Erdogan flexes his muscles; Turkey a Middle East player

One of my present day interests is to watch and reflect upon what is going on in the Middle East (and there is a lot). My writings on the subject are included in my “Israel and the Middle East” e-book, where I have looked at many of the main players in what has long been a volatile area of the world where fear of an escalation of hostilities, even leading to World War 3, is a distinct possibility.

Not covered so far is Turkey, partly because I know too little and until relatively recently not deemed a major player. For some time it was looking to join the EU but that looks now a lot less likely. Now under what some consider a hard liner –  recently made President for Life, Islam leaning, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who some say as now having what amounts to dictatorial power, Turkey has become more aggressive in seeking Middle East dominance, especially in the Islamic world (harping back to its position in the former Islamic Caliphate), and must not be discounted when reflecting on events.

According to Wikipedia: “Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is a Turkish politician serving as the current President of Turkey, holding the position since 2014. He previously served as Prime Minister from 2003 to 2014 and as Mayor of Istanbul from 1994 to 1998. He founded the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in 2001, leading it to general election victories in 2002, 2007 and 2011 before standing down upon his election as President in 2014. Coming from an Islamist political background and as a self-described conservative democrat, he has promoted socially conservative and liberal economic policies in his administration.”

According to the pro-Israel “Israel Today” magazine, under the title: “Muslim Leaders Seek ‘Islamic Army’ to Protect ‘Palestine” “Turkish dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other Muslim leaders want to create an Islamic army to ‘protect’ the Palestinian Arabs after 62 of them died last Monday during attempts to invade Israel from Gaza. Hamas and Islamic Jihad later admitted 53 of those killed during the attempted invasion of southern Israel were members of their terror organizations. Muslim leaders met in Turkey at an emergency gathering of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), during which the Erdogan regime accused Israel of “willfully murdering” the Palestinian Arabs. Erdogan further escalated his vile rhetoric against Israel by comparing the Jewish State to Nazi Germany. “There is no difference between the atrocity faced by the Jewish people in Europe 75 years ago and the brutality that our Gaza brothers are subjected to,” Erdogan told his Muslim counterparts”.

Besides the Iran and Syrian threats and who knows how many other Middle East countries will join them, Turkey should be added to the mix, even if we are to discount the reactionary language of the article. Clearly the Gaza situation, discussed in my recent “Gaza and Jerusalem in the news” blog has all sorts of ramifications, not least in mobilizing anti-Israel sentiment and posing real threats. Clearly, Turkey under Erdogan is a country to watch, for no doubt situations will arise where it will play a key and even a lead part.

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