A brainstorming on the global course of events and Turkey’s position has been conducted in the round table meeting organized by ATA Platform in Ankara, on 20 February 2020, with the participants who are experts in their fields. The particular subjects which became prominent in the meeting are summarized below:
Transition to multi-polarity is taking place in the international system and no longer the Asian Age is at the point of no return. But, while US hegemony is coming to the end, geopolitical risks and security threats are increasing.
The world has already entered into a chaotic age. The most significant feature of this new age is Westlessness, as it has been expressed in the recent Munich Security Conference. While we are searching for answers to the new challenges of the new era, we are facing with two important questions: First, the future does not belong to globalists any more, it is visible. Second, USA does not know how to be reduced. This brings the risks on a global scale along.
A new era is beginning in which USA would no longer beware going to direct land warfare. The precipitation of US hegemony is to control the multipoint sea passage areas. While China and Russia are in advance with their recently developed hypersonic missiles, USA is still predominant in terms of sea control and number of the carriers (There have been debates on the carriers if they lost their strategic importance, or not). The biological and climate weapons are more discussed in the upcoming period, because of the proportional balance of power in the conventional weapons and balance of terror in the nuclear weapons.
While techno-economic revolutions are taking place in the world, institutional degeneration in the hegemony based on the Western system is at the highest point. Asian hegemony is coming to the forefront with the digital age in technology and the most important reason for that is China knows very well where she is going and she is managing the elite human resources quite well. On the other hand, the West is confused about every matter. In China, the decisions related with technology are taken through the State Science and Technology Commission in a central process. Hereby, technology is a tool, the more important thing is definition of the true mission. China is attaining success by revealing the missions which mobilize the sectors. Another change made by China is about the electricity storage. A change which will be realized on energy storing systems would also effect the geopolitics. Beside the developments in the big datas and algorithms, it is confirmed that 5G infrastructure would be the area where the competition in technology would be peak.
Today in the West, the differences in the standardization of different centers are posing risks. The risks on cyber security which effect the economy are increasing. The Fourth Industrial Revolution is shaping the technological development, societies and geopolitics. The artificial intelligence will effect the world in 2030, and that one who possesses the artifical intelligence will be hegemon power in the world. The most important elements challenging to the Western hegemony is the low productivity growth despite the technological development and extensive population movements. Mixed economy model is replacing neo-liberal economy which has already bankrupted. One of the most important discussions related with economy will be made on income distribution and the big capital is concentrating on repressing the social events in every country.
The economic development is reliable if it is accompanied by institutional transformation. Unemployment among high educated people and rise of robot utilization in the production enhance the importance of the state in terms of institutional transformation. In the world, the wealth and income of only 1% of the total population and production and trade of war technologies are increasing.
Trump’s accession to power in USA gave start to the conflict between globalists and nationalists in the international system. In fact, transition to Asian Age is directly related with the conclusion which will emerge from the conflict between globalists and nationalists. Brexit is also a component of that conflict and nationalists won over globalists in Britain. If Trump will be re-elected in US presidential elections in 2020, this will be a clinching element for nationalists’ victory over globalists. The result which AfD will take in 2021 German Federal Election and the result which Rassemblement National (The National Front) led by Marine Le Pen will take in 2022 French Presidential Election will show the consequences of globalist-nationalist conflict within European Union (EU) more clearly.
An interim period including violance and concretizing by asymmetric conflicts is occuring now, while the world is evolving to multi-polarity. A polygonal world order is appearing and in this new order China and USA are two main polars; India, Russia, Germany, Brazil are post-regional powers; and some other countries are regional powers under these. The most important trivet of the unipolarity is finance, in other words reserve currency position of US Dollar. But, undollarization begins when Chinese currency Yuan starts to internationalize. The elements such as beginning of oil trade with Yuan, proliferation of applications such as ‘wechat’ in developing digital economy which takes the money circulation under control with Yuan, the investments within One Belt One Road (OBOR) project which will increase the effect of Yuan may destroy reserve currency position of US Dollar and it would accelerate the collapse of the hegemony.
The service sector is predominant in Turkish economy and it is posing a negative structural outlook because of the necessity for hot money financing. Turkey, initially, should solve the problems of debt and unemployment. There is a need for an industrialization policy which would reduce the dependency to intermediate goods import and would satisfy Turkey’s own needs, instead of Industry 4.0. Turkey should decide if she will be market regulator or market creator in order to catch the Information Technologies Train which is rapidly progressing in the world.
Turkey should boost the agricultural production by restructuring agriculture policies, while discussing re-industrialization. Turkey should continue to promote the development of defence industry and nationalize it completely. Planning should be restored in the economy and the refugee issue which is damaging the demographic structure should be handled in all seriousness. Besides, new policies on usage of international waterways which provide potential conflict for the future should be established and water administration which would ensure reasonable usage of water resources should be restructured.
Neo-liberal policies should be abandoned and the state should take immediate steps for infrastructure technologies, it should be contractor within the scope of the missions. The necessary macro levers should be structured; Turkey should adjourn to 5G and participate in 6G research and development process by attracting elite human resources.
The education system which became of poor quality should be re-handled and information literacy should be developed in Turkey. A national innovation strategy should be formulated. Turkey should formulate an information war strategy by re-handling the security paradigm and should establish own internet system.
The principle of checks and balances should be strengthened in Turkey’s administrative system. Regional cooperation should be improved for recovery. Separatism is a severe threat for Turkey and it must be annihilated. Turkey’s regional power position should be strengthened by following a region-centered foreign policy.
Turkey must decide what to do in Eastern Mediterranean at geopolitical level; prevent so-called Kurdistan from reaching to Mediterranean, expedite energy exploration in the region by preserving the guarantor status on Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) and by protecting the Blue Homeland. Also, Turkey must prevent Greece from declaring 12-miles territorial waters delimitation on the Aegean.
Turkey’s basic matters of survival are possible earthquake in Marmara and deformation of the demographic structure caused by Syrian refugees. Turkish national identity is degenerated as a result of the assaults originating from both Middle East and the West. Emphasis on the Turkish identity of the state must be put forward again. Also, the project such as İstanbul Canal is opening Montreux Convention up for discussion and endangering the security of Turkish Straits, that project should be renounced immediately.
Turkey must become independent in economy and geopolitics. The first condition for this cause is to establish a new trade regime with different countries and regions by leaving the Customs Union between EU and Turkey. Turkey must leave ideological obsessions aside and go towards regional pacts. Being in the first place Idlib, Turkey’s current foreign policy and security problems must be overcome with other strategic cooperation, instead of the West. A possible deep crisis with Russia which can take place in Syria has the potential to drag Turkey into the swirl of ‘dangerous loneliness’. Turkey will not be able to surpass the risk of separatism, if she stays in the Atlantic Alliance. Instead of permanent alliances, Turkey in short term should develop strategic cooperation with the great powers. After the transition period, the balance of security between the West and Russia should be constructed decently with the perspective of total independence.