Erdogan mobilizes mixture of Turkish ethnic chauvinism and aggressive Islamism to survive

As the domestic situation grows bleaker for him and his ruling party, Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan is struggling to turn the Turkish public’s attention away from home. In his desperation, Erdogan is laying bare his designs to cement the cornerstones of a new/old empire founded on an odd coupling of Turkish ethnic chauvinism that harks back to a mythical Turkic ancestor in pre-Islamic Central Asia, and an aggressive brand of Muslim Brotherhood Islamist ideology.

By Sayed Abdel-Meguid
SOURCE: AHRAM (English edition)

Haci Yakisikli, of the pro-Erdogan newspaper Yeni Akit, is a good source to turn to for a chilling view into the mindset of the Erdogan regime. On his personal Twitter account, he rejoices at the “Amazing News!”: “The Turkish World Cooperation and Solidarity Society together with 100 NGOs are preparing to file lawsuits at the international level concerning 12 islands, Crete, Libya, Mosul-Kirkuk, Crimea and Western Thrace that they believe legally belong to Turkey! These lands might be able to re-join Turkey!”

Although observers have described this as the ravings of a madman, thousands of right-wing Turkish academics, journalists and opinion pundits subscribe to these irredentist dreams and they are growing more and more belligerent in their calls for the restoration of Turkish “rights” in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean.

Undoubtedly, much of this is orchestrated. On 11 April, Erdogan announced that his government would continue its resolute defence of Turkish rights and interests in Cypriot regional waters in the Aegean. Turkey claims it is operating on behalf of the interests of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus that was created following the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 and that is recognise d by no other member of the international community but Turkey.

His remarks came after a joint declaration by Greece, Cyprus, Egypt, France and the United Arab Emirates denouncing Turkish activities in the Eastern Mediterranean. Ankara’s oil and gas drilling operations in areas where Cyprus has exclusive economic rights have been condemned on numerous occasions by the abovementioned countries, as well as by the EU and the US.

To further fuel tensions in the region, the Anadolu Agency (AA) reported Thursday, 15 May, that the Turkish Petroleum Company (TPAO) officially asked the Government of National Accord (GNA) in Libya for permission to drill in the eastern Mediterranean. The state-run news agency cited Erdogan’s Energy and Natural Resources Minister Fatih Donmez as saying that the exploration work will begin “as soon as the process is completed”.

GNA head Fayez Al-Sarraj signed a widely condemned maritime border agreement with Erdogan in November last year in order to create a Turkish maritime zone that improbably stretches from southern Anatolian shores to the coast of northeast Libya. CONTINUE READING HERE