference to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council). Turkey started active positioning itself as one of the growing centers of the global geopolitical influence. Delivering his speech at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, R.T. Erdogan claimed that Ankara was striving for playing a more significant role in international affairs. He is convinced that the foreign policy of modern Turkey has become more responsible, independent and multi-vector one.

In 2018, the AK Party leaders introduced the term of «Strong Turkey» (Güçlü Türkiye) into the political vocabulary, as well as the «Strong Government» (Güçlü Hükümet) concept as the basis for Strong Turkey. The Party also claimed that the foreign policy had to be built on the principle of reasonable combination of the soft power and strong power instruments [in accordance with the «smart power» (Akıllı Güç) concept], forming the so-called Turkish axis (Türkiye Ekseni) on the basis of absolutely new interpretation of multi-vector foreign policy assuming not the axis shift (eksen kayması) from West to East, but strengthening cooperation with different countries and their associations exclusively in the interests of Turkey as one of the new power centers of the polycentric world. 

Within the preparation to the electoral campaign of 2023, the key points of the Turkish axis concept were reflected in the vision of the Turkish Centennial (Türkiye Yüzyılı) proclaimed in the election program of the AK Party. This document highlighted one of the key objectives forming the Turkish axis in the new century based on the recent 20-years foreign policy foundation as an effective, independent, dynamic and stable in the new international system of axes.

The AK Program highlighted that the understanding of foreign policy and security was based on the integral strategy with the following six founding principles:

  1. Efficient implementation of multifaceted, multidimensional, self-motivated and humanitarian (human-oriented) diplomacy based on negotiations and consent.
     
  2. Assuring the rule of international law and fairness across the globe on the basis of maintaining territorial integrity and political unity of all the countries, especially the neighboring ones.
     
  3. Establishing maximum trade and economic cooperation with the close and far-away regions.
     
  4. Implementing the cultural diplomacy focused on interaction between the regions with different cultural and civilization specifics.
     
  5. Implementing the peaceful diplomacy, the priority of which is resolving conflicts be peaceful means.
     
  6. Solving national security problems with all its economic, humanitarian and environmental aspects by way of strengthening the status of Turkey as the deterrent military power.

The AK Party announced its strategic objective strengthening the status of Turkey of a global player by way of effective adaptation to the changing international system. 

In addition to the Turkish Centennial, the AK Party has other programs (with different degrees of development) for 2053 (600 years from conquering Constantinople in 1453), and even for 2071 (1000th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071). Future will show the extent of their demand and relevancy. Meanwhile, lets get back to modern times and identify the key features of the Turkish foreign policy.

Modern foreign policy trends

Having noticeably strengthened its regional position and influence on the neighboring countries over the recent two decades, Turkey proclaimed itself a «supra-regional power» claiming a bigger role in the global politics and in the global governance system. The aspiration for joining the Top League of the global politics is reflected practically in all the recent policy documents of the AK Party. Ankara strives to participate in forming the international agenda using all possible means. This was especially manifested in Karabakh problem, Syrian crisis, Libya problem, Black Sea Grain Initiative, etc., when again and again Turkey turned out to be in the focus of global policy.

In the context of the stepped-up competition of the great powers, modern Turkey aspires to position itself as an influential global player capable of performing as the «balancing force». Modern Turkish diplomacy views the current geopolitical situation as a certain «springboard» for achieving its own foreign policy objectives. At the same time, Turkey intends to become one of the architects of regional security by way of filling the political vacuum, which emerged due to the shrinkage of presence of Western powers in the Middle East and in Africa.

Weapons supplies and opening its military bases are important instruments for implementing the Ankaras foreign policy agenda at the current stage. In our opinion, the following three trends contribute to such transformation of the Turkish foreign policy:

  1. Militarization and securitization of the Turkish diplomacy. It is noteworthy, for example, that in the policy document of the AK Party in 2018 the section dedicated to foreign policy was called «Foreign Policy and National Security».
     
  2. The national defense industry development contributing to practical implementation of the foreign policy doctrine.
     
  3. The thesis about the Turkish defense starting far beyond the Turkish boundaries. This thesis is rooted in the NATO concept of «forward defense».

