Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, president of Turkey has decided he wants Jerusalem and while he’s at it Syria belongs to him also. Erdogan seemed to throw rapprochement with Israel out the window today when he stated “it is the common duty of all Muslims to embrace the Palestinian cause and protect Jerusalem.” He made the comments at the first Inter-Parliamentary Jerusalem Platform Symposium in Istanbul.
In the same speech Erdogan spoke about Syria:
“In my estimation, nearly 1 million people have died in Syria. These deaths are still continuing without exception for children, women and men. Where is the United Nations? What is it doing? Is it in Iraq? No. We preached patience but could not endure in the end and had to enter Syria together with the Free Syrian Army [FSA].”
“Why did we enter? We do not have an eye on Syrian soil. The issue is to provide lands to their real owners. That is to say we are there for the establishment of justice. We entered there to end the rule of the tyrant al-Assad who terrorizes with state terror. [We didn’t enter] for any other reason,” Erdogan said.
Erdogan like any other supporter of radical Islam believes in divine mandate on each muslim to conquer lands previously held by the caliphate. For Erdogan it isn’t the caliphate, but rather the sultanate that has the divine power to institute rulership.
What is Erdogan Doing?
Erdogan is laying the groundwork for the passage of a constitutional amendment that gives him power until 2029. In order to pass the amendment he needs the street behind him. By showing off his radical Islamic bonafides he makes sure the street stays with him. Furthermore he is giving context to his brutal attacks on the Kurds, both in Syria and Iraq.
For Erdogan, his broad use of terrorism is often times used to attack Kurds. For example, RT reports: “in October Turkey’s air forces killed between 160 and 200 fighters of the Kurdish YPG militia group in 26 airstrikes conducted in just one night.”
Essentially, the chaos in Syria has come to help Turkey regain a regional role in the Middle East in a way that is far more direct than it used to have. It has gained leverage against the EU and earned the respect of major powers like China.
In just a few months after Russia had Erdogan cornered and a failed coup attempt, Turkey is stronger than every and aiming to control both Northern Iraq and the Levant.