Erdogan’s Three Gifts

In the Jewish literary tradition, there is a famous story by I.L. Peretz called “Three Gifts”. This story is about a soul that has not yet reached its resting place in heaven, and is commanded to bring three gifts to Jewish communities which are suffering from anti-Semitism and pogroms. Recently, we have experienced the giving of three gifts by the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to the West. However, these “gifts” are in fact threats to the values of the free world.

Following the First World War, when the superpowers established a dialogue with the new leader of Turkey, Kamel Ataturk, he gave a gift to the West: the movement to securlarize Turkey and integrate it into the Western system. The newly secular Turkey was no longer viewed as a threat to Europe or to the Middle East, but sought to be part of a world aimed at integration, commerce, and the advancement of Western values.

Since the ascension of Erdogan to the leadership of Turkey, first as Prime Minister and then as President, this gift granted by Ataturk has been rescinded, as Turkey has transformed into the embodiment of Political Islam, as Turkish society has drastically changed and has begun operating according to religious social codes. The changes that Ataturk initiated, such as changing the day of rest from Friday to Sunday, have been reversed. This move towards religious has not only affected the social setting in Turkey, but also the Turkish Diaspora. Today, the Turkish Diaspora takes on the role of a religious-national minority in its host states in the West, which serve as outlets for political Islam, the first of three gifts that Erdogan has granted the West.

The second “gift” that Erdogan granted to the West was the broad support he granted to the Muslim Brotherhood during the “Arab Spring”, shaking of the political foundations in various states in the region, positioning himself as the new regional leader of political Islam, who wants to re-establish a new version of the Ottoman empire under his leadership, in order to determine the global agenda.

The third “gift” that Erdogan granted to Eruope was his betrayal of his longstanding economic and political partner, Muammar Qaddafi, as he encouraged NATO to depose of him. Previously, Erdogan took a central role in the economic development of Libya, as significant Turkish funding was invested in Libya. Despite their previous cooperation, Erdogan led NATO to attack Libya, which led to various field trials and inevitably, the violent lynch of Col. Qaddafi. Libya has descended into a sea of lawless chaos, and the dam between North Africa and Europe has been broken, as thousands of illegal migrants are migrating via the island of Lapadoza and flooding Europe. Following NATO’s attack on Libya, the security mechanisms meant to limit illegal migration to Europe broke down, likely Erdogan’s intention all along.

These three gifts are Erdogan’s contribution to the world, a vindictive response to the EU for not accepting Turkey as a member state. Following Erdogan’s gifts, Europe faces catastrophe, as the illegal migration is threatening its humanity and social structure. Erdogan’s gifts were carefully planned and delivered. They serve as Ergodan’s attempt to follow the footsteps of Nasser, as he has translated Pan-Arabism to Pan-Islam, which he attempts to advance throughout the West.

Erdogan is great threat both to the West and to all Turks who desire a modern, secular state. The Turkey of yesterday is not the Turkey of today. In fact, today’s Turkey is inching closer in power and mentality to the Ottoman Turkey of the past which threatened the entire world.

About the Author
Dr David Altman is senior vice-president at the Netanya Academic College and vice-chair of the college's Strategic Dialogue Center
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