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"Solve the destiny of mankind." Does Turkey want to revive the Ottoman Empire?

July 2 2018 LJ cover –
Tags: Turkey, Erdogan, Politics, Middle East, Analytics

After the presidential elections in Turkey, the ruling party press announced: "A new era is beginning, we will determine the future of mankind!" Ankara was also criticized earlier for attempts to strengthen its influence on the territory of the former Ottoman Empire. Turkish politicians in response reasonably pointed out that they have to respond to external challenges. How strong are the imperial mood in the country - in the material of RIA Novosti.

"This is an election, not a war!"

Yilmaz is an engineer-biotechnologist from Istanbul. He prefers not to talk about how his family voted in the presidential election. But his political preferences are easy to determine. "In the neighborhood there are many such ... well, let's say, religious." Immediately after the voting, many people poured into the street and started shooting in the air, celebrating the victory, but these are only elections, not war! " He reasoned emotionally. The comparison of voting with the war is indicative: the Turkish society is split.

Indeed, the presidential and parliamentary elections of June 24 were held almost in military conditions - under the current emergency regime. Despite all the opposition's activity, even according to preliminary results it was clear: Recep Tayyip Erdogan won in the first round. He has about 53 percent of the vote. The ruling party of justice and development has a majority of 43 percent, the opposition Republican People's Party is almost half that. Now, in accordance with the amendments to the Constitution, in the hands of Erdogan concentrated almost sole authority. No wonder he was called super-sultan.

People near the headquarters of the Justice and Development Party during the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey. 24 June 2018
People near the headquarters of the Justice and Development Party during the presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey. 24 June 2018

Surrounded by enemies

A kind of comment on the outcome of the vote was the diplomatic scandal that erupted immediately after the elections. The Council of the European Union said that Turkey is moving away from them, and negotiations on Ankara's accession to the EU "have practically reached a dead end." Europe also expressed concern about the "rule of law" situation in Turkey. Ankara responded traditionally sharply: accused the EU of unfair and dishonest attitude towards Turkey, and at the same time in hypocrisy.

If the EU does not accept Ankara, then in another club of Western countries, NATO, Turkey is from 1952 year. But this status "should be conditionally suspended for an indefinite period," suggested Congressman, Republican Ted Po in the edition of the National Interest recently. In his opinion, Erdogan, who won the election, is not an adherent of democracy. "On the contrary, he is an Islamist, a supporter of the restoration of the Ottoman Empire and positions himself as a new sultan," the congressman is sure. He reproached Ankara for the desire to share Syria, and for the fact that the Turkish military is aggressive with its neighbors - Greece and Cyprus.

The rebuff of the American Republican surprised no one. Mutual dissatisfaction between the alliance and Ankara has been growing for a long time. Thus, in 2017, Turkey vetoed NATO and Vienna partner programs.

It was, incidentally, a typical case when Erdogan mixed questions of domestic and foreign policy. The conflict began with the fact that the Austrian authorities banned Ankara representatives from agitating among the Turkish communities in the country. There followed a mutual diplomatic "squabble". Under the same scheme, Erdogan "improved" bilateral relations with Germany and the Netherlands. The Kingdom even refused to let the plane with the head of the Turkish Foreign Ministry on board.

In addition, Turkey withdrew its military from NATO exercises in Norway. According to Ankara, during the maneuvers Erdogan and even the founder of the Turkish Republic Kemal Ataturk were called "enemies" and described as potential "goals".

In addition, the alliance supports the Syrian Kurds, which is extremely annoying for Ankara. It came to the point that the MP from the Justice and Development Party declared NATO "a terrorist organization that took part in operations against Turkey."

Erdoğan's Mission

After the presidential election, the newspaper Yeni Safak ("New Dawn"), the combat leaflet of the Justice and Development Party, explained to the readers that under Erdogan's leadership Turkey was once again "a country of history, a new era." "One of those that spread claims, power and ideological attitudes from Africa to the center of Asia, from the Balkans to the Far East," the author of the material declared.

And he predicted that soon the world order would change: "Tomorrow, some countries will be thrown out to the dustbin of history, and others, today called" developing ", will illuminate the world and determine the common destiny of mankind." And one more prediction: the "third great rise in our political history" begins.

Another article by the same Yeni Safak says: "With the victory in the election, the political missionary work of Erdogan also grows." Turkey's return to the status of a great power, according to the authors of the newspaper, confirms two invasions to Syria, the occupation of the border area from Afrna to the Euphrates, air strikes in Iraq by Kurdish militants.

Turkish military in Africa, Syria
Turkish military in Africa, Syria

Not ideology, but pragmatism

In the past few years, Ankara's foreign policy has been defined "not by ideology, but by pragmatism based on security considerations, especially with regard to Syria," says Kursad Turan from Gazi University in an interview with RIA Novosti.

"Turkey really tried to pursue a policy of neo-Ottomanism from 2009, when Ahmet Davutoglu became Foreign Minister, but it somehow ended after he was replaced in 2016 by Prime Minister Binali Yildirim. Today, Turkish foreign policy is formed taking into account threats to security , coming from the Middle East, and is more defensive in nature, "explains Turan.

Davutoglu, heading the government and the Turkish Foreign Ministry, negatively treated the use of the term "neo-Ottomanism". But even before coming to high posts, being a university professor, he published a paper on the need to reduce dependence on the West and return influence on the "post-Soviet" space. The departure from the post of Prime Minister Davutoglu commented succinctly: "No one will hear a single bad word about Recep Tayyip Erdogan." Observers in Turkey and abroad expressed the opinion that Erdogan and the founder of the new foreign policy of Ankara dispersed because of internal political contradictions. Davutoglu did not consider it necessary to hurry with the transformation of the country from parliamentary to presidential.

Ahmet Davutoglu
Ahmet Davutoglu

However, Dr. Turan believes that the resignation of Erdogan's associate was facilitated by the failure of his foreign policy course. "As the" Arab spring "developed, it became obvious that the Middle Eastern countries perceive Turkey not as it perceives itself," the expert formulates in a streamlined manner. Perhaps the monarchies of the Gulf countries have taken a mixed interest in Turkey's attempts to appoint itself as the leader of the Islamic world.

Yilmaz from Istanbul conducts the same parallels as the expert on international relations from the University of Gazi. "For all 15 years, the Justice and Development Party has been telling us:" We are for the disadvantaged "and is building its strategy on public discontent, and it is benefiting from it." In the United States lately, the less educated are ready to take revenge on everyone around. "No, I do not idealize the United States and other Western countries.They act only in ways that are beneficial to themselves: they organize coups, shift politicians, kill disliked people.Our politicians say - we oppose it, "the Istanbul resident tries to solve the paradox.

Oleg Kim
RIA News
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