By Ayesha Villalobos
Turkey is excessively dynamic and extremely huge to remain static to such a position. Turkey is a global force to reckon with; it is becoming or at least acting as a global power in the making. An exceptional one for that matter for the three reasons:
- Because it is the only great power that is also an insulator.
- It is a great power due more to its geopolitical positioning than its power.
- Turkey does not only recognize its potential but it also has the vision to achieve it.
However certain of Turkey’s economic growth and military might, Turkey still lags behind countries such as India, Brazil, Russia, China or Japan to attain a global status. As of these major international powers, Turkey’s defence expenditure in absolute terms is only higher than that of Brazil which has a budget lesser than other South American countries, such as Venezuela, Colombia, and Chile; it indicates a big gap to emerge in the ‘Top League.’
Even if its capacity remain short of being able to claim a great power status, its geopolitical positioning in the context of definition of a “great power” places Turkey on firm ground to be able to do so .Turkey’s geopolitical proximity to those RSC, two great powers (Europe and Russia) and a whole countless of international security issues (i. e the Iranian nuclear program, Arab-Israeli conflict, and Iraq) set Turkey at the central security agenda. Even though if it does not possess the capabilities in the full legitimacy of its equals, Turkey’s capacity to connect with all these regions and dealing pragmatically with issues at the same time provides the potential of becoming a great power in the near future.
Moreover, although Turkey is more than an insulator, and does not qualify the criteria to become a regional power, Turkey’s international activities are strongly influenced by structural actors of the international system such as Russia, China and the U.S, for the reason that great powers have a vitally specific concerns in satisfying the oil-gas rich regions and Turks can only have that much influence that they can concede, Turkey’s accomplishment will only be dependent in concurrence with the interests of the great powers. Relevance to the issue at hand, Turkey’s role in Central Asia, notwithstanding Russia’s retrieval of control of Central Asia and Turkey’s limited access to the region, this impede Turkeys bid of attaining a full-pledge great power status, but nevertheless due to its intensifying status , such ambitions will be realize within a decade .
In 2002, Turkey’s exports levelled reasonably a total of US$36 Billion, and six years thereafter , it reached rapidly to US$132 billion, establishing Turkey’ economic capabilities the 16th biggest in the world and placing it the 6th largest in Europe. This is because Turkey chose to protect its economic venture overseas and considering precautions against inevitable attack by foreign armed forces as their top priority. Since 2001, Turkey has a significant annual growth rate of 7% and maintaining this stance, Turkey will undoubtedly emerge as the ninth largest in the world by the year 2050.
Turkey’s remarkable economic growth coupled with extensive distribution , of its commercial linkages contributed to Turkey’s revitalise visualization of itself in both its neighbouring country and its involvement in the international arena, with these factors accompanied by its foreign and security policy will strengthen an increase in the aspect of material capacities, specifically its economy and by the acknowledgement of its neighbours and its indubitable significance in the international platform.
In 2002, when AKP assumed power, there has been some abrupt revision of this affair, together with stringent and positive determination to participate in and profit from the global economic order. It is apparent for Turkey’s political engagement that it is presently a state of stability a security producing country. It can never be denied though, that Turkey is now an emerging “global power”; Turkey’s involvement in the G-20 has expanded and boosted its international reputation as part of the forum that has now replaced the G-8 in the dialogue of the most serious international affair. By virtue of its stronger position in international relations, rapid and significant economic growth, stable military power and articulated discourse of stability and de-securitisation of inter-state relations.
However, Turkey’s isolation to any RSC, Turkey’s sustainability as an insulator remains a problematic factor. Suffice to mention that Turkey’s power standing; it still operates in a regional dimension. That is not entirely unfamiliar, economically, culturally and politically but for which it is alienated. In short Turkey does not possess its own backyard, even if Turkey will ascend to the top of the world’s economy and occupy an even stronger voice in international stage; this reality should not be over ruled.
Turkey’s, geopolitical fragility, makes it easy for Turkey to have a flexible foreign policy wherein it can adapt to extreme, and several security dynamics that it does not fully control. Hence, it prevents perilous exploitation. Furthermore, structural restraint imposed by the leading international powers-i.e. U.S , and Russia, Turkey is an exceptionally active actor in its neighbours, escalating trade and energy relations with them , and encouragement of direct people to people interactions.
Turkey has also shifted from security perception based on enmity relations with its neighbours to note, if not goodwill, at least stronger convergence of interests, Greece, Iran, Syria, Armenia, Russia and Iraq to mention a few of the countries with whom Turkey had an aperture from cold to aggressiveness kind of relationship, but Turkey at present have become a part of their expanding diplomatic and economic association. The above-stated changes accompanied by Turkey’s foreign and security policy heighten an increase in the aspect of material capabilities; specifically it’s economic and co-equal recognition of its undeniable significance in the international platform. Turkey’s, politicos recognise that Turkey is a great power in the” making” rather than a “present” reality.
For one thing is sure, Turkey is on the rise with a determined effort. It will rise to her past glory maybe sooner than most expect it to be.