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A True Believer
I have a Turkish Mauser, made in 1890. It was made in Berlin, for the Ottoman Turks. I often wonder if it was used in Palestine during World War 1, in the climactic battles for the region that led to Allenby walking through Jaffa Gate in December, 1917.
That defeat of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire is still raw for certain Muslims, chief among them the belligerent Turkish President Erdogan. He detests Israel and the U.S., and this week made noise about his territorial aims regarding Israel’s capital city.
From the Jerusalem Post:
“Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan opened the Turkish parliament’s legislative session on Thursday with a long speech that addressed the city of Jerusalem and the Palestinian people and stated: ‘Jerusalem is our city.’”
“Erdoğan referred to the Ottoman Empire’s rule over Jerusalem, which lasted four centuries (1517-1917), to justify his claim.
“’In this city that we had to leave in tears during the First World War, it is still possible to come across traces of the Ottoman resistance. So Jerusalem is our city, a city from us,’ Erdoğan said.”
These ancient feuds will not be resolved, of course, until the Prince of Peace returns. For now, Erdogan’s saber-rattling comes at the same time Gulf States are making peace with the Jewish state. Whether it’s from pragmatism or practicality, or even tactical, those Arab states have put the Palestinians on the shelf. The PLO is huffing and puffing, but finds itself with few friends.
That’s where the Turks come in.
Erdogan also said something else very, very interesting:
“With this understanding, we will follow both the Palestinian cause, which is the bleeding wound of the global conscience, and the Jerusalem case to the end,” Erdoğan concluded.
Bleeding wound of the global conscience?
Before we dismiss his mediocre hyperbole, let’s consider that the Palestinian question is far from over. We know that historical battles wax and wane, and while at this second, the Palestinians find themselves sidelined geopolitically, we understand too that this can change overnight. It happens all the time in the Middle East.
We all feel we can take a breath when we have these respites from evil, from the “diplomacy” that threatens Israel. These days are infinitely better than 20 years ago, or 10 years ago, for sure.
But just because Israel is riding the headwinds of deals with Arab states, and the US is now a strong ally, things can change overnight.
Erdogan has also placed himself in the middle of a local conflict. From the New York Times:
“His mission was not to calm tensions between the warring parties, Azerbaijan and Armenia. Instead, he declared all-out support for the Azerbaijanis, close Turkic allies, and accused Armenia of ignoring efforts to negotiate a resolution. He also demanded that Armenia withdraw from lands it occupied 30 years ago.
“’I condemn Armenia once again for attacking Azerbaijani lands,’ he said. ‘Turkey continues to stand with the friendly and brotherly Azerbaijan with all its facilities and heart.’”
Remember, too, Erdogan loathes the Armenians. His temper flares whenever anyone in the West demands that Turkey take responsibility for the Armenian Massacre of 100 years ago. Turkey will never do that under Erdogan.
Erdogan is only 66. His belligerency will no doubt continue. In the meantime, watch for his continued entanglements within Turkey’s reach. In the end, he’s just another tinpot Muslim dictator wishing to be seen as the new Suleiman or Saladin.