'US needs Turkey in Middle East and beyond'
At Istanbul conference, political analysts say Turkey is emerging as a power beyond its region
The geo-political position of Turkey on the world map compels the United States to value its relations with the country, political analysts said at an international conference.
"Turkey has a strong connection with the EU; it is an official candidate to become full member [of the EU], whether it takes long or short, that is beyond our concern, [but] US must consider this point,” said Hamit Ersoy on Tuesday night, speaking at a conference hosted by the Istanbul-based Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA).
"Turkey is founding member of the NATO; it is second largest army… second most powerful member of the NATO itself,” said Ersoy.
Ersoy, who is a professor at the Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU), said at the seven-day virtual conference that Turkish presence in Caucasia and central Asian regions is also important.
"It is not easy for the US to have strong bonds with central Asia,” he noted.
Referring to the recent six-week war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabagh, Ersoy said: "When Turkey and Russia agree on any point, they can easily leave out the US... out of the crisis management process.”
Pointing to Turkey’s relations with the Middle East and its influence at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), he said: "Americans are well aware of the Turkish impact on the Muslim countries from Morocco to Indonesia. It would not be that easy [for US] to have the luxury to deteriorate the relations beyond a limit."
"It has been a centuries-long dream of the Russians to reach the warm waters of East Mediterranean and Turkey is almost the only country to obstruct and prevent them from penetrating into the region,” he explained.
Ersoy said the two powers can see "a limited, well-controlled, well-balanced deterioration of the relations."
"But Turkey is emerging as a major power, even attempting to move from a regional to a global power, together with Chinese penetration in to the Middle East through Central Asian republics,” he said.
“They [US] are well aware of the fact without having Turkey as a friend, as an ally, they can never have a chance to contain Russian federation to the North and to prevent China from penetrating in to the Central Asia as well as Middle East and even beyond including Europe,” he added.
Referring to devulation of the Turkish lira, Ersoy insisted it was “because of external intervention in Turkish economy.”
“These are not my words but words of [US] President Trump. Few months ago, Trump said: 'I am prepared to crush Turkish economy once again if they don’t consider our concerns.'
“Such statements, very clearly, indeed proved, [lira lost against dollar] because of external intervention in to Turkish economy,” he added.
‘Turkey won’t leave Islamic countries behind’
"Turkey is not going to leave Islamic countries behind,” he said. "Turkey is improving its relations not only with EU and the western countries, the relations with the Islamic countries through OIC and other channels are open and Turkish diplomats are doing their best.”
Speaking at the conference IZU Rector Mehmet Bulut shared the economic history of Turkey since Ottoman times.
"Muslim countries need to decide independently, [this is how] we can grow but we have to be independent,” Bulut told the conference which brought together 60 speakers from 20 countries.
Emphasizing on independence of thought and action, Bulut said: "Unity and justice are very critical to succeed."
The conference, part of CIGA's "Muslim Ummah" series, will conclude on Friday.