Erdogan’s Troubling Friends


In 1974, when Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan was president of the Istanbul youth group of the MSP (the Islamist National Salvation Party), he wrote, directed, and starred in a play called Mas-Kom-Ya, which addressed subversive elements in Turkish society: masons, communists and yahudi (Jews). This very same performer has managed to convince gullible Western politicians that Turkey is committed to EU membership. Equally convincingly, he has played to the Arab gallery since his AKP (Justice and Development Party) came to power in 2002.

Erdogan’s tirade against Shimon Peres during a panel discussion at last year’s World Economic Forum in Davos – “you know very well how to kill” – earned plaudits all around the Arab world. The Lebanese daily Dar A-Hayat suggested that Erdogan should restore the Ottoman Empire and be the Caliph of all Muslims. By some accounts, this has been identified as the driving force behind Turkey’s expansionist foreign policy, which has been dubbed “neo-Ottoman.”

This new course obviously played out in Turkey’s role in the Gaza flotilla incident. According to Debka (an open source intelligence website) the flotilla was personally sponsored by Erdogan, and according to the same source, he is even prepared to sail aboard the next flotilla himself. Some awareness of the consequences must have been know, as a week before the flotilla sailed, Ankara threatened Israel with reprisals if it was impeded.

The connection between the flotilla’s organizer, the Turkish-based IHH (Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief), and Hamas is well documented, and it created a stir when Hamas leader Khaled Mashal was officially invited to Ankara in 2006.

Ankara’s support for Iran’s nuclear program, ostensibly for peaceful purposes, is likewise a cause for concern in the Western world, and President Abdullah Gül has admitted in an interview with Forbes magazine that “it is their final aspiration to have a nuclear weapon in the end.”

Turkey and Syria have agreed on a long-term strategic partnership and Erdogan continues to defend Sudan’s president, Omar al-Bashir (who is on the International Criminal Court’s wanted list) with the claim that “a Muslim can never commit genocide.”

Also alarming is the secret meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and a Sudanese financier, Dr. Fatih al-Hassanein, during an Arab League summit in Khartoum in 2006. Dr. al-Hassanein is believed to have ties with al-Qaeda and other Islamist movements (e.g. in Bosnia).

What has caused another stir is the friendship between Prime Minister Erdogan and a Saudi businessman, Yassin al-Qadi, who, according to the U.S. Treasury and the United Nations Security Council, is a major financier of Islamic terrorism. Erdogan’s advisor and co-founder of the AKP, Cüneyd Zapsu, was also al-Qadi’s partner.

Erdogan defended al-Qadi publicly on Turkish television, declaring: “I trust him the same way I trust my father.” And a case against al-Qadi was dropped when in 2006 the Chief Public Prosecutor decided: “Al-Qadi is a philanthropic businessman and no connection has been found between him and terrorist organizations.”

The truth is beginning to catch up with Erdogan. Last week, in an interview given to the Wall Street Journal, Fethullah Gülen, who, although a resident in the USA, is reckoned to be Turkey’s most influential religious leader, criticized the Gaza flotilla. He also commented: “.. some people in the United States consider Turkey as sitting at the epicenter of radicalism.”

It is now up to the hot-tempered Mr. Erdogan and his government to dispel this image — or to continue confirming it.

Robert Ellis is a regular commentator on Turkish affairs in the Danish and international press.

  • cuneyd zapsu

    sir:
    i do not want to comment on anything else but theissue where you mention my name. Mr Al Kadi was my partner at a turkish retail chain, but so was -in the same period- also Merill lynch and Bank of America! tFurtheron Mr kadi was up until now- 9 years – never charged with anything, because nothing was found against him. Therefore a swiss court reliesed all his assets..
    this is just to complete your information
    rgds
    h cuneyd zapsu

    • http://www.rumiforum.org/ Gblog

      Fethullah Gulen is the honorary president of the Rumi Forum.

  • ze-ev ben jehudah

    Mr Erdogan is showing his real intentions of becoming a facist state
    that will turn to islamism within a year from now.Moslims the world over
    are sharpening their swords for the final holy war.
    Does no one sees the escalation for world war Nr 3 ???Even Mr No Brains
    from the white house is playing their game.

    • Andres de Alamaya

      I'm afraid you are absolutely right but the world has always preferred to wear blinders instead of facing reality.

  • William Smart

    It's unlikely that Turkey has ever, as Israel did in 1976, honoured a man such as South African prime minister, John Vorster – interned in WWII as a Nazi sympathiser and a commander of the fascist Ossewabrandwag that sided with Hitler – to make a state visit.

