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Erdogan was originally a member of the Welfare Party, which has been called the “motherboard of Turkish Islamists.” He was arrested for his involvement in the party. He later formed the AKP, which has been praised by the Muslim Brotherhood for “exposing of the failure of the secular trend.” Erdogan’s foreign policy has become increasingly hostile to the West as his party has grown in power.
His National Security Council removed Iran and Syria as designated threats, but labeled Israel as a “major threat.” Erdogan opposed the International Criminal Court’s indictment of Sudanese President Omar Bashir because, in his words, “no Muslim could perpetrate a genocide.” He has received an award from Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, and has dragged his feet in confronting him. Erdogan said in June 2010, “I do not think that Hamas is a terrorist organization…They are Palestinians in resistance, fighting for their own land.”
Erdogan has brought Turkey closer to Iran. In December, Ahmadinejad addressed the Economic Cooperation Organization in Turkey and declared that an “Islamic World Order” must replace the secular capitalist world order. Turkey has opposed U.N. sanctions on Iran, and Erdogan and President Gul met with the Iranian-backed militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr in the spring of 2009 despite the American and Iraqi blood on his hands. Turkey has denied reports that the Iranian regime secretly donated to Erdogan’s campaign.
Turkey has held joint military exercises with Syria and has been accused of having a joint military campaign with Iran against Iraqi Kurdish militants. Fortunately, Erdogan has turned on Syrian President Assad in the wake of his violence against his people. Turkey is hosting meetings of the Syrian opposition, but Erdogan may be trying to assist the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood.
Erdogan has become increasingly confrontational towards Israel, with the 2010 Gaza flotilla incident as the prime example. The extremist IHH group behind the ambush of Israeli soldiers has strong ties to the Erdogan government and the AKP. A French counter-terrorism magistrate determined that the IHH’s goal is “overthrowing the democratic, secular and constitutional order present in Turkey and replacing it with an Islamic state founded on the Shariah.” The Israeli Defense Forces now has photos of IHH members with guns onboard the Mavi Marmara.
Erdogan’s AKP will now begin working on a new constitution. Turkey’s fate will soon be decided, and the Islamists are in the driver’s seat.
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