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The Delusions of Caliph Erdogan

By Magdi Khalil

A masked member of Hamas stands in front of a banner during a protest in Central Gaza Strip

…The first revelation came through a clash with Israel. Preening like a peacock, Erdogan has been introducing himself to the Arabs as one of the knights of old, coming to deliver Palestine. Instead, he was taught a bloody lesson by Israel, which made him realize his own stature in the context of this complex issue, and forced him to recognize the international redlines.

The Taksim Square redevelopment project provided another clue. Erdogan had allied himself to a number of corrupt businessmen, including his son-in-law who owned the contracting company managing the project. The public fury against him was stunning, and being a conspiracy theorist, he believed that he was the victim of an international conspiracy designed to depose him. The conflict with his own people revealed an ugly and tyrannical side of Erdogan. Suffice it to say that Turkey has currently the largest rate of imprisoned reporters globally.

However, the major eye-opener was the so called Arab Spring, or what should by rights be called the Muslim Brotherhood Spring. Erdogan was part of the international powers that formed an alliance to strike Libya. When Libya fell, followed by Tunisia and Egypt falling into the hands of Islamists, he rushed to pay these countries a visit, with Intelligence agents in tow, presenting himself as a major player and supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood’s rule. Erdogan’s obsession reached new heights, even though he tried to pretend otherwise while visiting Cairo, making a show of rebuking the Muslim Brothers in Egypt for rushing into proclaiming their vision of an Islamic caliphate while the region was not yet amenable to the idea. However, he left all pretense and reason behind when it became obvious that Syria was not easily succumbing to the Muslim Brotherhood. He turned Turkey’s borders with Syria into an assembly of hardened terrorists brought in from all over the world, equipped with weapons and funds and aiming to bring Bashar Al-Assad down. Finally, the collapse of the Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt seemed to have pushed him over the edge. Faced with the loss of his long-held dream, he became semi-hysterical, ranting, raving and throwing accusations right and left.

The Arabs have ever been suspicious of Erdogan’s attempts to establish closer relations. There were reservations about his ambitious agenda and the role he played in the Arab Spring. These reservations were particularly justified when, in the course of Davos Forum, he told an Arab president during a special meeting that, “western democracy is akin to a bus station but the final destination is the Islamic caliphate.” Later, the façade totally crumbled and his ugly side was fully revealed after the June 30th revolution in Egypt….


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