Prof. Muhittin Ataman was one of panelist in the Foundations of Turkish-Africa Relations. Prof. Ataman graduated from the Faculty of Political Science in the Department of International Relations at Ankara University. Ataman earned his MA at Central Oklahoma University, and PhD at University of Kentucky between 1996 and 1999. Currently, he serves as SETA`s Director of Foreign Policy Studies and conducts academic research on Turkish foreign policy, the Middle East politics and the Gulf politics. Ataman is also the Editor-in-Chief of Insight Turkey, a journal published by SETA Foundation.
Prof Ataman briefly expressed the main principles of Turkish foreign policy and Turkish-Somalia Relations under the leadership of President Recep Dayip Erdogan.
He told that first principle is the normalization of Turkish foreign policy, that means Turkey during the Ak Party governance reclaimed its civilizational, historical and cultural heritage, and accordingly Turkey improved its relations with all related actors.
The second principle is rationalization of Turkish Foreign Policy converting from ideology-based policy towards rationality, bregmatic and interest based foreign policy, but at the same time a humanitarian one. Prof Ataman mentioned that within the framework of the new-Turkish foreign policy it integrated its economy with the global economy by dealing and investing a lot of countries across the word.
The third principle is nationalization of Turkish foreign policy, Dr Ataman told that before the Ak Party governance the Turkish foreign policy was directed by NATO and western allies but now it’s a structured in away it serves for the Turkey`s national interests. This principle put forward an outstanding Turkish developmental and humanitarian organization like TIKA, Turkish Red Crescent and Diyanet Foundation.
The fourth principle which Dr. Ataman told is taking initiative and becoming a proactive rather than been reactive in the regional and global issues. Turkish government augmented its peace mediation in intra and interstate conflicts. Also, as Dr. Ataman told Turkish government started to establish military bases in several countries like Somalia, Katar, Syria and Irak to defend its borders and to prevent any future threats.
As a middle power and emerging global actor Turkish government has been trying to create interdependent networks and tried to boost a multi-dimensional foreign policy. It became oriented in employing soft power and economy besides improving its security.
Turkey is leading currently an opposition to the hegemonic of global system by demanding more political representation for the under represented states in the world and just world order. Also, as Dr. Ataman told turkey is demanding a United Nations reform.
In the issue of Turkish-Somalia relations, he told that it’s a part of wider Turkish foreign policy towards Africa since it started in 1998. He underlined that Turkey contributed to nearly more than five hundred million dollars to the education, humanitarian, state building and infrastructures. Dr. Ataman mentioned that what differentiates Turkey from other foreign actors in Somalia is its presence in the ground and with Somalis and opening its biggest embassy in Mogadishu shows how turkey is interested the stability and the development of Somalia. Also, he mentioned that in the last few years turkey has organized international conferences to help Somalia also it played a crucial role in facilitating the negotiations between the Somalis.