Erdogan-Turkey: Communications policy exposes serious domestic weaknesses

A four-minute video released by Turkey’s Presidential Communications Directorate has raised concerns that the country “poses a threat to the Western world comparable to Iran,” Louis Fishman, an assistant professor at Brooklyn College, wrote for Haaretz on Monday.

The video showcases a stark militarism and Muslim ritual, framing Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as the heir of Ottoman glory, Fishman said, leading to comparisons with North Korea.

Erdoğan, as understood from the video, envisions the New Turkey as “a state uniformly obedient to a historical narrative of Turkic heroes and a defiant Islam, leaving no room for any diversity within Turkish society,” he said.

Turkey’s message with the video is that as a new world power, its reach will end “wherever it chooses,” Fishman wrote.

The Turkish president’s neo-Ottoman emphasis exemplified in his speech announcing the re-conversion of the Hagia Sophia came amid high tensions between Turkey and Greece over territorial claims in the Eastern Mediterranean – an issue that has only intensified in the time since.

A similar narrative put its mark on Turkey’s recent discovery of natural gas in the Black Sea as well, not the least with Turkey’s hydrocarbon exploration vessels being named after Ottoman sultans Mehmet the Conqueror and Süleyman the Magnificent.

In his speech announcing the discovery, Erdoğan condemned the United States for “only caring about the oil in Syria,” contrasting it with Turkey’s approach in Libya, which the president said was the country “going to where the oppressed and the victims are,” to help “our brothers.”

The discovery was lauded, albeit more cautiously by some, but did little to alleviate tensions in the Mediterranean. Despite pressure and possible sanctions from the European Union, Turkey continues its activity in what is internationally recognised as Greek and Cypriot territorial waters. READ MORE HERE