ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Ankara’s New Year message promised a more aggressive role in the region, saying it would pursue a more “active and bold” foreign policy.
In an address to the nation on New Year’s Eve, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Turkey would “not be able to secure its future without resolving problems” in the region and claimed Ankara would “pursue a more active, bold, and if necessary, more risky foreign policy.”
“We have taken significant steps over the last year by launching an operation into Idlib [in Syria] and by nixing the regional government’s independence bid in Iraq,” he said, referencing the Sep. 25 referendum on independence for the Kurdistan Region which Ankara strongly opposed.
Cited by Hurriyet newspaper, Erdogan stated that Turkey “cannot hold negotiations with other actors on the international arena,” particularly in the region. The comments come a few days after the Turkish President blasted his Syrian counterpart, Bashar al-Assad, over peace talks.
“It is impossible to continue with Assad,” Erdogan said last week. “How can we embrace the future with a Syrian president who has killed close to a million of his citizens?” he asked.
Getting closer to Saudi Arabia, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırim began a two-day visit to Riyadh earlier last week, where he met King Salman and his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Afterwards, Yildirim announced that the Saudi Crown Prince would “soon” visit Turkey.
The emboldened President added that Turkey would face “very important developments both inside and outside” the country throughout 2018 and that he would “work day and night” to be prepared for any challenges.
Erdogan is invested with the ability to dissolve the Parliament, declare a state of emergency, issue decrees, and form a cabinet as well as the capacity to appoint top judicial, bureaucratic, and military officials without a parliamentary vote of confidence.
The Turkish leader once more criticized US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in his New Year’s message, looking to bolster its diplomatic role in the region. Ankara also took the issue to the UN General Assembly (UNGA) after a UN Security Council resolution on rescinding Trump’s Jerusalem decision was vetoed by the US.