Multipolar trade with 360-degree diplomacy

by Şeref Kılıçlı

Turkey also plans to improve cooperation with the BRICS+ group, which accounts for 28 percent of the global economy. With the inclusiveness of 360-degree diplomacy, Turkey aims to increase its market share and exports in global trade.

BRICS, which has made a name for itself in today’s international organizations, was first formulated in 2001 by Goldman Sachs’ Chief Economist Jim O’Neill in a study titled ‘Building Better Global Economic BRICs’. The concept was then transformed into an international platform with a focus on economics. BRIC, named after the initials of its member countries Brazil, Russia, India and China, was officially established in 2009 with its first summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia. The first expansion took place in 2010 with the accession of South Africa and was renamed BRICS.


Last year, the 15th BRICS Summit, held in Johannesburg, South Africa, sparked a major expansion. At the beginning of this year, the BRICS group officially welcomed Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iran and Ethiopia, bringing the number of member countries to 10. With the new members, the grouping was also known as BRICS+. With a population of 3.5 billion, BRICS+ countries account for about 44 percent of the world’s population and 28 percent of the total Gross Domestic Product (GDP), i.e. the global economy. According to IMF data, the economic size of the BRICS+ group exceeded 29.5 trillion dollars with the addition of 5 new countries this year. According to a study by Henley & Partners, a London-based international investment advisory firm, BRICS+ accounts for 36 percent of the world’s total GDP when purchasing power parity is taken into account and is ahead of the G7 in this area.


With the inclusion of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) countries; Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ethiopia and Iran, a significant new financial power and geopolitical population is gathered in the BRICS+ group. The BRICS+ countries account for about 45 percent of the world’s crude oil production. Indeed, Dr. Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners, states, “The inclusion of the MENA countries is not only a political realignment, but also a recognition of their growing economic structure. The region, historically important because of its energy resources, is now taking on a more diverse economic role,” says Dr. Juerg Steffen, CEO of Henley & Partners.


Turkey is also closely following the developments in the BRICS+ group. The BRICS+ session was held in Nizhny Novgorod on June 11 as part of the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of BRICS, which is chaired by Russia this year. Turkey, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Algeria, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Cuba, Laos, Mauritania, Nigeria, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Venezuela and Vietnam were invited to the BRICS+ session, where international security, sustainable development and global governance issues were discussed. Turkey was represented at the meeting by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan, who also raised the issue of BRICS countries actively working to develop a platform where they can use their national currencies in commercial activities. In his speech, Minister Fidan said, “We value our cooperation with BRICS. Diversity in BRICS is an important tool to increase development and stability.”


Turkey’s interest in BRICS+ is reciprocated at the highest level. Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan held a separate meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin Palace during his visit to Russia for the BRICS+ meeting. During the meeting, Putin said, “We welcome Turkey’s interest in the work of BRICS. We will certainly support in every possible way Turkey’s desire to be together with the countries of this Union.” Putin also said that he will meet with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on July 3-4 at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan. Meanwhile, the 16th BRICS Summit, hosted by Russia, is scheduled to be held in Kazan on October 22-24.


Having implemented the Customs Union with the European Union, which covers industrial and processed agricultural products, Turkey continues to seek new cooperation opportunities with various partners in different platforms such as BRICS+. Experts assessing Turkey’s geopolitical balancing approach note that Ankara’s engagement with BRICS+ should not be seen as an alternative to its relations with the EU. On the other hand, they underline that China and Russia, the two most important countries of the BRICS+ group, are among Turkey’s most important trade partners and that it is a natural foreign policy for Turkey, which is considered a regional power and an emerging economy, to take advantage of all opportunities for trade and economic cooperation. It is also pointed out that the foreign policy is a 360-degree diplomacy.


BRICS established the New Development Bank (NDB) in 2015 to support its economic goals. It is noted that the NDB aims to reduce dependence on the dollar, promote a more multipolar international financial system, and lend in the currencies of member countries. The expansion of local currency loans and the use of alternatives to the dollar in trade and financial transactions accepted by BRICS countries are also part of its goals. Headquartered in Shanghai, China, the NDB has lent $32 billion to developing countries for new road, bridge, railway and water supply projects by the end of 2022. NDB President Dilma Rousseff said last year that about 30 percent of the loans were made in local currencies and that the global financial system would now be replaced by a ‘multipolar system’.


Stating that Turkey’s interest in BRICS is a natural extension of its multidimensional and multilateral foreign policy line, Istanbul Aydın University Faculty Member Prof. Dr. Tarık Oğuzlu said: “This foreign policy line can also be considered as a natural outcome of a new international interpretation that is being implemented on the basis of Ankara-centered strategic autonomy. There was an important point both in the recent statements made by Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and in the previous statements made by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. They were saying that Turkey’s joining BRICS or the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in the future should not be interpreted as Turkey leaving NATO or ending its relations with the European Union. In other words, Turkey is a country that is trying to take part in all important global platforms simultaneously. It is thought to increase Turkey’s market share and exports, and to facilitate attracting investment from these countries. BRICS member countries also have a strategic positioning against the West, especially Russia and China. Turkey does not see it this way. Turkey is a country that has been in the West for many years.”


Commenting on Turkey’s stance on BRICS+, Prof. Dr. Murat Ferman from Beykent University said: “Turkey, with its position as a center country, does not consider itself only as an ally of NATO, only as an ally of the Western or Eastern world. As a central country, Turkey also keeps its options open to other formations such as BRICS+ and Shanghai. Turkey is a country that opposes the hegemony of being defined by others. BRICS+, of course, cannot be ignored as a rising value. This is a fact, but it should not be forgotten that Turkey should be more open and clear on these issues. After all, we have entered a very sensitive and more fragile international ecopolitical conjuncture. First of all, we need to discuss our one-to-one relations with China once again. Going through BRICS alone is not a solution for correcting the foreign trade deficit between us and China. BRICS, through the New Development Bank (NDB), has given 32 billion dollars in loans to developing countries by the end of 2022, especially for infrastructure investments. Turkey may try to utilize these funding opportunities. But there is also the issue of Russia and China using the BRICS+ group as a platform against the West.”

Source: https://istanbulticaretgazetesi.com/tr/360-derece-diplomasiyle-cok-kutuplu-ticaret?s=08

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