BRICS AND TURKEY RELATIONS AN ANALYTICAL VIEW

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Introduction

The collapse of the Soviet Union marked the end of bipolar world. So that, international system has evolved to a multipolar system which affected the international economic system and nature of relations among states. Especially, power shift to Asia-Pacific has highlighted the significance of regional and inter-regional cooperation. BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) day by day increases its effect with the advent of this global change. New international financial organizations started to emerge with the economic growth of BRICS countries. BRICS Development Bank and reserve funds (like IMF) are the important institutions which may contribute this power shifting. Turkey wants to diversify its economic and political options after several crises she faced with Western counterparts.

In this context, it can be argued that BRICS is an effective and sustainable alternative for Turkey. Especially, it seems that US is losing its economic and political hegemony. Therefore, cooperation among the developing countries where raw materials, large market and labor capacity meet, is about to increase. So that, despite of many challenges, BRICS may be an effective mechanism to cooperate among developing countries that lead to establish a new world order.[1] In this paper, the impacts of the establishment of BRICS on international system and the long term goals of its members will be examined. In addition, the ambition of Turkey to join the BRICS will be discussed in this article.

 

Economic Status of Turkey

Turkey has been struggling many economic, political and social problems in decades. Recently in Syria, southern border of Turkey, US- Russia proxy war and civil war have been going on.  In these circumstances, Turkish government seek to cooperation with the traditional Western alliances. But, US and EU have not provided an effective collaboration with Turkey especially in the Syria Crisis. Therefore, Turkey has left alone in facing millions of refugees. Indeed, about 4 million Syrian refugees have been welcomed and hosted in Turkey since 2011. Moreover Turkey has been fighting many terrorist groups. PKK (Kurdistan Workers Party) and FETO (Fetullahist Terrorist Organization) have been threatening Turkish national security.  Turkey’s struggle against terrorist organizations isn’t sufficiently supported by its Western alliance.  Thus, the government has no more trust in their counterparts in the West. Because many Western countries and US have been supporting terrorist groups overtly.   For example, in Belgium, PKK was allowed to arrange a large meeting in the capital of European Union, in  Brussels[2]. Also, FETO’s leader Fetullah Gulen who was the responsible of coup attempt in 2016 in Turkey, is hosted in Pennsylvania, US. As a result of these factors led Turkish government to begin to seek new partners and alliances across the regions.

In the last years, economic fluctuations, American economic sanctions and devaluation of Turkish Lira against US dollar have hit the Turkish economy. Turkish foreign policy always has been contacting good relationship with Western’s alliances.  However, recently Turkish government has desired to cooperation and collaboration with BRICS countries. Because, Turkish foreign policy accepted multilateralism, multidimensionality and proactive diplomacy. Turkey has adopted the policy of diversifying its foreign policy. As a result of it, BRICS has been paid attention by the Turkish decision-makers as an alternative for its western allies.

 

Activity of BRICS

Significance of BRICS has been increasing day by day in the world-order.  As a trans-regional organization, BRICS has include a countries different from each other.  In 2001, Brazil, Russia, India and China have started to meet as a group and have called themselves as “BRIC”. After that, South Africa was invited to join the group and it has been re-called as BRICS since 2010. Within the  last 10 years,  BRICS have  consolidated  and even  further  expanded their strong  position  in the world economy.[3] Every member has a particular characteristics that led to establish more efficient and effective mechanism of the BRICS. The variety of characteristics of the members, thus, enables to constitute an effective and functional  organization that based on the notion of “interdependence” among the members. Therefore, it can be argued that every member state complement with each other regarding of its weaknesses and strengths.

 

  The Russian Federation

After the collapse of Soviet Union, Russian Federation has adopted new international structure associated with the liberal economic order. Recently, Russia has been expanding over the “Euroasia”,  desires to seek to establish  new alliances in South Asia. Russia has significant strength by its military power, oil and especially natural-gas resources. Nevertheless, Russia has been struggling with economic crises because of  its vulnerable economic feature  which is mainly based on exporting of oil, natural-gas and defence military industry. Russia has been supporting multipolar international system particularly against the U.S hegemony. The denial of unipolarity and the affirmation of different poles in search of coordination are the keynotes of the concept of multipolarity for Russian diplomacy in the 21st century.    Thus, It can be argued that Russia has a prominent position within BRICS.

