ANALYSIS: Turkey’s Meddling Threatens Middle East Peace

Turkish leader has vision of new Islamic empire, starting with Jerusalem

By Yochanan Visser | | Topics: Turkey
Turkey's Erdogan has imperialistic designs, starting with Jerusalem.
Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/FLASH90

Turkish strongman Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not giving up on his dream to establish a new ‘Ottoman Empire’ in the Middle East despite a huge economic crisis in the Muslim country.

The plan includes increasing Turkey’s influence over the Arab population of Jerusalem and turn Arabs there into Islamists, while Turkey also tries to infiltrate the Waqf, the Islamic trust that controls daily affairs on the Temple Mount and in the Al-Aqsa Mosque.

This week the Erdogan regime opened a new Islamic center near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. The center had been renovated by TIKA, a Turkish government aid organization that runs several Islamic projects in Arab Jerusalem.

The Islamic center by the name of Khan Abu Khadija will host Arabs with existing ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and who regard the Erdogan regime favorably.

Khan Abu Khadiija is promoting the Ottoman Empire by airing a film about Ottoman Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who committed the genocide on the Armenian people at the beginning of the last century.

The Islamic center also screens clips of Erdogan’s speeches in which he refers to Jerusalem as “occupied territory,” and has ties to the now-outlawed Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement and its leaders Sheikh Raed Salah and Kamal Khatib.

According to Middle East expert Mordechai Kedar, Khan Abu Khadiija is nothing less than “another foothold of revolutionary Islam” in the center of Jerusalem.

“This is how they buy the public with a big hug from Turkey – through business, tourism, and money,” Kedar toldIsrael Hayom.

Erdogan’s latest hostile move against Israel is now causing reconciliation between Israel and Saudi Arabia, as well as between Jordan and the oil-rich Kingdom.

Israel is reportedly talking to the Saudis over partial participation in the Waqf, while Jordan is also reconcilingwith Saudi Arabia after having the same concerns about Erdogan’s imperialistic moves.

“These are sensitive and secret discussions conducted with ambiguity and low intensity with a small team of diplomats and senior security officials from Israel, the US, and Saudi Arabia as part of negotiations to progress the Deal of the Century,” according to unnamed Saudi officials who made clear that the negotiations are part of the new American approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Jordanians don’t approve the attempt by the Palestinian Authority to allow Turkey to expand its influence over the Temple Mount and Arab Jerusalem, and are now ready to put aside an old conflict that led to the expulsion of the Hashemite family – of which current Jordanian King Abdullah II is a member – from Saudi Arabia.

The Hashemite family descended from the Prophet Mohammed and used to control the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina until the al-Saud family ascended to power in what is now Saudi Arabia.

Apparently, Jordan is afraid that Erdogan’s meddling in Jerusalem will end in a complete take-over of the Waqf and the Al-Aqsa Mosque, and decided to change its position on Saudi involvement in the Muslim trustee.

King Abdullah II is, furthermore, coping with a huge economic crisis in Jordan and needs Saudi Arabia’s wealth to stave off internal unrest and growing opposition to his regime.

From its side, the House of Saud fears Erdogan’s ambitions and has changed its approach to Israel under the influence of a growing relationship with the American government of President Donald J. Trump.

It won’t stop the attempts by the Turkish dictator to increase Turkey’s influence over Middle Eastern countries, however.

Turkey is currently trying to consolidate its control over northwestern Syria, and risks a new confrontation with the army of dictator Bashar al-Assad after Erdogan ordered heavy weapons to be transferred to the northern Syrian Idlib Province this week.

The Turkish leader is also upping his involvement in the Libyan civil war and uses Syrian mercenaries to battle opposition forces who were besieging the Libyan capital Tripoli.

Erdogan is also providing weapons and drones to the Libyan National Accord Government, and Turkish military personnel is overseeing battles in Libya while using brutal force against the Russian-backed opposition forces of General Khalifa Belqasim Haftar.

On the other side of the Mediterranean Sea, Erdogan is making provocative moves against Cyprus and Greece by drilling for oil and gas in parts of the sea that nobody recognizes as part of Turkey’s territorial waters.

This, despite warnings by the European Union and an unusual Egyptian move that shows Cairo is extremely worried about the Turkish dictator’s aspirations.

The government of President Abdel Fateh al-Sisi succeeded in cobbling together an international coalition that is supposed to prevent further provocative Turkish moves in the Mediterranean Sea.

The anti-Turkey coalition consists of Egypt, France, Greece, Cyprus, and the United Arab Emirates, but you could add Israel also to the list since it has the same concerns over Erdogan’s illegal moves in the Mediterranean Sea and the other imperialistic Turkish moves.

Pundits in Israel recently thought reconciliation between Israel and Turkey was on the horizon after ten years of tensions that began when the Israeli Navy stopped the Turkish vessel Mavi Marmara that wanted to break the sea blockade of Gaza, killing nine Turkish Islamist activists.

The idea of reconciliation between Turkey and Israel originated from news that the Israeli carrier El Al made a cargo flight to Turkey for the first time in ten years.

Erdogan, however, put an end to these speculations when he blasted Israel again over its intention to apply Israeli law in the Jordan Valley.

During an address to American Muslims, Erdogan said the intended Israeli move was a new “occupation and annexation project, which disregards Palestine’s sovereignty and international law,” and vowed “not to allow the Palestinian lands to be offered to anyone else.”

The Turkish tyrant then warned Israel not to cross red lines in issues regarding Jerusalem. The city is “a red line for all Muslims worldwide,” according to Erdogan.


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