Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, always strives to transfer his internal crises by distracting Turkish public opinion with fabricated issues abroad.Erdogan has become an expert in this field, especially, when the matter is religious and linked to Islam and Muslims. The reason is that religious matters are easy to be utilised and employed in serving Erdogan’s agendas inside and outside Turkey.
What is going on in France since October 2, so far, is a great opportunity for Erdogan to recruit it for his own religious and nationalist populist purposes inside and outside Turkey. It is of note that, there are no attacks against Islam and Muslims in France as Erdogan and his allies have alleged. On the contrary, there are terrorist attacks, from time to time, by some Islamic extremists against innocent French civilians. Muslims in France practice their worship and rites freely, which is guaranteed by the Constitution and the law.It is rather,a constitutional and lawful campaign by the French government against Islamic radicals supported by Turkey and Qatar.
On October 2, the French President set out a plan to combat “Islamist separatism” which has sought to create “a parallel order” in France. He stated that “Islam is a religion which is experiencing a crisis today, all over the world”. Macron, also, indicatedthat there is a kind of conflict and disagreement insideIslam itself between fundamentalism and proper religious projects. This was a candid gesture that Macron did not include whole Islam and all Muslims within the circle of radicalism.
However, what really triggered Erdogan’s outrage and the rest of political Islam groups was when the French President said “There was a need to free Islam in France from foreign influences” referring implicitly to Turkey and Qatar. The President went further when he pledged to draw new strategies to finish a system that permits imams to train and educate abroad. He stressed that homes-schooling must be reduced, and religious funding must be controlled. He added that all religious associations must sign a contract that respects “the values of the French republic” in order to receive support.
Afterwards, Erdogan deliberately and selectively began to choose very carefully some of Macron’s words and sentences separating them from their original context and accusing Macron of being hostile towards Islam. Another direct reason behind Erdogan’sstinging attackon Macron in vulgar and non-diplomatic language was when the French authorities closed recently some mosques and religious institutions funded by Turkey and Qatar.
For Erdogan, there are many other reasons to hate and attack Macron and France. France is, almost, the only European country that always stands against Turkey’s expansionist plans in more than one place, Syria, Libya,the Eastern Mediterranean, Iraqi Kurdistan, Nagorno-Karabakh and elsewhere.
Historically, there was a constant tension between Turkish successive governments including the current one, and who were ruling in the Elysée Palace over Kurdish issue in the Middle East. This tension between Ankara and Paris over the Kurds escalated during Macron’s presidency. The reason is due to his advanced stance on the Kurdish issue in Syria during theSyrianprotracted crisis, compared to the attitudes of other European countries.
What encourages Erdogan to go further into his antagonistic policies towards France and EU is the lack of consensus among EU members to adopt a unified strategy against Erdogan’s destabilising policies in the Middle East, North Africa and Europe.Likewise, Erdogan benefits from the disagreements between U.S and EU on the one hand, and from the disputes between Russia and EU, on the other hand.In this context, Erdogan sometimes turns into a pawn in the hands of America and Russia to annoy each otheras well as to infuriate Europe, in return for some gains.
Erdogan, also, derives his strength from the large Turkish communities in Europe, especially in Germany and France. These communitieshave become a loose social incubator for the Turkish and Qatari intelligence agendas to reinforce political Islam groups in Europe, principally, the Muslim Brotherhood.
The new Sultan has become a dangerous phenomenon, not only against France, but also against the entire Europe. The danger derives from his exploitation of Islam and political Islam groups in serving his nationalist and populist agendas to transform Turkey into a great power, not only at the regional level, but at the global level too. He attempts to depict to Sunni Muslims all over the world that there is a conflict between the West and the Muslim world, and it is primarily a religious
contention. Therefore, he has become an important influencer and inspirer to many Sunni Muslims in the world. EU is in the eye of the storm and it is almost the only region that has paid, so far, a very costly invoice due to Erdogan’s adventures.
There arenot any attacks on Islam, neither in France nor in Europe. Rather, there are attacks against France and EU by political Islam groups who are backed by Turkey and Qatar. In other words, there is a new kind of war against France and EU by Turkey. Simply, it is a new type of proxy war waged by Erdogan’ Turkeyfor regional and international influence and hegemony.
The new Ottoman Sultan cannot confront Europe directly, neither militarily nor economically. Hence, he has nothing left but to harass Europe on its security domestic front through his arms spreading throughout Europe. If the jeopardy spreads more than it is currently, France will not be the only victim, but rather all EU. That is why EU and Britain are required to stand firmly with France against political Islam groups in Europe, especially the Muslim Brotherhood. Similarly, to deter their financiers and masters in Ankara and Doha.
by: Jwan Dibo