After the elections in May 2023, Hakan Fidan was appointed the head of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has huge experience of working both in the armed forces, and in the sphere of diplomacy; he has also worked in various universities and in the intelligence service; in the UN, IAEA and NATO; he used to head the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Coordination (TİKA), to be the member of the board for the Yunus Emre Foundation, etc. He is often called «the keeper of Erdogans secrets», «the black box», «the mystery pitcher». It is quite possible that in the new Turkish foreign policy the diplomatic tools kit will be revised with account of modern approaches to security assurance.

A number of observers have already called the new period of the Turkish diplomacy «the Fidans era» similar to the preceding periods of Ahmet Davutoglu and Mevlut Çavuȿoğlu. But so far, we can only acknowledge that Ankara continues its efforts to increase its role in the existing system of foreign relations. The emerging uncertainty in this system opens certain opportunities for Turkey, who views the uncertainty and the period of transition in the foreign relations system as the possibility for a «more aggressive» foreign policy.

In its recent political program, the AK Party emphasized: it intends to keep the course for developing the relations both with the Western countries and with Russia. In the context of on-going conflict in Ukraine, Turkey (in accordance with the plans of the AK Party) will continue to adhere to the «neutrality policy». The pre-election document of the AK Party also states that Ankara will step-up the contacts with all the stakeholders of the Syrian conflict to achieve the settlement of the situation in this country.

According to the above-mentioned document, the relations with the neighboring countries will be strengthening «on the basis of mutual respect for national interests, cooperation, prosperity, stability and peace». The document emphasizes that Turkey will continue its policy to strengthen the security on its borders, to counteract terrorism and to protect its sovereignty. Hence, the current multi-vector foreign policy course of Ankara is very likely to persist. And it means that the vector of Russian-Turkish relations will not be subject to any serious adjustments.

For the leaders of Russia Erdogan is a «customary» and «predictable» partner capable of assisting in resolving different regional and international issues. In its turn, Ankara understands: the position of Moscow in an important factor for the Turkish presence in the regions of Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea zone and the Middle East. Russia and Turkey both took part in setting up the international format for interacting along the Syrian vector; Moscow and Ankara both have significant experience of bilateral cooperation on Karabakh. Turkey remains interested is providing the intermediary services in the Ukrainian conflict seeing this as an opportunity to strengthen its positions on the global arena. Having initiated the setup of regional mechanism for solving the global food problems under the auspices of the UN, Turkey received an additional opportunity to present itself as a responsible global player.

In the current military and political context, we can assume that Turkey under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue its independent foreign policy. The relations of Turkey with the USA and the EU, to which it still has a number of claims including in the spheres of technical military cooperation and terrorism counteracting, will not undergo any drastic change. However, the fact of Ankara keeping the previous foreign policy course does not mean that the toolkit of the Turkish diplomacy will remain the same.

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Caspian Institute for Strategic Studies
Publications

The centennial of the Republic of Turkey. Modern trends in the internal and foreign policy

photo: independent.co.uk
3 2023
Amur Gadzhiyev

Amur Gadzhiyev

Candidate of historical sciences, CISS expert

On 29 October 2023, the Republic of Turkey celebrated the 100th anniversary from the day it had been founded. For the recent two decades, the Justice and Development Party (the AK Party) headed by Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been ruling the state. The country has undergone significant changes over this period.

The current distribution of political forces in the country

This May, the presidential race and parliamentary elections took place in Turkey. R.T. Erdogan and the Peoples Alliance coalition which he headed, consisting of the AK Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (the MHP) headed by Devlet Bahçeli, the Great Union Party (the BBP) headed by Mustafa Destici and the New Welfare Party (the RP) headed by Fatih Erbakan, won once again. The election campaign turned out to be one of the most difficult and tensed one in Turkey over the recent two decades.

One of the important political outcomes of the elections in May was the breakup of the opposition National Alliance consisting of six parties: the Republican Peoples Party (the CHP) headed by Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu;  the Party of Humanity, Novations and Good (the Good Party) headed by Meral Akȿener; the Felicity Party (SP) headed by Temel Karamollaoğlu;  the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) headed by headed by Ali Babacan;  the Future Party (GP) headed by Ahmet Davutoğlu; the Democrat Party (DP) headed by Gultekin Uysal.

