Turkey Foreign Policy – Jan. 18-24, 2016

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Turkey Foreign Policy - Jan. 18-24, 2016

This article is a joint product of Rusorient and SouthFront: Analysis & Intelligence; Thanks to J.Hawk for the help with the English text.

Due to the increase in terror threat level, Turkish papers have altered their rhetoric. Even opposition papers have stopped criticizing Turkish government and, even when they don’t support its actions, they adopt a neutral stance when describing anything related to Turkey’s foreign policy.

On January 19, Iraq’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Ibrahim al-Jafari met with US, French, and British ambassadors. During the meeting, the minister underscored that these countries ought to play a more substantial role in defusing the tensions between Iraq and Turkey after the latter country sent its troops to the vicinity of Mosul. All papers which reported on the meeting, including Milliyet, haberler.com, and Cumhuriyet, described the event in moderate tones, only Hürriyet called al-Jafari’s statement as “harsh.”

On January 20, Germany’s foreign minister appeared at a press conference organized for foreign journalists concerning the preparations for the first Germany-Turkey high-level cooperation council which took place on January 22. Steinmeier reiterated Turkey’s importance to the EU, referring to it as the “key” to resolving the refugee crisis. He also pointed out Turkey’s insufficient efforts at implementing the agreement calling for eliminating visa-free travel with third countries, although the Turkish press paid reported only those statements which outlined what Turkey’s government has already accomplished. Sabah, Akşam, Zaman, which are Turkey’s main newspapers, adopted a positive view of the statement, emphasizing the attention paid to Turkey’s role and its importance to the EU.

At the end of last week, the Turkish media recalled a statement made by the US Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. It referred to Turkey’s insufficient efforts at combating terrorism. What is noteworthy is that, in spite of the criticism inherent in the statement, Turkish press (Milliyet, Cumhuriyet, Yeni Şafak) have been attempting over the course of the week to make it look like not criticism but rather a request. Sabah actually drew attention to the US-Turkish joint program to train and equip Free Syrian Army fighters in an attempt to show that Carter’s statement is untrue.

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