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Erdogan bashes Israel, calls on Muslims to unite against the West

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Ankara claimed it is the “lone voice” standing up for Palestinians today.

SETH J. FRANTZMAN  

DECEMBER 9, 2019

In a speech to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan slammed Israel and called for Islamic unity among the “brothers and sisters” to confront the West and conspiracies against Islamic countries. Turkey’s ruler insinuated that Turkey was a victim of “terrorist attacks” because of its “principled stance” against “oppression in Jerusalem.”

Ankara claimed it is the “lone voice” standing up for Palestinians today. Turkey has warm relations with Hamas. The Hamas member Saleh Arouri arrived in Turkey on Sunday. He has been accused of involvement in kidnapping, murder and other forms of terrorism in 2014. Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas also came to Turkey with Arouri and Moussa Abu Marzouk and others as part of a large delegation. Ankara has asked NATO to condemn terrorism but hosts Hamas.

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Erdogan’s speech was a way for Ankara to cement itself as a global champion of Islamic causes. Recently Turkey has spoken out about Kashmir and Muslims in China and has also sought to rally countries around Jerusalem to oppose US President Donald Trump’s policies and Israel’s policies.
 

So far Turkey’s attempt to become a new global Islamic leader has not materialized. Turkey nevertheless tries to work with Malaysia, Pakistan and some other countries that are becoming more nationalist, far-right and conservative, seeking to create a front of political Islam, often linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, as part of a larger agenda. Turkey’s current ruling party sees itself as an economic model for other countries and seeks to expand its power in Syria, Iraq, and other countries, while working with Iran and Russia.

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Return of the Ottoman empire?

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But Wait...There's More......

Turkey: Jihadist Highway Revisited

Burak Bekdil
BESA Center Perspectives
December 6, 2019

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With the rise of Islamic State (ISIS) in large parts of Iraq and Syria in 2014, Turkey became known as a "jihadist highway" that transported Islamist fighters from across the globe to the Levant. A June 2014 report in Turkish daily Milliyet said there were also 3,000 Turkish fighters in ISIS's ranks. Five years later, Ankara is having a hard time convincing the world that it has broken off with the men with the bombs and Kalashnikovs.

Never mind that President Donald Trump is "a big fan" of Turkey's Islamist autocrat, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, whom Trump said is "a friend of his" and "a hell of a leader." The generous compliments after a November 13 White House meeting for a man viewed by the democratic world as a neo-Ottoman-sultan reflected the mindset of vintage Trump. "Anybody wants to come in. Dictators? It's OK. Come on in. Whatever's good for the United States," Trump said just a day before Erdoğan's state visit to Washington.

Shortly before his visit, Erdoğan wanted to be sure he looked good to his host and to the parts of the world that fight terrorism. On November 6, Turkey captured in northern Syria one of the wives of Abu Bakr Baghdadi, the slain leader of ISIS, in addition to several other family members. A week before that, on October 29, Turkish police detained 43 suspected ISIS terrorists allegedly preparing for a major attack on Turkish soil. This is all good, but it's not the whole picture.

In September, a US Treasury blacklist showed that Turkey has become a haven for terror financing schemes. According to the Washington Examiner, the survivors of a 2015 terrorist attack in the West Bank filed a lawsuit against a bank with ties to the Turkish government, accusing the lender of supporting the terrorist group Hamas. Court documents accuse the Turkey-based Kuveyt Bank of aiding and abetting Hamas by "knowingly providing it substantial assistance via financial services" channeled through both the US and international financial systems between 2012 and 2015. Kuveyt's primary shareholder is the General Directorate of Associations, an arm of the Turkish government.

Jonathan Schanzer, a former US Treasury official and current senior VP for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), told the Washington Examiner:

(Snip)

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