Some opposition parties and politicians started drifting towards the ruling authorities. This was the situation in the country when the municipal elections campaign commenced, which will take place on 31 March 2024. The party in power views the forthcoming elections as the possibility of revenge for its partial defeat (especially in Istanbul and Ankara) during the previous elections to local power bodies in 2019. And we need to say, that the aspirations of the AK Party are not groundless, because it is highly unlikely for the opposition to repeat its triumph of 2019 due to lack of unity.

The new period, which commenced after the May elections, started with the announcement about the preparation of the text of the new Constitution. To bring the text of the Constitution to the referendum, 3/5 of votes are required, i.e., 360 out of 600 mandates. Considering the effective distribution of seats in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey and the split inside the opposition, the necessary 360 votes may be obtained the AK Party (263) + MHP (50) + SP (20) + DEVA (15) + BTP (5) + the Free Cause Party (4) + DP (3). 

Erdogans mega-projects and social-economic problems

Currently the President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan is actively implementing the concept of Turkey as a regional logistics center, energy hub and international traffic corridor for food cargos. The full-scale launch of all these transit initiatives can provide quite promising prospects for Turkey, and simultaneously the funds for the state treasury. R.T. Erdogan is already receiving certain political benefits from the start of partial implementation of some of these projects, so their monetization will come soon. The Turkish President understands this and puts in great efforts to assure the commencement of these initiatives performing at full capacity within the established deadlines.

On top of all that, the commissioning of a series of infrastructure facilities is scheduled for 2023-2024, including the ones in industrial manufacturing, energy and logistics. A number of the already performing major projects (both infrastructural and hi-tec of civilian, defense and dual purpose) will be expanded and brought up to the new level; some of them were commenced during the times of the AK Party rule. 

The development of the Turkish defense industry deserves special attention. During the several recent years, it made a quantum leap demonstrating noticeable progress and efficiency improvement, which not only contributed to increasing the defense capabilities of the Turkish army, but also made the Turkish weapons popular all over the world. Currently, seven Turkish companies are in the list of the manufacturers of high-quality defense industry products in accordance with the high global standards. Three Turkish companies engaged into manufacturing military equipment and spare parts were included into the top-100 of the defense companies of the world. The Turkish defense industry includes several dozens of enterprises in the key sectors of armament manufacturing. Currently, the Turkish defense industry participates in implementing the National Development Plan designed for the period 2019-2023. By the end of this period, the defense industry should cover 75% of the needs of the Armed Forces of Turkey.

After winning the presidential race in May 2023, R.T. Erdogan faced the need for urgent changes in the state economic policy. The national currency continued its slide, inflation rate did not go down, and there was no spare money in the budget due to the pre-electoral populist policies. The Turkish leader had to call for the economists with the views opposite to his own and to agree for almost doubling the key interest rate. However, it turned out to be not enough: the Turkish lira continued to lose its positions and on 23 June 2023 it collapsed down to its historic minimum.

At the same time, the market decrease of the Turkish lira exchange rate helped the exporters to improve their competitiveness and allowed for the National Central Bank to recover its hard currency reserves. The Government succeeded in aligning fiscal imbalances caused by the reconstruction after the February earthquakes and by the election campaign expenses, and this was partially done by way of increasing the tax rates. The tightening of monetary policy is expected to continue gradually until the municipal elections of 2024, which is a sign of keeping the high inflation rate in the next several months.

In addition to the slide in the Turkish lira exchange rate, surge of prices including real estate prices, and countering the consequences of the February earthquakes, the Government has to deal with the excessive influx of refugees and illegal migrants. According to the recent data provided by the Turkish Government to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the number of emigrants from Syria as of 14 September 2023 in Turkey was 3,288,755 persons. At the same time, starting from 1 January 2023, their number decreased by 247,143 persons and reached its 7-years minimum. In addition to emigrants from Syria, there are also refugees and asylum seekers in Turkey from a number of other countries mainly from Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Somalia.

