James Carafano, Heritage Foundation International Relations and Security Senior Specialist, who is known for his closeness to the US Congress; Noting that the peace and stability of the regions that connect the world is critical for the United States and its allies, he compared Western Europe, the Greater Middle East and the Indo-Pacific regions to lotus leaves, which can be figuratively defined as safe areas.
Türkiye at the center of the universe
James Carafano stated that Turkey is the cornerstone for peace and stability in these regions and used the phrase “Turkey is at the center of the universe”.
Reminding that Turkey is located right in the middle of a major connection point in the Central and Southern Corridors, Carafano pointed out the strategic importance of Turkey from a global perspective, saying that “there are very few countries that are so strategic” for Turkey, which he defines as a bridge to the Indo-Pacific.
Stating that it is in Turkey’s interest to have the Black Sea and the Mediterranean free and open to commercial traffic, James Carafano said, “It is in Turkey’s interest for the Turkish economy to recover and really strengthen, and some of it will be through trade and investment, so more economic relations with the USA and Europe in the region. They will need engagement. Therefore, I think that all these developments are really to Turkey’s advantage” and emphasized that regional developments are important and positive for Turkey.
Türkiye and NATO are vital to each other
Known for his closeness to the US Congress, Heritage Foundation international relations and security senior expert James Carafano said, “Turkey is absolutely vital for NATO and NATO is vital for Turkey,” and drew attention to the importance of Turkey’s geopolitical position and power for the alliance.
Emphasizing that Turkey will not only be a strategic country today, but will always be important in the future, Carafano said, “Turkey has always been in a strategic place since the beginning of time, right? It has always been the crossroads of every civilization and Empire. Therefore, Turkey will always be important” and pointed out that the relationship between Turkey and NATO is very strong.
The importance of corridors in global geopolitics
Heritage Foundation international relations and security senior expert James Carafano, known for his close proximity to the US Congress, said: “If you look at the great corridors that have not changed since ancient times, that unite the world; The Northern Corridor runs through a hill of Russia in Western Europe. There is a Central Corridor stretching from Central Asia to the Caucasus, to the Mediterranean, to the Black Sea and to Europe. There’s also the South Corridor. Passing through the Indo-Pacific along the Suez Canal. Now; North Corridor is dead. Nobody’s going to use it because the Russians won’t be in the public eye anytime soon. So I don’t think this (Northern Corridor) is a major economic corridor. The south aisle will remain free and open. China will never be able to dominate it. And that’s why it will be important.” He pointed to the critical importance of Ort Corridor.
The growing importance of Central Asia
Heritage Foundation international relations and security senior expert James Carafano, who is known for his closeness to the US Congress, used the following statements about the critical importance of the Central Corridor and Central Asia.
“The wildcard here is Middle Aisle. The middle corridor is about connecting Central Asia to the rest of the world. You cannot build a Middle Corridor without Turkey. Let Turkey have a leading role in the Organization of Turkish States; It is important that the Turkish private sector, which knows the region, brings the business to the table, knows how to build something, and has very strong relations in Azerbaijan and Central Asia. Therefore, I cannot see a Middle Corridor without Turkey’s active role and participation, and if there is a Middle Corridor, I think it will change the rules of the game. You’re launching all of Central Asian energy. You are releasing other potential raw material sources and mines. You also create an opportunity for production and additional supply chains. Because all these countries can be production bases. It has a very good industrial foundation. But all this really depends on Turkey’s role.” He drew attention to the global importance of the region and Turkey’s influence.
The USA should look from the perspective of Central Asia
In addition to its historical and cultural ties with Central Asia, Turkey has strong political, economic and commercial ties. The USA is also trying to be effective in the region with its initiative called C5+1.
At this point, James Carafano pointed out that the USA should deepen the partnership with Turkey and said that the USA should approach especially Central Asia with a regional perspective.
“Central Asia was very mysterious during the Cold War. He was behind the Iron Curtain. After the Cold War, we didn’t pay attention to the region, but if you think now that it is largely in the post-Soviet space, they are dominated by Russia militarily, economically, politically; Central Europe, Southern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, this whole space is opening up because Russian influence is waning. Chinese influence is not really replacing it because people don’t trust the Chinese. And they really don’t want to do business with the Chinese unless they have to. So the US should start looking from the perspective of the people living in the region and working with them. Türkiye is a natural partner for this. That’s why I think the United States should be deeply engaged with issues like Southern Europe and Central Europe and the Caucasus, the three sea initiatives, and Central Asia.”
Balancing power in the Black Sea Türkiye
Heritage Foundation international relations and security senior expert James Carafano, who is known for his closeness to the US Congress, reminded that stability and free trade in the Black Sea is in Turkey’s interest, and pointed out that the Ukraine War, in particular, has once again demonstrated the importance of Turkey’s balancing role in the region for NATO.
Carafano said, “I think Turkey gave Finland and Sweden NATO membership. Türkiye supported Ukraine and became a constructive voice in relations with Russia. NATO has fulfilled its commitments. I think that Turkey plays an important role in improving the competition in the Black Sea. I think other NATO countries in the Black Sea region should also develop their own capacities and capabilities. One of the consequences of the war (Ukraine) is that NATO has developed these regional defense plans,” he said.
Central Asia’s position in great power competition is critical
The Indo-Pacific region is heating up when it comes to the Great Power Rivalry between the United States and China. But this is not just happening in the Indo-Pacific region. This competition is clearly seen in Africa and the Middle East.
James Carafano, senior expert on international relations and security at the Heritage Foundation, said that China cannot only deal with China in the Indo-Pacific because of its global influence and power.
At this point; Reminding the importance of the close relationship between Turkey, Israel and Arab countries, Carafano said, “The main thing that will upset the balance here is Central Asia. By taking care of that place, you add the energy of Central Asia to the equation and you leave behind China and Russia” and drew attention to the importance of the fatherland in global geopolitics, as well as Turkey.
Countries that build their own economy and administration are not affected.
Carafano pointed out that the independence of countries in terms of economy and administration will be the most important obstacle for Russia and China to be effective in the region.
Heritage Foundation international relations and security senior expert James Carafano, who is known for his closeness to the US Congress, said, “If you create free and open spaces in the region, you will distance Russia, Iran and China, which are trying to influence countries. Not in the sense of restraining them, but depriving them of meddling in the area. Therefore, if your country is building its own economy and administration, it will not be an easy target. Then he can do business with whomever he wants. I think in the end, people will not want to do business with China. People do business with China because they have no alternative. Any country that has a choice will choose a different partner.”