 

China

China has huge population and strong economy. With these two factors, China’s economy has been growing constantly and rulers of China want to become a super power dominating the existing international system.  For two decades, economic growth led to increase her significance in the world politics. It can be argued that China is prominent power leading in BRICS by its military and economic power. Especially China has been paying much attention on South-South cooperation and establishment of an economic belt along the Asia. Beijing aims to break the hegemony of US. In the economic realm China repeated the need to change the ‘rules of the game’ in order to promote changes towards a more just world.[4] Therefore, China has employed various means of counter-balancing against the hegemony of the US. China has accelerated to BRICS regarding the redressing development imbalances of North-South and promoting mutual growth. Moreover, Beijing has significantly contributed the collaboration, regional security and economic development among BRICS countries.

Furthermore, China has stressed the significance of having a voice in regarding regional disputes and international affairs, thus, repudiated the interventionist policy of US over the South Asia. Notably, Beijing has responded to “containment policy” of US by increasing cooperation and collaboration with neighboring countries, particularly with India that is the member of BRICS. So that, China pays attention on the annual BRICS Summits.

 

  India

India has been prioritizing significance of regional security and international stability in foreign policy since the very beginning of its independence. India with huge population, constant economic growth, advanced IT technology and space technology, want to participate the decision making process regarding the international affairs. Advantage of the labor intensive of India attracted the foreign investment. In addition, India provides lower-cost of production and large market to foreign investors that enable to sustain economic development.

Geostrategic position of India over the Indian Ocean is so crucial to control of trade routes, maritime security and lines of communication. Indian Ocean where %60 of World economy activities hold in, significant choke points are located, is the junction of various ethnicities, religions, cultures and continents.

India is the true supporter of the economic cooperation among BRICS countries regarding the mutual-benefits and increasing the volume of the trade among the BRICS members. Delhi, advocates the use of local currency in exchange among BRICS members, challenging the hegemony of the US Dollar as main trade currency in global economy.

India is distinguished by its characteristics of great democracy, co-existing among communities, multiculturalism and pluralist governance. On the contrary to the authoritarian regime in Russia and China, India has a long-run unique democracy experience. Delhi has been always likely to participate the decision making process regarding the world affairs and get opportunity to have a saying in international affairs through BRICS.

 

  Brazil

In terms of the populatıon , Brazil is the most populated country in the South America. Brazil known as a developing country which applies liberal economic orders and  put forward pragmatic policies in economy.   With support of it’s large and young population Brazil attach great importance to Industrial development. Brazilian government  supports the  regional cooperation and development projects and also  is against the unipolar world system  when it comes to global issues. Especially USA’s single-sided attitudes against international circumstances is contrary to Brazil’s multipolar world perception which brazil accept as a principle. Brazil stands against Protectionism in Economy and wants to be integrated into the world much more. Brazil gives  particular importance to sustainable development and governance.

In this context BRICS provides an opportunity to Brazil to release its global vision more powerfully. To Brazil BRICS is a platform that can reveal its ideas for global issues. Apart from that as the most dynamic economy of the South America , Brazil Government consider BRICS  as an important platform that they can reveal their will for multipolar world order.

 

South Africa Republic

South Africa Republic is located in the southernmost corner of the Africa continent, and especially draw attention with its  multicultural social structure. South Africa Republic has a multi-party  structure and it has a presidential government system.  Due to its geographical position it is a hub for maritime commerce  and this situation gives it a  geostrategic importance. With its powerful economic structure and growth rate South Africa Republic is the  only country that from Africa continent  among G20 countries. For many years because of Apartheid regime in foreign policies, South Africa was excluded from International system, therefore South Africa Republic is very eager to be a part of  international organizations.

On the other hand with its rich underground resources and high tourism potential  South Africa gradually increasing its power and  importance in the BRICS. Within the BRICS, South Africa has clearly indicated its intention to leverage Africa’s voice; advance a continental development agenda; and promote global governance reform through greater South-South cooperation.[5]

 

Conclusion

Developments in global governance transform and directly influence the international politics. Economic and political turbulences in international system, has recently led to emergence of a power vacuum that is tried to be filled by the BRICS. Turkey has been under the process of membership of EU for a decade, yet is getting far from to achieve this goal. So that, Turkey has aimed to diversify its foreign cooperation and orientation by seeking new alliances, such as with BRICS.

