Erdoğan’s ideals pose danger to region, prominent Saudi journalist says

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s neo-Ottoman ideology poses a threat to the entire region and is evidenced in his involvement from Syria to Libya, Saudi journalist Tariq Al-Homayed wrote in the Saudi Gazette.

Turkey’s strongman has posed himself as a defender of the Muslim Brotherhood since the Arab Spring, Al-Homayed said, but unlike the traditional approach of the Islamist organisation, which dismisses the concept of the state, Erdoğan stands behind the idea of a single country modelled after the Ottoman Empire.

Since 2015, Turkey has launched four major military operations in war-torn Syria alongside allied Syrian rebel groups and Islamist militias.

In Libya, Ankara over the last year has increased its military support for the U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord, which has been fighting a 14-month offensive by the Libyan National Army (LNA) to seize capital Tripoli. The LNA is backed by Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt.

Erdoğan sees Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt as his main opponents as the countries are the last strongholds of the concept of the Arab state, which have neither been penetrated by either occupation or Iranian influence nor under an Israeli threat, Al-Homayed wrote.

The Saudi journalist said that Erdoğan has always backed Brotherhood elements in the region, pointing to his support of Sudan’s ousted President Omar al-Bashir, who is facing charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

“Erdogan wears the cloak of the Brotherhood because it gives him a political cover to interfere in the Arab countries,” Al-Homayed said. 

The threat posed by Erdoğan’s ideology should not be treated lightly, he said, as the next ruler of Turkey is likely create further trouble in the Arab world, which is “already divided into Iranian, Turkish and Israeli centres of influence.’’