Tag Archives: Geopolitics

The awkward love of Arab Muslims for the Neo-ottoman Sultan of Turkey


It was during a cold winter in Davos when Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan hit a political jackpot. Overnight he had become the Muslim and Arab world’s champion. It was the first time that Turkish and Israeli relations were in danger. During his last re-election, many hearts were close to God and raised their hands in prayer for Erdogan’s election victory.

After the Davos conference, thousands of people gathered at Ataturk airport, in Istanbul, to greet the Turkish prime minister, waving Turkish and Palestinian flags and chanting: “Turkey is proud of you”.

According to the Middle East Eye, the Islamic and Arab world, plagued for decades with rulers who are either secular despots, dictatorial monarchs or theocratic autocrats – all of whom pay no more than lip service to furthering the wellbeing of Muslims, is quick to revere anyone who is willing to publicly speak on their behalf, even if it fails to result in firm action.

Also, for the Middle East Monitor, while the Arab countries continue to be under oppressive, tyrannical regimes, whether monarchies or presidential systems governed by the military, they can easily search for a “Hero”. All these countries, with no exception, are corrupt, with the leaders and their hypocritical supporters benefitting from the country’s wealth while the vast majority of their people suffer from poverty, hunger, deprivation and illness, unable to make a decent living or receive adequate medical treatment.

During the previous years we have seen many articles from the Arab world praising the Sultan as “Erdogan is now the hero of the Egyptian street,” from one Egyptian blogger, complaining that Egypt was suffering from a severe shortage of national heroes.

Turkish AKP partly relates to the Middle Eastern “cult hero” phenomenon, whereby leaders seen to be defying the west or Israel, no matter how recklessly or for whatever selfish reasons, are elevated to heroes in the eyes of millions. This wannabe leader of the Arab world and Africa presents himself as a champion of the Palestinians to lure Arabs into his corner, while maintaining diplomatic, trade and intelligence ties with Tel Aviv.

To strengthen that relationship, both countries began planning the multi-billion-euro Mediterranean Pipeline Project, known as Med Stream, back in 2008 and more recently in 2017. The longterm goal of the undersea infrastructure project: To create a sophisticated pipeline system to facilitate the exchange of electricity, natural gas, crude oil and water.

The tender involved building a pipeline from Leviathan to the Turkish shoreline. Such a pipeline must necessarily pass through Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).Cyprus has repeatedly stated it is opposed to an Israel-Turkey pipeline running through its EEZ until a comprehensive settlement of the Cyprus problem. Whereas Cyprus’ ally Israel would prefer to have Nicosia’s consent for the pipeline,in reality it does not need it (international waters).

Erdogan’s government since Davos has been quick to mobilise Turkish resources and dispatch aid to various places where Muslims have become imperilled, whether it be to Somalia or to the Rohingya in Burma. For Erdogan, championing the cause of the world’s Muslims has also helped him to bolster his reputation among his major constituents domestically – the Muslim conservatives.

As the Arab Spring kicked off in 2011, a confident Turkey hoped to restore some of its former Ottoman-era glory, positioning itself as a leader among the Sunni Muslim nations. It threw its weight behind Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and Syria’s rebels, just as it had backed Hamas in Gaza. Qatar proved an enthusiastic ally.

This strategy backfired when the Brotherhood was overthrown in Egypt and replaced by a military strongman who, backed by the region’s other status quo powers, chiefly Saudi Arabia, is restoring the pre-2011 status quo in Cairo. Syria’s Turkish-backed rebels lost ground and Bashar al-Assad held on to power in Damascus. These setbacks left Turkey looking weakened and isolated in the region — just at the time that Ankara’s relations with its long-standing NATO allies are fraying under Erdoğan.

Continue reading The awkward love of Arab Muslims for the Neo-ottoman Sultan of Turkey

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Will Erdogan “cook” the upcoming Turkish Elections result?


The winner of the presidential race will assume extraordinary powers that were narrowly approved in a referendum last year. On June 24th, for the first time in their country’s history, Turks will head to the polls to elect both parliament and president on the same day. The vote, which will take place under a state of emergency now entering its third year, has been billed as the most important in decades. Erdoğan is favoured to win.

Today, Mr Ince’s, main opposition’s candidate (CHP), growing popularity and Mr Erdogan’s surprisingly weak campaign mean an upset is no longer inconceivable. Mr Ince would have a chance if he can force Mr Erodgan into a runoff and then inherit practically all the voters of Mrs Aksener and Mr Demirtas. But that will not be easy.

Erdogan has consolidated power at every step of his career. He has crushed anti-government protests, and in 2013 he evaded a corruption investigation into his inner circle. After a failed military coup to remove his government from power in 2016, he eliminated his opponents by firing tens of thousands of government workers, gutting public institutions, jailing critical voices, and clamping down on the media. He narrowly won a referendum last year that will change Turkey’s parliamentary system to an executive presidency, giving whoever wins Sunday’s vote sweeping new powers.

Turkey today is the world’s biggest jailer of journalists, ahead of China and Egypt. Seventy-three were imprisoned in 2017 alone and more than 120 have been jailed since a failed coup attempt in 2016. Hundreds have lost their jobs in the aftermath of the coup, while allies of the government have bought up most of the country’s news outlets to transform the vast majority of the media into a loyalist press, Guardian reports.

Cumhuriyet journalists were detained in October 2016 as part of a sweeping crackdown by the government on dissidents. Twelve were arrested in dawn raids, and the chairman of the newspaper’s board, Akın Atalay, returned from a trip to Germany to turn himself in, all accused of aiding terrorist groups.

But Erdogan’s mantra of development and growth has lost some of its luster recently as Turkish people feel the pinch of a faltering economy.The lira has lost some 20% of its value since the year began, inflation is at 12% and interest rates are around a painful 18%. Some voters are tiring of what they see as Erdogan’s power-grabbing.

But despite the perpetual state of crisis, Turkish voters have turned out in droves to opposition rallies, energising a contest whose outcome two months ago seemed to be pre-ordained. Unexpectedly dynamic campaigns by Muharrem İnce, the main challenger, and the breakaway nationalist Meral Akşener have revitalised a moribund opposition movement that has lost election after election.

The Kurdish vote is pivotal in the outcome of the parliamentary election. If the HDP crosses a 10% threshold, it will win seats and could deprive the AKP of its parliamentary majority. If it fails to get into parliament, the AKP will sweep up those seats.
According to the turkish media, a Turkish citizen has been detained for voting both in Belgium and in Turkey. There are a lot of citizens of Turkey who went to vote abroad and they voted both and you can guess for who they voted…

The Turkish citizen who resides in Belgium had stirred outrage on social media this week when she shared photos showing her casting votes both in the Turkish Embassy in Belgium and at the customs gate of Adnan Menderes Airport in the western Turkish province of İzmir.

Sources: The Guardian, Hurriyet Daily News, CNN