Erdogan's Turkey: A Caliphate in the Making?

(JNS) Zvi Mazel - The new crisis with Israel initiated by Turkish President Erdogan following U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and the Gaza demonstrations should be regarded as an integral part of his bid for regional hegemony. His vision is a major departure from the policy of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the father of modern Turkey, who not only abolished the caliphate and separated religion from the state, but also turned his back on the Arab world, which he saw as a burden hampering his country's progress toward parity with the developed West. Erdogan's new course has embroiled the country in conflicts with many of its neighbors (Egypt, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Syria). He is the same leader who once pledged to pursue a "zero-problems" policy with Turkey's neighbors. Meanwhile, Erdogan has worked to whip up nationalist and anti-American sentiment. Students are encouraged to join uniformed paramilitary units and parade in the streets to demonstrate their fealty to the leader. The Turkish Religious Affairs Directorate is issuing directives explaining to young people the importance of martyrdom to defend a new and Islamic Turkey. The writer, a fellow of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, is a former Israeli ambassador to Romania, Egypt and Sweden.

2018-05-23 00:00:00

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