Is FM Fidan’s foreign policy vision for Türkiye too ambitious?
Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan delivered his most comprehensive speech on his vision of a national foreign policy and the Foreign Ministry’s role at the 14th Ambassadors Conference. Stressing that the global system was experiencing “complex and multiple crises,” he highlighted injustice, risks and the need for change. Arguing that Türkiye, under President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership, shall be among the countries shaping the new international system, Fidan added that the “Century of Türkiye” vision’s foreign policy objective was to transform Türkiye into a “system-building player.”
Surely enough, Türkiye will not go it alone. Quite the contrary, as I posited in my previous column, the country will promote a “new and solution-oriented multilateralism” – as President Erdoğan demonstrates with his pioneering role. Accordingly, Ankara aims to cooperate with others to build an inclusive international system as it did during the COVID-19 pandemic and the Ukraine war.
The foreign minister identified four strategic objectives in his address: “Promoting peace and security in our region, placing our external affairs on a structural footing, improving the climate of welfare, and furthering our global goals.” To meet those targets, it is necessary to coordinate actions in a broad range of areas from the economy and defense to energy and communication.
The “national foreign policy vision” of Fidan, who thus summarized Türkiye’s approach to various regions, countries and issues, is perfectly aligned with Erdoğan’s integrated approach to politics and the conceptualization of the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) 2023 election manifesto.
It goes without saying that the Turkish government has realistic goals and a realistic vision for the next five years and builds on its two decades of foreign policy experience. Obviously, the Ukraine war fueled fresh uncertainty and violence in the global system. The military coups in Africa, too, reflect great power competition and will continue to happen. Global and regional powers shall experience new crises and conflicts.
Fidan’s vision reflects nation’s needs
Having played an active role in the management of various foreign policy issues as Türkiye’s intelligence chief, Fidan’s vision of a national foreign policy reflects the country’s needs and pursuit of a new international status. That vision may be ambitious but it is not a case of adventurism. It values institutionalization, integration, principles, multilateralism and cooperation with friends and allies.
Yet the country has realistic expectations when it comes to resolving and managing ongoing crises. It is also fully aware of the risks that security problems entail. Naturally, Türkiye needs to significantly improve coordination and capacity to make its national foreign policy vision a reality. In this sense, President Erdoğan’s active leadership and experience represent the country’s most significant advantages.
To make the “Century of Türkiye” vision a reality, Fidan summarizes the Foreign Ministry’s role in three categories: To keep track of external relations and all their dimensions, to develop positions regarding current problems and strategic opportunities, and to ensure coordination between ministries and agencies.
Those three tasks will force Turkish diplomats to be more active and productive. The 14th Ambassadors Conference will enable a comprehensive review of that new agenda.