Is the West now trying to bully Turkey? – CGTN

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan speaks during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, October 25, 2021. /Getty

Frederick North, 2nd Earl of Guilford, is often credited with popularizing the phrase “a storm in a teacup,” which is commonly understood as blowing a trivial matter out of proportion.

This is how some are describing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s recent call to expel ambassadors from the United States, Germany, France, Canada, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland, in retaliation to their improper interference in Turkey’s domestic affairs by calling for the release of Osman Kavala, who has been detained on charges of financing protests and involvement in an attempted coup.

Turkey is facing economic woes, and some of Erdogan’s critics say this announcement is merely an attention-grabbing stunt to distract voters from the problems facing the country.

But Frederick North is more famously known as Lord North, who served as Great Britain’s prime minister from 1770 to 1782 and led it through most of the American War of Independence. He also used “a storm in a teacup” to describe the colonists’ retaliation against the Tea Act, which the colonists viewed as an unacceptably tyrannical infringement on the rights of the soon-to-be independent Americans. And so he earned a place in history for not recognizing just how tenuous the British Empire’s hold over its American colonies really was.

While Erdogan soon modulated his call to have the ambassadors declared “persona non grata” and expelled from Turkey in response to those countries’ alarmed efforts to deescalate tensions, he has long been a staunch defender of not only Turkey’s sovereignty but that of all countries around the world from meddling by the Western powers.

Members of Youth Union of Turkey hold a symbolic boarding pass for 10 foreign ambassadors as they stage a protest near the U.S. Embassy to support Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ankara, Turkey, October 25, 2021. /Getty

Moreover, Erdogan’s signature and longstanding foreign policy goal has been to make Turkey great again by pursuing a strategy of what some have called neo-Ottomanism. Under this approach, he has methodically expanded his country’s influence and political engagement in areas previously under Ottoman rule, which includes the Eastern Mediterranean, Cyprus, Greece, Iraq, and Syria as well as those in Africa.

Nevertheless, the Western alliance led by the U.S. has sought to maintain its hegemony by foisting their values and political and economic paradigms on those they seek to subjugate. The most well-known and least successful target of these machinations has been China, which has shown its invulnerability through more than sufficient political will and national unity.

Perhaps these so-called allies of Turkey thought they could exploit Turkish dependence on them and cavalierly violate its sovereignty. But as Chinese netizens might say, “Erdogan has taken his calcium pills.” He has shown that he has a strong enough spine to stand up to and denounce these attempts at interfering in Turkey’s domestic affairs as he said when the statement calling for the immediate release of Kavala was made public by the 10 ambassadors, “Is it for you to give Turkey such a lesson? Who do you think you are?”

While the countries that issued this provocative and illegitimate call have quickly backed down to mollify Erdogan and this episode may indeed turn out to be no more than “a storm in a teacup,” it also shows that Turkey and other countries around the world are no longer willing to docilely acquiesce to foreign interference. And if these signs are not heeded, some in the Western alliance may go down in history as the Lord North of their day.

Editor’s note: Andy Mok is a research fellow at Center for China and Globalization. The article reflects the author’s opinions and not necessarily the views of CGTN.

Source: Is the West now trying to bully Turkey? – CGTN