Is Turkey’s foreign policy inspired by TV’s ‘Valley of the Wolves’?

Turkish Vice President Fuat Oktay’s comments this week on Ankara’s plans to send troops to Libya led some to ask whether the country’s foreign policy is being inspired by a top TV show, Evrensel daily’s columnist İhsan Çaralan wrote on Friday.

“The Valley of the Wolves” (Kurtlar Vadisi), one of the most prominent series in Turkish television history, narrates the story of an underground operative, Polat Alemdar, and follows his journey to serve his country by defeating its secret enemies. The iconic show led to three movies, namely “Valley of the Wolves: Iraq”, “Valley of the Wolves: Gladio” and “Valley of the Wolves: Palestine”.

“The one who thinks too much about consequences cannot be a hero,” Alemdar repeatedly says in the Valley of the Wolves.

Oktay used exactly the same sentence to address criticism of the Turkish government’s decision to send forces to Libya to support the U.N.-recognised Tripoli government, which is facing an assault from forces loyal to commander Khalifa Haftar.

Oktay made this comment before a vote in parliament on a bill mandating the government to send forces to Libya in response to those warning the government that the move would further isolate Turkey in the east Mediterranean. 

Çaralan said there would be no reason to take the slogan seriously if it were uttered by a lesser politician attempting to prove their loyalty to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. 

“But when a veteran vice president who spent years in the state bureaucracy says it, of course everybody following the government’s policy asks themselves whether Turkey’s foreign policy has been inspired by the Valley of the Wolves,” Çaralan said. 

“Because someone who is so close to the president cannot use this well-known cliche instinctively,” he said. 

Turkey’s current foreign policy is designed by a team including Erdoğan, presidential spokesman İbrahim Kalın, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and the head of intelligence Hakan Fidan and this seems to perfectly parallel the slogan, the columnist said.