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The West should pay attention to the global might of Türkiye

Chet Ramadan
October 19, 2023

The world is facing complex global challenges. This is an unquestionable truth. It is only right that President Erdogan addressed this recently, in his UN Assembly speech. There is war in Europe, illegal migration into the continent is still unresolved and the terror attack on Israel at the weekend has shocked the world.

It is long past time that Europe and the West listened to Türkiye’s President. Türkiye occupies a unique position in geopolitics as the gateway between the Western and Eastern worlds. Türkiye has a far greater understanding of the region from both its position and historical role in the surrounding regions.

You can see the influence that Türkiye is able to bring to bear as a reliable international broker. Türkiye has emerged as a key 'middle power' or mediator following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and played a significant role in convincing Russia to stop blockading Ukrainian grain exports. This was a diplomatic success – even if Putin predictably later reneged on the deal and the rest of the world failed to enforce the agreement.

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The world must listen to Türkiye as it starts to flex its diplomatic prowess. It is often seen as just a regional power, but this fundamentally misunderstands Türkiye’s position. As I mentioned earlier, it sits at the crossroad between the West and the East. It is an international power because its influence is far from limited to one region, like perhaps Poland. Türkiye’s international position and influence extends through Europe, the Mediterranean, the Middle East, the Caucasus, and North Africa.

So, when Türkiye talks about international instability and international problems that need to be addressed the world needs to take note. For example, the humanitarian tragedy in Syria is entering its thirteenth year and there seems to be no sign of the crisis ending and Europe continues to be more than happy to ignore how this is affecting the Middle East and migration routes. When Erdogan points to the ongoing problems in the Sahel and North Africa as the reasons for the ongoing boats crossing into southern France, Italy and Spain the EU should consider actually doing something to help resolve the problem.

There is another frozen conflict that needs to be resolved. One that has lasted longer than Syria’s war. Next year, Turkish Cypriots will have been in limbo for over 60 years without a sign of progress to a mutually beneficial or acceptable solution. 

The only true solution is now a system of two states – much like the UN and the EU support for Israel and Palestine. This is the fairest outcome for both Greek and Turkish Cypriots.

Erdogan used his address at the UN General Assembly to call on the international community to recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as an independent state. The West should pay more attention to the Cyprus issue as a solution is now closer than ever.

The West should pay more attention to the Cyprus issue as a solution is now closer than ever. Quote

Azerbaijan will soon be reunited with Nagorno-Karabakh and its peoples. Once the process is complete, the President of Azerbaijan has indicated that Azerbaijan will become the second nation to internationally recognise the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

Nagorno-Karabakh being reintegrated into Azerbaijan will bring greater stability to the Caucasus. In much the same way, further international recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will increase the chances of the true peaceful two-state solution that President Erdogan is calling for.

Chet Ramadan

Chet Ramadan is the Co-Chair of Freedom and Fairness for Northern Cyprus

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