The big number of illegal migrants is perceived in Turkey not only as a social-economic problem, but also as direct threat to the national security. After the elections, the Ankara's migration policy was revised, especially with respect to its «open doors» element, first of all for the refugees from Syria. Hence, the Turkish authorities became noticeably active in identifying and deporting of illegal migrants.

Foreign policy concepts of the ruling party

Having come into power in 2002 under the slogan «Everything for Turkey» (Her şey Türkiye için), the AK Party leaders by the end of their first five years in 2007 claimed the intent to bring new qualitative features for their foreign policy: it was to become more ambitious, pro-active and independent. Ankara was no longer limited by its objective to become a regional power: it strived to turn the country into «the power influencing the international development», and for that it had to «refuse from the defensing position in responding to international crises» based on the regional and global vision.

In 2010, within the framework of preparation for the second national referendum on the Constitution, the AK Party presented the concept of «New Turkey» (Yeni Tükiye). 2023 was set as one of the important targets, when the state had to achieve regional superiority in a series of spheres, and the AK Party leaders promoted the following foreign policy objective to turn Turkey into the «independent, influential and global power».

In 2013, the Turkish leadership advanced a thesis of «The world is bigger than five» (with a reference to the five permanent members of the UN Security Council). Turkey started active positioning itself as one of the growing centers of the global geopolitical influence. Delivering his speech at the 77th session of the UN General Assembly, R.T. Erdogan claimed that Ankara was striving for playing a more significant role in international affairs. He is convinced that the foreign policy of modern Turkey has become more responsible, independent and multi-vector one.

In 2018, the AK Party leaders introduced the term of «Strong Turkey» (Güçlü Türkiye) into the political vocabulary, as well as the «Strong Government» (Güçlü Hükümet) concept as the basis for Strong Turkey. The Party also claimed that the foreign policy had to be built on the principle of reasonable combination of the soft power and strong power instruments [in accordance with the «smart power» (Akıllı Güç) concept], forming the so-called Turkish axis (Türkiye Ekseni) on the basis of absolutely new interpretation of multi-vector foreign policy assuming not the axis shift (eksen kayması) from West to East, but strengthening cooperation with different countries and their associations exclusively in the interests of Turkey as one of the new power centers of the polycentric world. 

Within the preparation to the electoral campaign of 2023, the key points of the Turkish axis concept were reflected in the vision of the Turkish Centennial (Türkiye Yüzyılı) proclaimed in the election program of the AK Party. This document highlighted one of the key objectives forming the Turkish axis in the new century based on the recent 20-years foreign policy foundation as an effective, independent, dynamic and stable in the new international system of axes.

The AK Program highlighted that the understanding of foreign policy and security was based on the integral strategy with the following six founding principles:

  1. Efficient implementation of multifaceted, multidimensional, self-motivated and humanitarian (human-oriented) diplomacy based on negotiations and consent.
     
  2. Assuring the rule of international law and fairness across the globe on the basis of maintaining territorial integrity and political unity of all the countries, especially the neighboring ones.
     
  3. Establishing maximum trade and economic cooperation with the close and far-away regions.
     
  4. Implementing the cultural diplomacy focused on interaction between the regions with different cultural and civilization specifics.
     
  5. Implementing the peaceful diplomacy, the priority of which is resolving conflicts be peaceful means.
     
  6. Solving national security problems with all its economic, humanitarian and environmental aspects by way of strengthening the status of Turkey as the deterrent military power.

The AK Party announced its strategic objective strengthening the status of Turkey of a global player by way of effective adaptation to the changing international system. 

In addition to the Turkish Centennial, the AK Party has other programs (with different degrees of development) for 2053 (600 years from conquering Constantinople in 1453), and even for 2071 (1000th anniversary of the victory in the Battle of Manzikert in 1071). Future will show the extent of their demand and relevancy. Meanwhile, lets get back to modern times and identify the key features of the Turkish foreign policy.

Modern foreign policy trends

Having noticeably strengthened its regional position and influence on the neighboring countries over the recent two decades, Turkey proclaimed itself a «supra-regional power» claiming a bigger role in the global politics and in the global governance system. The aspiration for joining the Top League of the global politics is reflected practically in all the recent policy documents of the AK Party. Ankara strives to participate in forming the international agenda using all possible means. This was especially manifested in Karabakh problem, Syrian crisis, Libya problem, Black Sea Grain Initiative, etc., when again and again Turkey turned out to be in the focus of global policy.

