Semih Idiz | Aug 15, 2018 | 0
Turkey, The Zarrab Case and The Looming Uncertainty #Zarrabcase
In Turkey today, apart from perhaps the ruling powers, nobody has the ability to predict what might happen in the long, medium, or even short term.
According to them, everything is swell, give or take a few minor complications. Neither the Zarrab case, nor the relations with the US and the EU or the Middle East, nor the current economic situation is a problem. Everything is in order and everyone is “jealous” of us.
According to, at least some, US media, Zarrab has now turned into an informant. We can’t know for now what he may have confessed to, of course. What we know so far is very limited, but it is obvious that Zarrab is a VID (very important detainee) in the eyes of our state.
To the best of my knowledge, there are about five thousand Turkish citizens under arrest or conviction abroad for none of whom Turkish state sent out a diplomatic note. It may be that Turkish embassies or consulates got involved in their cases to some degree, but I do not recall any instance that has been as involving for the State as the Zarrab case.
Moreover, even though the State of Turkey is not on trial here, there is quite a bit of panic running around the levels of Turkish government. The Zarrab file has been a staple inside the briefcase of every Turkish official visiting the US in the last one and a half years. What has made the government jittery, in addition to the tapes of December 17-25, is the fact that additional recordings made by parties unknown to Turkish authorities will be heard in court for the first time. There is an additional subject that I want to raise at this point: Although it is now used as a noun, the word “tape” does not exist in Turkish and this word of English origin means “tape, record” in our language. These phone records (or “tapes” according to our media) were not accepted as evidence in our country.
I do not wish to go into much detail about the specifics of this Zanjani-Zarrab case as it has been written about quite a lot, but the ultimate accusation in this case, for which the Republic of Turkey would inevitably be involved as Halk Bank (a government owned bank) is also part of it, is regarding the violation of the 2010 broadening of “Iran Embargo” No:1929.
It remains to be seen on which side of this case Turkey will fall by the end of this trial because, the ministers accused of being involved in other corruption cases related to this issue have already been absolved by the Turkish Parliament, and the trial process is already done for. If that wasn’t enough, the security personnel conducting the investigation and the prosecutors who dared to open those cases were also penalized with their own charges as “conspiring along with the FETO organization”.
The people responsible for the recordings were probably aboard the FETO team up to a certain point, but the proceedings for these cases were carried out in manners that were completely outside the law of the land. Unfortunately for those responsible, the facts will always be the facts and they will come out in the open in the end, if not here at home, then abroad.
Until recently, like it or not, Turkey had a solid international policy and agenda. That’s not the case anymore. Republic of Turkey, ever since its inception, has steered away from the complications of Middle East policies. Under AKP, however, she found herself right in the middle of it, and there doesn’t seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel for now. She failed miserably regarding her policies in both Iraq and Syria. And worse, she has now become a vessel for Putin’s Russia in serving Iran, Turkey’s archrival in the region, and Syria. Relations with the Gulf countries, with the exception of Qatar, particularly with Saudi Arabia and the states in its sphere of influence have deteriorated gravely. The purely monetary partnership with the Barzani wing of Kurdistan has also gone down the drain following the disastrous Kurdish referendum. Barzani, for whom there was a full state protocol just a few months ago was sold, finally putting an end to the faux-adage “PKK is treacherous, Kurds are brothers”.
Turkey, although a NATO-member state, is insisting on the purchase of Russian S400 missiles, despite NATO protests. This will further strain Turkey’s relations with the West.
Nothing is certain on the Eurasia front for Turkey either. The only thing the current administration has in common with the Motherland Party and the Ergenekon supporters is their common enemy: The Kurds, who will not form a sufficient and lasting bond.
We must admit that Erdogan has finally managed to get rid of the EU Membership burden which has always held him back. The EU Membership issue was simply cyclical anyway, it was nothing more than a façade to stay in EU’s favor until he could get rid of the military custody. Neither Tayyip Erdogan nor the AKP were ever democratic; they did not favor a full membership to the EU. They never supported the right of self-determination of the Kurdish people and never fought against imperialist factions. They can’t because they don’t possess the most basic requirements, which is to have the ability to build an ideological perspective by distilling the current and mounting a future. It doesn’t appear likely they will ever have that perspective with their medieval thinking, and the best they can do is to defer to deception and hypocrisy.
Where we stand now, with over $650 billion of foreign debt, the USD exchange rate at 3.90, additional foreign loans are starting to dwindle. The economy is active only by means of short term debts and hot money thanks to interest rates hovering at 15%. It is not accurate to call the Turkish economy healthy, and Turkish state independent under these conditions. The only accurate thing to say about Turkey now, is to say that we are on a sure path to several years of uncertainty.