Posted 04.04.2012 09:32:35 UTC
Updated 05.04.2012 13:31:01 UTC
Author: Professor Dr. Ramazan Gözen, Yıldırım Beyazıt University
Just as nature vents its anger through storms impossible to be held back, so do international relations with tumultuous times punctuating their course. What we are going to talk about now are the forebodings of such a storm across the globe. Although some experts qualify it as a crisis, that word falls short of explaining or describing the international picture today's developments give. In fact, those developments are so intertwined and complicated, the classic definition of crisis is also insufficient. If the required measures are not taken urgently, they are quite likely to gain strength and be a hurricane. And when compared, international hurricanes are much more detrimental , violent and destructive in terms of the dangerous results they can generate than natural storms and hurricanes.
We have very recently witnessed head-spinningly critical developments in the international arena. Neither the fallout from the Arab spring has died down nor the dust has settled in Syria with the incessant pouring in of heart-wrenching reports of fierce clashes between the security forces and anti-regime groups. The confrontations between the sides in Syria have entered into a deadlock. On one side there are the Arab League, United States, Turkey and EU countries which insists that Al Assad exit, and on the other Russia, China , Iran and Iraq which are strongly in favour of the Syrian leader retaining his position. Tensions between the opposing sides in the international arena are steadily rising. The re-election of Putin to the Russian Presidency has boosted the possibility of Russia even further toughening its attitude regarding Syria. Russia's support of the Annan plan has clearly revealed that it wants Al Assad to remain at the helm of Syria. The Iraqi Foreign Minister in a speech he delivered at the Arab League meeting which took place in the Iraqi capital Baghdad for the first time in 20 years spoke of the necessity of the Annan plan's implementation. The thing is that the Annan plan has rendered the international storm even more chaotic. What we have to be thankful is that the plan has been welcomed by the UN Security Council and a unanimous vote has been taken on the floor for the urgency with which the problem is to be resolved. Additionally, Al Assad's statement that he is going to conform with the Annan plan has somewhat made the effect of a thaw in the atmosphere. If the Annan plan had been implemented at the very beginning, the storm would have probably ended by now. However, that possibility seems rather slim now. The developments exacerbating the storm are unfolding simultaneously and two of them are crucially important.
The first was the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul. Its aim was to discuss ways of clearing the world of nuclear technology and weapons. All other subjects being apart, that aim in itself is very important as it wants to stop a danger posing an irretrievable threat to all mankind. Nuclear weapons can be the source of a global cataclysm the scale of not an international hurricane but Noah's Flood. That is why the decisions taken at the Seoul summit to globally reduce the nuclear raw material, prevent nukes from being obtained by terrorists and cooperate against the nuclear threat are very useful. As it will take a great deal of time to see the results of the summit , we cannot say anything now about if it will genuinely stave off the risk of a nuclear upheaval. The Seoul summit's relatively shorter term agenda was about some topical issues such as the persuasion of Iran and Russia because of their nuclear programmes and links to Syria. The aim is both to change the stance of those countries, which are the very eye of the international storm and to find a formula to an aspired regime change in Syria and Iran's nuclear programme. The views and sensitivities of those countries also need to be taken into account. It is imperative that the conditions under which Al Assad may proceed to a regime change be acknowledged , that Iran's nuclear programme be understood correctly and Russia and China be persuaded to have them change their pro-Syria and pro-Iran policies.
These issues must have undoubtedly been mooted and discussed at length through bilateral and multi-lateral meetings at the Seoul summit . The talks among the actors from 53 countries, Obama, Medvedev, Hu and Erdoğan in particular, are known to have concentrated on Syria and Iran. As it was impossible to see the talks wrapped up in Seoul, it is clearly understandable that there is the necessity of conveying what was decided upon in Seoul to the countries which did not attend the summit. That task has once again fallen upon Turkey. Both in terms of its position in the international storm and the risk of being subjected to its favourable and unfavourable results, Turkey plays a key role. As a country bordering Iran, Syria and Russia desirous of global peace being established, Turkey is somehow obliged to play an active role. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's stop over in Iran for talks with Iranian officials on his way back from Seoul underlines the importance of that role. We have to take note of the meeting of Syria's Friends in İstanbul on April 1st and of another meeting to take place in Istanbul on a date yet to be determined in a bid to find a solution to Iran's nuclear programme.
Just as timing and durability is of utmost importance in the context of taking measures against natural storms, there are some measures needed to be taken to weather the international storms such as: having gritty determination in securing peace, preventing military intervention and having talks unhesitatingly with all the actors concerned to that end. What we have to stress in this connection is that Turkey should stay the course in pursuing a consistent peaceful policy and show the courage to change its present stance for peace if necessary until the ultimate goal is attained.
Turkey can spearhead the establishment of peace and order in a vast spectrum from the goals of the Seoul Nuclear Summit to the ideals of the Arab spring.