AK Party deputy slams foreign policy shift claims, saying turkey is "not a child that could get lost"
A prominent ruling party deputy visiting Washington on Monday took sharp exception to Western claims that Turkey is changing its foreign policy orientation, adding that Turkey is not a child that can get lost, but a sophisticated country. Suat Kiniklioglu, a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) deputy, said during a meeting at the Woodrow Wilson Center that Turkey has a skilled foreign policy team that knows what Ankara is doing and why. Decrying the question "Who lost Turkey?" that has been raised in some circles, he added, "Turkey is not a small child that could get lost on the street. Turkey is a large country with a sophisticated foreign policy elite that knows what it's doing." Kiniklioglu, who heads Parliament's US friendship group, explained that Turkish moves to expand and diversify relations with its neighbors represent an attempt to "correct an anomaly of the Cold War years" when Turkey shunned its neighbors and limited its contacts to the US-led Western camp. "The Cold War created an anomaly where Turkey would not trade or engage politically with its neighbors," he explained. "Turkey's current foreign policy can be seen as a reaction, an adjustment to the post-Cold War security environment around itself." He added, "We believe Turkey is a country that engages with its neighbors, gets along with its neighbors, and is a more effective and influential partner of the United States in the region."