Turkey as a pioneer in world diplomacy

The active role of Turkish foreign policy in international politics recently came to a head at the Antalya Diplomacy Forum. The forum, which brought together participants from 75 countries, including 17 heads of state and government, and 80 ministers, was held with the theme of “Reconstructing Diplomacy”.

The Foreign Ministers of Russia and Ukraine met for the first time in Antalya on March 10, after the attacks began. Antalya Diplomacy Forum, which was held on 11-13 March, hosted many historical meetings.

Participants from all over the world came together. 17 heads of state and government, 80 ministers and 39 representatives of international institutions from 75 countries participated in the forum. Turkey, on the other hand, has become the country where the pulse of diplomacy beats in the world.

Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu made the statement that "More than one third of the states in the world, about 40 percent, were represented here at the highest level."

NORMALIZATION STEPS FROM TURKEY

Last week's first important meeting took place with Israel's first Presidential visit to Turkey in years. While Israeli President Isaac Herzog met with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan during his visit on March 9, the promise of further development of relations was at the forefront in the statements of the two Presidents.

Speaking at the bilateral press conference after the meeting, Erdoğan emphasized the advancement of economic and commercial relations between the two countries. Stating that Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Fatih Dönmez and Minister of Foreign Affairs Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu will organize visits to Israel and that he attaches importance to these visits, Erdoğan added that energy cooperation can be made in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

Israeli President Herzog, on the other hand, described the meeting as a "continuation of the dialogue" that had begun. Herzog said, "Israel and Turkey can and should cooperate in a region that we all call home in many areas."

Among the meetings held within the scope of ADF, the meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and Çavuşoğlu attracted the attention of all the media. Both sides made positive statements regarding the meeting between Mirzoyan and Çavuşoğlu, who announced at the beginning of last week that he would attend the forum.

Another neighbor visit was made on 13 March. While Greek Prime Minister Kiryakos Mitsotakis was meeting with Erdogan in Istanbul, the messages of keeping mutual communication channels open, improving bilateral relations, increasing cooperation and focusing on the positive agenda came to the fore.

On March 10, the 8th Istanbul Mediation Conference started in Antalya. More than 200 people attended the conference organized by Turkey to raise awareness about mediation.

The Foreign Ministers of Palestine and Kuwait attended the conference, while the United Nations and the Secretary General of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe attended the conference via videoconference.

Another important meeting that took place on March 10 was held between President Erdoğan and President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev. During the meeting of the two Presidents, who came together in Ankara, the latest situation in the Russia-Ukraine war, bilateral relations and the contribution of the cooperation between the two countries to European energy security were discussed.

TURKEY IS SETTING AT THE CENTER OF REGIONAL DIPLOMACY

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, who came to Turkey for the Antalya Diplomacy Forum, met separately with President Tayyip Erdoğan and Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency on March 11, NATO Secretary General said that he appreciated Turkey's efforts to facilitate diplomatic and political processes that could lead to a peaceful solution in Ukraine.

Emphasizing that Turkey's NATO membership is of strategic importance for regional security, Stoltenberg called on Russian President Putin to "end the war, withdraw his forces, and engage in diplomatic efforts."

Stoltenberg said that they expect all allies to impose sanctions on Russia and conveyed this issue to Çavuşoğlu and said, "Turkey plays a key role here. Turkey also provides important capacities to Ukraine. SİHAs are important at this point.”

President Erdoğan held a phone conversation with US President Joe Biden on March 10. During the 45-minute meeting, Erdogan emphasized Turkey's "balance policy" and conveyed the importance of being able to talk to both sides in the Ukraine-Russia crisis. Erdogan said that it was a "diplomatic victory" for the parties to meet in Antalya.

President Erdoğan stated that he expects Turkey's demand, which includes the purchase of 40 new aircraft from the United States and the modernization of existing F-16s, to be finalized as soon as possible and expressed his desire to lift sanctions against Turkey in the field of defense industry.

In the statements made by both the White House Spokesperson and the US Department of State after the talks, it was emphasized that Turkey's efforts to seek a diplomatic solution to the Russia and Ukraine crisis were welcomed by the US.

The issue that the world politics has transformed and that the current international system is not suitable for carrying it at the current point was the most important topic that came to the fore in the ADF. This was the main issue that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan focused heavily on in his opening speech. President Erdogan has been calling for a reform through Turkey for a long time. This policy, which also shows an established discursive unity with the motto "The World Is Bigger Than Five", is now being expressed by more countries.

The only way to move away from surrendering the world to purely military issues and the anarchic nature of great power politics is to recode diplomacy in this sense. With the Russian occupation of Ukraine, it has been understood that this reform is not a choice but a necessity.