Turkish PM's Foreign Policy Book - Out in Bulgarian before in English

Politics | November 26, 2015, Thursday // 11:47|  views

From “brilliant” and “a geopolitics schoolbook” to “Neo-Ottomanist”; from “a milestone in statehood” to a cunning plan to re-conquer the region. Turkish Prime Minister’s book on Turkish foreign policy, Stratejik Derinlik (“Strategic Depth”) has enjoyed mixed reception in Bulgaria and neighboring countries for years – well before it was translated.

Having appeared in 2001, the book has had 45 editions in Turkish but has been translated only into a few other languages. In Europe, to name a few, these include Greek, Serbian, Albanian, Romanian and Italian – the English version is still to appear.

In Bulgaria, it was only some days ago that the book appeared, an event celebrated at the Bulgarian Academy of Science in Sofia this Wednesday. Just before the English-language version is out, it is worth mentioning what the first official comments were here.

Stefan Vodenicharov, who heads the Bulgarian Academy of Science, told guests who had come to hear about “Strategic Depth” that he hoped its Bulgarian edition would help “dispel some insinuations” about its specific purposes.

“The book of Ahmet Davutoglu is pure science. There is no ideology in it,” said Lyuben Kozarov, CEO of Iztok-Zapad publishing house. Calling it “a schoolbook for International Relations students,” he recalled that “Strategic Depth” was written in 2001, when the Prime Minister was not yet involved in Turkish politics.

Turkey’s Ambassador to Bulgaria Suleyman Gokce said the gist of the book was to outline Turkey’s relations with its neighbors and specify how it should interact with them, setting out recommendations and possibilities – and here Bulgaria is included.

Education Minister Todor Tanev, however, was the one who held an entire speech to explain why he considered the book and its first Bulgarian-language edition to be importantt.

“[The book is] too familiar to those who have really wanted to read it and too unfamiliar to people who draw the conclusions that it works for Islamism and the creation of an empire.” Education Minister Todor Tanev said.

Tanev carefully tried to compare the cause pursued by Davutoglu’s book to that of Bulgaira’s national hero, Vasil Levski, recalling the latter fought to establish “a pure and sacred republic”.

“This book is not about what strategic moves one has to make… This book is about an aim, a purpose, not an end,” he made clear, using the words “aim”, “purpose” and “end” in English as quoted here.

As Davutoglu was seeking a place for Turkey in regional and global order, he wrote the book to suggest a model for Turkey’s identity and values, alongside a guidebook about how to be brave in statehood, using uncertainty to create opportunities.

“Strategic Depth’s vision is about thinking in perspective. The book is not about Paradise, but about permanent advantage to others.”

It seems it’s politics where hardship begins for strategic thinking, the minister said. He opined that Turkey would not be able to [carry out its strategy] alone, just as Japan wasn’t after 1945.

“I would be glad if Ahmet Davutoglu writes a second book to incorporate his present experience,” he concluded, making clear this should happen after his tenure is over.


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Tags: Strategic Depth, Stratejik Derinlik, Ahmet Davutoglu, turkey, Lyuben Kozarev, Bulgarian Academy of Science, Suleyman Gokce, Davutoglu, Todor Tanev, Stefan Vodenicharov


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