In 2018 South Africa BRICS Summit, participation of the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to the summit as an exclusive guest, gave way to encourage further developments in bilateral and unilateral relationships with BRICS countries. Significantly, Turkey also has discursive alignment with BRICS; emphasizing the idea of multipolar world system that is strongly supported by BRICS countries. So that, Turkey often challenges the unequal distribution of power in UNSC and one power domination in international arena. Turkey should seek to strengthen the relationship with BRICS countries by conducting more proactive and effective foreign policies. Moreover, in order to reduce its dependence on US and EU, Turkey -aiming to increase the alternative ways in her foreign policy- should give priority to BRICS in the basis of mutual-benefits, mutual-interest, win-win policy, and equality in relations.

As the President of Russia, Putin stated that “BRICS [as]the key element of emerging multi-polar world”, has strengthened its position to “playmaker” in regarding North-South relations and global politics. In economic sense, BRICS offers significant opportunities to Turkey, especially the opportunity to increase the capacity of marketing competence, to get technical assistance and the support of technology transfer by BRICS countries. Atlı emphasizes that “Turkey has to increase its technological capabilities, this requires collaboration with partners who have the technology, and Turkey wants to avoid the vulnerability of excessively depending on the West. BRICS could be the right address here.”[6]

Furthermore, Turkey’s demands for economic growth, access to new market, development in defence industry, advanced technology transfer and political support in international affairs are likely to be provided by BRICS countries. All in all, close relations and the idea of membership of BRICS are promoted by both public and government opinion in Turkey.

Abdulkadir AKSÖZ

 

 

References

 

ARSLAN Talha, “BRICS Summit and consensus-building efforts in a fragmented world”, Daily Sabah, 26 July 2018, https://www.setav.org/en/brics-summit-and-consensus-building-efforts-in-a-fragmented-world/

ATLI Altay, “Explaining Turkey’s interest in BRICS”, Asia Times, 2 August 2018, http://www.atimes.com/explaining-turkeys-interest-in-brics/

 

DURAN Burhanettin, “The world of alternatives”, Daily Sabah, 1 August 2018, https://www.setav.org/en/the-world-of-alternatives/

 

KNOBLAUCH Doris 3 et. al., “The Role Of BRICS In The Developing World”, European Parliament, Policy Department DG External Policies, April 2012

 

MIELNICZUK Fabiano, BRICS in the Contemporary World: changing identities, converging interests, Third World Quarterly, 34:6, 1075-1090, 2013

 

ROB Davies, “South Africa and the BRICS: Prospects for the Future”, public dialogue, Cape Town, 24 April 2013 (audio files available at http://www.ccr. org.za).

 

STUENKEL Oliver, “The 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg: An analysis”, 29 July 2018, https://www.postwesternworld.com/2018/07/29/johannesburg-declaration-analysis/

 

ÜNAY Sadık, ‘‘BRICS Plus and Turkey’s potential’’, Daily Sabah, July 28, 2018, https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/sadik_unay/2018/07/28/brics-plus-and-turkeys-potential

 

 Footnotes

[1] KNOBLAUCH Doris 3 et. al., “The Role Of BRICS In The Developing World”, European Parliament, Policy Department DG External Policies, April 2012, https://ab.gov.tr/files/ardb/evt/1_avrupa_birligi/1_9_politikalar/1_9_8_dis_politika/the_role_of_brics_in_the_developing_world.pdf

[2] See in details: “Controversial PKK tent in Brussels burnt”, Doğan New Agency

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/controversial-pkk-tent-in-brussels-burnt-96713

[3] KNOBLAUCH Doris 3 et. al., “The Role Of BRICS In The Developing World”, European Parliament, Policy Department DG External Policies, April 2012

[4] MIELNICZUK Fabiano, BRICS in the Contemporary World: changing identities, converging interests, Third World Quarterly, 34:6, 1075-1090, 2013

[5]  ROB Davies, “South Africa and the BRICS: Prospects for the Future”, public dialogue, Cape Town, 24 April 2013 (audio files available at http://www.ccr. org.za). See also Chris Landsberg and Candice Moore, “BRICS, South-South Cooperation, and the Durban Summit: What’s In It for South Africa?” Portuguese Journal of International Affairs, no. 7 (Spring–Summer 2013), pp. 3–14; and Memory Dube, “BRICS Summit 2013: Strategies for South Africa’s Engagement”, Policy Briefing no. 62 (Cape Town: SAIIA, March 2013)

[6] ATLI Altay, “Explaining Turkey’s interest in BRICS”, Asia Times, 2 August 2018, http://www.atimes.com/explaining-turkeys-interest-in-brics/

 

 

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Abdulkadir AKSÖZ

Uluslararası İlişkiler Siyasi Tarih abdlkdraksz@gmail.com

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