In the context of the stepped-up competition of the great powers, modern Turkey aspires to position itself as an influential global player capable of performing as the «balancing force». Modern Turkish diplomacy views the current geopolitical situation as a certain «springboard» for achieving its own foreign policy objectives. At the same time, Turkey intends to become one of the architects of regional security by way of filling the political vacuum, which emerged due to the shrinkage of presence of Western powers in the Middle East and in Africa.

Weapons supplies and opening its military bases are important instruments for implementing the Ankaras foreign policy agenda at the current stage. In our opinion, the following three trends contribute to such transformation of the Turkish foreign policy:

  1. Militarization and securitization of the Turkish diplomacy. It is noteworthy, for example, that in the policy document of the AK Party in 2018 the section dedicated to foreign policy was called «Foreign Policy and National Security».
     
  2. The national defense industry development contributing to practical implementation of the foreign policy doctrine.
     
  3. The thesis about the Turkish defense starting far beyond the Turkish boundaries. This thesis is rooted in the NATO concept of «forward defense».

After the elections in May 2023, Hakan Fidan was appointed the head of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He has huge experience of working both in the armed forces, and in the sphere of diplomacy; he has also worked in various universities and in the intelligence service; in the UN, IAEA and NATO; he used to head the Turkish Agency for Cooperation and Coordination (TİKA), to be the member of the board for the Yunus Emre Foundation, etc. He is often called «the keeper of Erdogans secrets», «the black box», «the mystery pitcher». It is quite possible that in the new Turkish foreign policy the diplomatic tools kit will be revised with account of modern approaches to security assurance.

A number of observers have already called the new period of the Turkish diplomacy «the Fidans era» similar to the preceding periods of Ahmet Davutoglu and Mevlut Çavuȿoğlu. But so far, we can only acknowledge that Ankara continues its efforts to increase its role in the existing system of foreign relations. The emerging uncertainty in this system opens certain opportunities for Turkey, who views the uncertainty and the period of transition in the foreign relations system as the possibility for a «more aggressive» foreign policy.

In its recent political program, the AK Party emphasized: it intends to keep the course for developing the relations both with the Western countries and with Russia. In the context of on-going conflict in Ukraine, Turkey (in accordance with the plans of the AK Party) will continue to adhere to the «neutrality policy». The pre-election document of the AK Party also states that Ankara will step-up the contacts with all the stakeholders of the Syrian conflict to achieve the settlement of the situation in this country.

According to the above-mentioned document, the relations with the neighboring countries will be strengthening «on the basis of mutual respect for national interests, cooperation, prosperity, stability and peace». The document emphasizes that Turkey will continue its policy to strengthen the security on its borders, to counteract terrorism and to protect its sovereignty. Hence, the current multi-vector foreign policy course of Ankara is very likely to persist. And it means that the vector of Russian-Turkish relations will not be subject to any serious adjustments.

For the leaders of Russia Erdogan is a «customary» and «predictable» partner capable of assisting in resolving different regional and international issues. In its turn, Ankara understands: the position of Moscow in an important factor for the Turkish presence in the regions of Central Asia, the Caucasus, the Black Sea zone and the Middle East. Russia and Turkey both took part in setting up the international format for interacting along the Syrian vector; Moscow and Ankara both have significant experience of bilateral cooperation on Karabakh. Turkey remains interested is providing the intermediary services in the Ukrainian conflict seeing this as an opportunity to strengthen its positions on the global arena. Having initiated the setup of regional mechanism for solving the global food problems under the auspices of the UN, Turkey received an additional opportunity to present itself as a responsible global player.

In the current military and political context, we can assume that Turkey under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan will continue its independent foreign policy. The relations of Turkey with the USA and the EU, to which it still has a number of claims including in the spheres of technical military cooperation and terrorism counteracting, will not undergo any drastic change. However, the fact of Ankara keeping the previous foreign policy course does not mean that the toolkit of the Turkish diplomacy will remain the same.