Ankara's "zero problem with neighbours" policy continues as Hezbollah and its politcal allies walked away from the Lebanese government last week. On Friday, former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri was in Ankara, and the visit was followed by a call by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's for Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to offer cooperation. Erdogan said, "There is a need for the parties to act with full responsibility and an understanding that keeps Lebanon’s common interests above any sort of [political] consideration."
On Monday, Erdogan will go to Damascus for a meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamas Bin Khalifah al-Thani. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu will join from Baghdad, where he is conducting meetings with the Iraqi Government. Alongside the French proposal to create an international contact group for a settlement, Turks are puting their initiative for regional summits, including good relations with Tehran, on the table. Ankara have not confirmed talks with Hezbollah but they do not rule out this possibility as well.
On Sunday, a senior Foreign Ministry diplomat talked to the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on condition of anonymity:
We will exchange views with regional actors on what can be done and how we can all contribute to resolving the crisis. Turkey is in constant touch with other countries in the region. There are several options. We are in favor of a broad-based government where all groups in Lebanon will be represented.
At the "Third Ambassador Conference" in early January, Davutoglu addressed his diplomats:
We are not a torn country, we are a country in a torn world trying to unite the broken pieces of Turkey. We are the country that gathers and bonds different cultures like glue.
We cannot make do with our current role. It is necessary to give dynamic reactions to a dynamic world.
Our power will be sufficient to play such a role and it is necessary to give dynamic reactions to a dynamic world.
Davutoglu, called his ambassadors not only "wise firefighters" but "city planners" who can prevent the fire from occurring. It's an important analogy: Ankara, in the role of "firefighter" on the Lebanese crisis, is pursuing its grand strategy of centring itself in regional discussions not only as a "city planner" but as a global architect.