The Sultan’s New Clothes – Turkey’s Wacky Diplomacy | Sergio Restelli
The olive branch from Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to Israeli President Herzog has more to do with gas and the economy as Turkey continues to back Hamas and other Islamist groups bent on destroying Israel.
In a statement released on Tuesday, the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria (AANES) warned that the danger of the Islamic State will affect everyone and return to create chaos again, stressing the need to hold Turkey accountable and anyone supporting the project, which she called “dangerous dimensions and lofty goals.”
The AANES, made up of the Syrian Kurdish population of northeast Syria, formed the Syrian Defense Forces (SDF), key western allies in the fight against ISIS. This development of Israel’s border is not the only time the Erdogan-led Turkish administration has been accused of siding with the Islamists. Whether it is Somalia or Kashmir, Libya or Mali-Turkey often find themselves embroiled in conflicts, supplying arms and support to Islamist militias. The Jerusalem Post reported on January 26 that after years of comparing Israel to Nazi Germany and vowing to “liberate” Jerusalem, Erdogan’s party is now trying to peddle the story of distancing itself from Hamas and seeking rapprochement with Israel. The Turkish state and Erdogan-backed media have announced that members of Hamas, who live and operate freely in Turkey, will be deported or expelled, with no apparent evidence for this claim, Seth Frantzman wrote. Erdogan also announced a state visit by Israeli President Isaac Herzog to Turkey.
A January 27 TOI report said a spokesperson for Herzog declined to comment on Erdogan’s announcement, but officials confirmed talks during a visit on condition of anonymity. “If a leader of an important Muslim country like Turkey reaches out to Israel, there is no choice but to give a positive response,” a senior Israeli official told Axios on Wednesday. Axios report, Barak Ravid writes that the Israeli intelligence agency Shin Bet stressed during internal discussions on Turkey that any normalization process must include limiting Hamas activities in Turkey, according to Israeli officials.
This strategy of duplicity is not new for Erdogan’s Turkish government led by the Islamic Brotherhood. Already in 2020, Indian intelligence sources regularly cited Turkey’s role, including through Erdogan’s family-run charities funding terrorism in Kashmir and India. After Pakistan, Turkey was the biggest funder of terrorism in India, especially in the radicalization of youth.
Turkey, under Erdogan, in its quest to take over the leadership of world Islam uh, has developed deep relations with Pakistan, another US ally. Pakistan and Turkey enjoy close cultural, historical and military ties that now extend to deeper economic relations, especially with the slippery lira and the wrecked Pakistani rupee. Turkey’s Islamist internationalism under its President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has inevitably led to its deeper alliance with Pakistan. Turkish President and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan are ideological brothers, both placing the role of religion at the center of politics.
About a century ago, the father of modern Turkey, Mustafa Kamal Atatürk, transformed the country into a modern secular nation by separating religion from state, but President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his ruling party once moreover brought back the role of religion in the affairs of the state. The 20th century secular firewall, established by Atatürk and zealously guarded by his successors, which had separated religion and government, as well as religion and education, has completely collapsed. Islam now serves as a justification for all sorts of policies. For example, according to the Turkish president, Islam did not allow him to raise interest rates. Consequently, the Turkish lira crashed to its lowest point in history. The inflation rate is also dangerously high in Turkey. Asked by Turkish businessmen about faith-based economic policies leading to the economic crisis, the Turkish President, instead of addressing their concerns, accused them of “plotting to overthrow the government”. He further exclaimed, “As a Muslim, I will continue to do what our religion tells us.”
Erdogan is just one example where a fundamentalist ideology gives the driving seat to emotion and the back seat to reason. Whatever the rulers regard as religious injunctions becomes the driving force in all affairs of state – while reason and all principles of democracy are shelved and all forms of criticism and dissent are shelved as anti-religious and worthy of being severe. the discipline.
Pakistan is another example of religion playing a central role in national politics. Like Turkey, all state policies in Pakistan under the leadership of its Prime Minister Imran Khan are now formulated on the principles of religious injunctions. Foreign policy, economic policies and even education policy are adapted based on what the government sees as the requirements of religion.
Although the country is on the verge of bankruptcy caused by the freefall of the Pakistani rupee, the falling stock market and the high rate of inflation, the government is only concerned with increasing the religious content of the new single national curriculum. (CNS). The SNC itself is completely driven by religious ideology and overloaded with religious injunctions – it is the brainchild of Imran Khan and has the ability to turn ordinary schools into seminaries. It is hard to resist the idea that this new move by the Pakistani government is likely to produce an army of ignorant, bigoted and religious fanatics. The raging fires of religious extremism will be further fanned and fueled by new recruits and hardcore obscurantists. Pakistan needs to realize that the rupee may recover one day and the economy may improve, but this mad rush to impose a very particular interpretation of religion in all walks of life will certainly damage the very roots of the country.
Imran Khan supported the Taliban’s victory in Afghanistan and offered full amnesty to the Pakistani Taliban. It supports madrassas education and has given huge grants to some madrassas in Pakistan, while Turkey has sponsored madrassas in Afghanistan. It is feared that based on the policies implemented by its PTI government, Pakistani schools will soon replicate the Taliban type of education through the full implementation of the One National Curriculum. According to an official notification, co-education in schools in Punjab will be stopped in accordance with the religious ideology of the ruling regime, reflecting what has happened in Afghanistan since the Taliban takeover.
Generally speaking, it does indeed appear that Erdogan and Imran Khan seem to bow to the forces of obscurantism and religious fanaticism. Imran Khan greatly admires Erdogan and supports the Turkish president’s jihadist ambitions to conquer and revive the Ottoman Empire. However, Islamabad must realize that it cannot afford such adventures. Pakistan can only overcome its problems if it eliminates the threat of religious fanaticism. Security experts warn that when a country is in the grip of vicious religious fanatics bent on imposing their religious agenda for political gain, the chances of improvement are slim.
As Frantzman says in another article, Turkey’s agenda with Israel is give nothing and take all. This seems to be the basic Islamist policy of the time. The Taliban visit to Oslo, Erdogan’s seemingly useless olive branch to Herzog or Pakistan’s rants about being a victim of terrorism. All examples of deception. Unfortunately, as the Asma Jahangir conference in Lahore concluded, all of these actions would end up being counterproductive for Turkish and Pakistani societies. Until then, we will have to see what price Israel will pay to amuse the Sultan (Erdogan).
Sergio Restelli is an Italian political adviser, author and geopolitical expert. He served in the Craxi government in the 1990s as special assistant to Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Minister Martelli and worked closely with anti-Mafia magistrates Falcone and Borsellino. Over the past decades, he has been involved in peacebuilding and diplomacy efforts in the Middle East and North Africa. He has written for Geopolitica and several Italian online and print media. In 2020, his first fiction “Napoli sta bene” is published.