    His predecessor, Hendrik Verwoerd, had been an editor of the virulently anti-semitic newspaper, Die Transvaler. This architect of "grand apartheid" and bantustans was later warm in his praise of Israel. "The Jews took Israel from the Arabs after the Arabs had lived there for a thousand years. Israel, like South Africa, is an apartheid state," he said.

    • MixMike

      "It's unlikely that Turkey has ever, as Israel did in 1976, honoured a man such as South African prime minister, John Vorster – interned in WWII as a Nazi sympathiser and a commander of the fascist Ossewabrandwag that sided with Hitler – to make a state visit."

      Um, Turkey just invited Ahmadinejad, who is a rabid Holocaust denier and anti-semite, to an Islamic conference.

  • USMCSniper

    Erdogan himself, the leader the Islamist party that is leaning toward a break with modern Turkish nationalism and secularism, in the sense of its racist insularity against the Arabs, which was anchored by Ataturk. The Islamic party that derives many of its convictions from the ideas of Islamist parties in Arab states, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood. A break with Israel is expected/

  • Charlie

    Can't we all just get along? Really? Accusations of terrorism ties by Al Kadi that have been unfounded for nearly 10 years, and linking him to other businessmen in an effort to begin a "crusade" against a strong U.S ally is simply put, freaking ignorant. Please, if you would like to offer yourself under such a name as USMC sniper, then I would hold you to have the clarity to understand that there are always 2 sides to every coin, and you are likely only given the side that makes it possible for you to work in the way you do, for the government you serve. As a fan of interest in the changing Turkish leadership since 2002, I can tell you with all certainty that the plans and ideas for Turkey were in the beginning to become embers of the EU in order to strengthen the economy of Turkey. US is an overtly Christian nation, built upon "In God we trust" and many decisions are rooted from the beliefs. Why is it strange that another nation might derive ideals from their own up bringing? Religion is one of MANY formulating factors in deciding ones core values and ethics. These can change, and do. What you believed when you were 10 is different when you are 20, and 30, and 40, and so on. I am a proud american, I am also realistic, and not politically naive. Please take a peak at the US government guest list prior to slanderous comments about American allies, especially in the Middle East. Turkey is really all we've got, like it or not!!

  • http://www.rumiforum.org/ F Gulen

    Fethullah Gulen is an authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology. Fethullah Gulen promotes cooperation of civilizations toward a peaceful world, as opposed to a clash:

    “Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned.” (Fethullah Gülen, Criteria or Lights of the Way. London: Truestar.)

    Please visit the following links to get more information about Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen Movement.

    Gulen Movement
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    Some say Gulen Inspired Schools are the best schools around, and some say Gulen Inspired Schools cannot be that good without support from global powers. Find out the facts from above links.

  • F Gulen

    Some say they serve for global peace, and some other say: “Don’t be naive they must have a hidden agenda”. I will not get into questions like “water of the mill” as they have been addressed previously. The main question I am going after is, what are really Gulen Inspired Schools? What makes them standout? How can you distinguish a Gulen Inspired School from any other public or community school? Find out the facts about Gulen Inspired Schools from above links.

  • http://www.fethullah-gulen.net Gulen Movement

    Fethullah Gulen is an authoritative mainstream Turkish Muslim scholar, thinker, author, poet, opinion leader and educational activist who supports interfaith and intercultural dialogue, science, democracy and spirituality and opposes violence and turning religion into a political ideology. Fethullah Gulen promotes cooperation of civilizations toward a peaceful world, as opposed to a clash:

    "Be so tolerant that your bosom becomes wide like the ocean. Become inspired with faith and love of human beings. Let there be no troubled souls to whom you do not offer a hand and about whom you remain unconcerned." (Fethullah Gülen, Criteria or Lights of the Way. London: Truestar.)

    Please visit the following links to get more information about Fethullah Gulen and the Gulen Movement.

    Gulen Movement

    Gulen Movement

    Fethullah Gulen Blog

  • http://www.fethullah-gulen.net Gulen Inspired Sc

    Some say they serve for global peace, and some other say: “Don’t be naive they must have a hidden agenda”. I will not get into questions like “water of the mill” as they have been addressed previously. The main question I am going after is, what are really Gulen Inspired Schools? What makes them standout? How can you distinguish a Gulen Inspired School from any other public or community school? Find out the facts about Gulen Inspired Schools from above links.

  • http://www.getthefact.com/ Gulen Charter
  • http://gulen-charterschools.com toxic

    Who is Fethullah Gulen and how he is related to the charter schools? Why are those schools called Gulen Charter Schools?
    Visit http://www.gulen-charterschools.com to learn more about the so called gulen charter schools.

  • http://www.gulen-charterschools.com John

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    Visit http://www.gulen-charterschools.com to learn more about the so called gulen charter schools.