If there is a person in the world who takes advantage of every situation and finally increases his popularity it is Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan. However, his popularity doesn’t seem to be really helping the Turks or Muslims from different part of the world who really recognize Erdogan as Leader of the Muslim World.
Erdogan often used the “R4BIA” hand sign, the symbol of the massacre of pro-Morsi supporters in Rabia al-Adawiya Square on August 14, 2013. He encouraged and supported the Muslim Brothers against coup leaders but the rule of the fourth President of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi lasted very a very short time and he is in jail. Erdogan used to call Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad his brother, and he spent days on holiday together with both families. Now Syria is divided, and the world faces one of the biggest humanitarian crises in history. A Turkish journalist who won the Golden Pen of Freedom Award at the World News Media Congress in Durban last week explained how was he forced into exile, leaving his wife behind because of his exposing how the Turkish intelligence service was smuggling weapons to Syrian rebels.
Libya leader Muammar Gaddafi was the only leader in the World who supported Turkey’s Cyprus Operation by providing free petrol. The Libya leader welcomed Turkish construction companies’ decades ago, and now they have become the second largest in the world market, after China. But in the crises, Turkey fully supported opposition groups in Libya. Some sources say Gaddafi awaited help from Erdogan till the last minutes of his life. Now, a security gap in Libya threatens the whole of Africa. Mavi Marmara’s incident made Erdogan so popular in the Arab world. Erdogan said to the victims of Mavi Marmara’s people: “Did you ask me when you were sailing to Gaza?” Finally Israel paid $20 million in compensation to the families of the Mavi Marmara victims who were staunch supporters of Erdogan. However, the aid organization IHH said that this amount was not given to families.
We face an extraordinary time now. The USA and Saudi, Egypt, UAE and Bahrain isolated Qatar, the country its citizens rank the World’s richest, per capita. The Arab nations have always been sharpening swords for each other throughout history. This time, however, America’s most unusual leader Donald Trump has joined this “ceremony of swords”. As Middle East politics is so complex as three Abrahamic religion were born in the region, let’s expose here, why Erdogan signed the law allowing military deployment to Qatar at midnight at his palace, without waiting for the parliament’s approval the following morning.
While the main opposition party CHP always questions the ruling AKP, asking how Greece invaded 19 Aegean Islands, the AKP is planning to protect Qatar. Erdogan has been isolated by the great powers. Despite all his efforts, USA and Russia are arming the Kurdish PKK-PYD-YPG in Northern Syria and carrying on the Raqqa operation without Turkey. The PKK kills Turkish soldiers daily. Saudi King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz and Egypt’s leader Sisi planned the Qatar operation with Trump without Erdogan. Plus, Qatar seeks Kuwaiti mediation. Qatar Emir Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani didn’t join Erdogan’s Iftar. Turkey’s famous writer Hasan Cemal asks the question in his newspaper column, “Why is Erdogan in such a hurry for Qatar?
Turkey’s one-sided love of Qatar is more about economics. With 18.5 billion, Qatar is the seventh biggest investor in Turkey. In recent years, The Qatar National Bank paid 2.75 billion Euros to buy Turkish Finansbank. The AKP government took over Dijiturk in 2013 and Qatar’s beIN Media Group paid 1.2 billion Dollars for the company, which is the leading pay-tv operator in Turkey with approximately 3.3 million subscribers. ABank, the agriculture giant Banvit, the Textile company Boyner Group, the construction firm Ankas, the famous automotive brand BMC, and the finance company Ergo are some of the names seemingly bought by Qatar firms. But are all these companies really acquired using Qatar money? Plenty of foreign and local media have been covering the story of how Turkey overflowed with unidentified foreign currency, as the country received 9.66 billion in 2015 and 11 billion Dollars in 2016; six times more compared with 2014. Erdogan carried corruption money abroad and injected it back into the market.
Few years ago, Erdogan was screaming to the crowd: “Tahrir, Ramallah, Amman, Damascus, Bagdad are inspired from us’’, but now Turkey become a carriage in Qatar train. If this small country collapses, and hot money does not reach Turkey, Erdogan cannot feed the circle anymore. The Judiciary and the bureaucracy might not receive any orders from him. It seems military relations between Qatar and Turkey will shadow economic relations in the coming days. The Turkish Parliament on Wednesday approved legislation allowing its troops to be deployed to a military base in Qatar. The bill passed in Parliament with 240 votes in favour; largely with support from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). The MHP leader Devlet Bahceli supported the move of sending troops to one’s Ottoman’s land Qatar. The Main Opposition Republican Public Party opposed to the cooperation between Qatar and Turkey will primarily involve modernization of Qatar’s military as well as expanding cooperation in training and war exercises. The CHP Deputy Chairman Bülent Tezcan warned the AKP by saying that Turkey had made serious diplomatic mistakes when the Syrian civil war broke out in 2011 and was now paying the price. He said Turkey must maintain a neutral stance in such a diplomatic crisis in its neighbouring region.
Erdogan’s call for Middle East countries to make peace with Qatar is very meaningful. But at the same time, Erdogan’s rule systematically detains women who just gave birth in Turkey. One day old babies go to prison with their mothers, on terror charges. Since the July 15 Coup, the AKP sacked 140 thousand people, and jailed 45 thousand people from several government posts without charges while the Coup Commission never questioned the Army and the Intelligence Chief. While Turkey jails housewives, professors and teachers, the Turkish Al-Qaeda leader Halis Bayancuk, also known as Abu Hanzala, who has been freely preaching every Sunday morning for months and whose radical sermons were being broadcast live on YouTube. Bayuncuk has been raising militants in Turkey and abroad, not only for al-Qaeda but also for the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
Can Turkey really protect Qatar? After the 15 July Coup, the Turkish army dispersed and couldn’t gain any victory in Syria; hundreds of soldiers died there. But Erdogan has long been strengthening the Turkish Intelligence Service (MIT), by providing large amounts of budget. Erdogan’s long hand reached out to Malaysia and Myanmar as these countries handed-over Turkish teachers unlawfully. Turkey became a key player in Somalia. As Turkey extends its influence abroad, its name involves some controversial moves. Nigerian customs seized a container with 440 guns imported from Turkey. German intelligence informed that a Manchester bomber flew from Turkey before the attack. Terrorists who attacked in Stockholm and St. Petersburg were deported By Turkey.
Erdogan, who has sided with Qatar against Saudi Arabia in supporting the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, tirelessly works to solve the Qatar crises. Turkish media reported that on the 15 July coup day, 150 Qatari soldiers protected Erdogan. Since last year, the Emir of Qatar used to visit Turkey almost every month and very few details are given to the media. The coming months will expose what relationship Erdogan has with Qatar especially on Syria.