Turkey’s revised list of countries believed to be threats to its national security confirms Ankara’s strategic drift away from the West, according to the Heritage Foundation.
Ankara removed Iran, Iraq, Syria, Bulgaria, Georgia and Armenia, Russia, and Greece from their list of “threatening countries.”
“Iran, seen as a major threat in earlier versions of the confidential document because of its Islamic rule and nuclear capacity, is no longer the number one threat for Turkey, although the document emphasizes that the Middle East should be cleansed of nuclear weapons. In a major break with the West’s stance, Turkey voted against sanctions on Iran because of its contentious nuclear program at the UN Security Council in June. Turkey calls for a negotiated settlement to the international dispute and, earlier in June, it brokered a nuclear swap deal with Tehran, although the deal failed to stop UN sanctions,” read a report on Turkish Today’s Zaman.
For the first time since 1948, Ankara named “Israel’s instability-inducing actions in the Middle East” as a threat to its national security. “The region’s instability stems from Israeli actions and policy, which could lead to an arms race in the Middle East,” the report pointed out.
This restates Turkey’s position that it will be fair that if Iran is being asked not to have nuclear weapons, then Israel should give them up as well.
According to the Heritage Foundation, Turkey showed its hostility to staunch US ally Israel with other measures as well – a “strategic partnership” between Turkey and Syria, and Ankara’s alleged military supply agreement with Hezbollah.
According to EA WorldView religious reaction is no longer mentioned as a domestic threat in the document. Instead, it mentions “radical groups exploiting religion,” a term which, under the Turkish Penal Code (TCK), refers to groups that, by employing violent methods, use religion for destructive and separatist activities.
Turkey’s top-secret national security policy document (MGSB), also called the Red Book or the Secret Constitution, lists Turkey’s perceived domestic and external threats. It is regularly updated by the National Security Council.
According to Bloomberg, Turkey’s national security document was last revised in 2005, when Islamic fundamentalism and Kurdish separatism were considered the greatest threats to the country’s security. Moreover, according to the Heritage Foundation, the Red Book just underwent its most drastic changes since the document was first issued in 1980.
In the meantime, in his article, Turkey’s new threat assessment: a challenge for Washington, Ariel Cohen, a Senior Research Fellow in Russian and Eurasian Studies and International Energy Policy in the Douglas and Sarah Allison Center for Foreign Policy Studies, suggests that “the Obama Administration should express a grave concern over Turkey’s foreign policy trajectory, as relations with Iran and Israeli have become a litmus test for Turkish foreign policy course.”
Cohen also intimated that “the U.S. Government should offer incentives, but should also apply more pressure to deter Turkey from growing closer to Iran.”
“Washington should insist on a Turkish-Israeli rapprochement—including the vital intelligence sharing regarding the Iranian threat. This is a strategic priority the White House cannot ignore,” Cohen said.
Countries today are tilting their diplomacy towards suitable partners – where some political, military and economic gains can be secured. Turkey appears to feel more comfortable with the so-called “axis of evil” in the words of former US President Gorge Walker Bush Jr.