Turkey less reliable for the West, still influenced by Muslim Brotherhood - scholar

Turkey’s foreign policy continues to become less Western-oriented, while its ideological leanings continue to resemble Muslim Brotherhood’s extremism, scholar Mordechai Kedar of the Bar-Ilan University wrote for Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“It is becoming undeniably harder for (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan) to hide behind his NATO membership as he draws a foreign policy that has inevitably become less Western-oriented and more EU- and US-hostile,” Kedar said.

Turkey becoming a less reliable security partner for the West will have consequences on its relations and foreign policy, he added.

Turkey’s choices include some who fight against the West, the scholar said, and it may be speculated that its abandoning of its support for ISIS happened “primarily because of the pressure exerted on it by Russia, the US and Europe, instead of an outright rejection of the ideology.”

“To this day, Turkey is seen to be under the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood doctrine,” he said.

Turkey allowed ISIS volunteers to cross its borders freely to reach the so-called caliphate in 2014, when the group was first emerging, the scholar said, and ISIS made millions in illicit oil sales to Turkey. “It seems pertinent to mention that Erdogan’s family was also involved in the oil business with ISIS,” he said.

Several Turkish provinces became ISIS hotspots, like Hatay, while ISIS members were able to launch attacks on their opponents from Turkish soil as a tactical advantage, within the knowledge of Turkish officials. Turkey’s intelligence service was accused of having provided ISIS with weapons. An ISIS commander told Washington Post in 2014 that their equipment and recruits both came from Turkey.

“Erdogan has neglected to launch counterterror operations to disrupt ISIS’s networks or recruitment activities, since its inception,” Kedar said.