An Islamic Republic of Turkey would be a threat to NATO
I remember an enjoyable evening several years ago in Tel Aviv with former Turkish foreign minister Yasar Yakis and one of the 70 or so founding members of the AKP, President Recep Erdogan’s ruling party.
Yakis, who has had a long and distinguished political career in Turkish diplomacy, described how the AKP was formed, handpicking the founders, only a small percentage of whom were observant Muslims, let alone Islamist extremists. (The AKP become the Muslim Brotherhood’s flagship ruling party.) Eight years later, Yakis would openly criticize Erdogan’s interventions in Syria and Libya which, for all intents and purposes, are shoring up extremist Islamist forces.
Earlier this year, Yakis spoke about the Turkish intervention in the Mediterranean. Addressing the European Parliament, he drew parallels between Ankara’s intervention in the Eastern Mediterranean, specifically gas exploration off the coast of Cyprus, and its military intervention in Libya. Yakis described the Libyan government as being “controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood and militias linked to terrorist organizations.”
Less than four months later, a Libyan asylum-seeker in the UK killed three innocent men in the English town of Reading. It just so happens that all the victims were gay. It also happens – as the Washington-based media monitoring think tank MEMRI reported – that an Istanbul-based Muslim Brotherhood television channel called for the murder of homosexuals.
There is no evidence showing a link between the Turkish TV channel and the Reading terrorist, but this demonstrates what sort of a country Turkey has become under Erdogan. Turkey has moved from being the secular, enlightened NATO member to being the Islamic Republic of Turkey. It is the Sunni equivalent of Iran, with identical expansionist ambitions.
Erdogan has learned from both the mistakes of other Islamists in Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. While founding the AKP, he also learned from the mistakes of its predecessor, the Virtue Party, which was dissolved by Turkey’s Constitutional Court due to its violation of the secular constitution of Turkey.
ERDOGAN CHOSE non-Islamist founding members like Yakis and others and gradually spread the Islamist tentacles in sectors of the Turkish states. He effectively neutralized the Turkish state and ultimately, via the AKP, made it a vehicle for the global Muslim Brotherhood movement, which has now subsumed the ruling party of Turkey.
The expansionist Turkish policies in Libya are an implementation of the global blueprint of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, namely, to establish a pan-national Islamist caliphate.
Erdogan used the traditional relations the secular Turkish state had with the West, especially with NATO, to legitimate his expansionist moves in the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe. While Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionaries stormed the American Embassy in Tehran on November 4, 1979, Erdogan very patiently waited, making his interests seem almost aligned with those of NATO.
His intervention in Libya is a major step in which his interests and those of the West irreconcilably diverge. France has already spoken out unequivocally against Turkey’s moves in Libya, and other key states in the Mediterranean – including Greece, Egypt, Israel and Cyprus – are uneasy about it. It is now shaping up to be a battle between two forces: an expansionist Islamist movement with cells all over the world, including Europe, and nation-states.
The Turkish takeover of Libya will pose a major threat to Europe on long-term economic and security fronts. Turkey is reportedly transporting Syrian fighters to Libya, and Yakis has warned that Turkey’s intervention in Libya would create a “new Syria.”
Erdogan previously threatened to “flood” Europe with refugees. By turning Libya into a “new Syria,” the Turkish president can carry out his threat not only from Europe’s eastern borders, but across the Mediterranean into France, Italy and Spain, and onto the United Kingdom and the rest of Western Europe.
The gradual Islamization of Turkey now poses a direct threat to the West as a whole, as well as to the moderate states of the Middle East. The West, led by NATO, needs to adopt a united stance against Turkey, which no longer is the secular, pro-Western state that Erdogan inherited. Turkey under Erdogan is the wolf, and most of Europe is still acting like Little Red Riding Hood.
The writer chairs Muslims against Antisemitism, and is the founder of Cornerstone Global Associates. Twitter@gnuseibeh.
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