As I noted on this blog on Tuesday, whoever emerges as the next American President will inherit enormous challenges in the Middle East.
The Iran and ISIS threats are certainly chief among them. But there are more.
Keep your eyes on Turkey, for example — it’s rapidly emerging as anti-American, anti-Western, anti-Israel Islamist dictatorship.
After the fall of the Ottoman Empire in World War I, the predominately Muslim Turkey emerged as a moderate, peaceful, even friendly democracy. Indeed, as I wrote about in my 2009 non-fiction book, Inside The Revolution, in many ways Turkey emerged in the mid- to late-20th century as a model for the “Reformers,” those Muslims eager to show the world they were not violent extremists but eager to build a modern, safe country characterized by economic growth and even pluralism.
Turkey was welcomed into NATO. It became a faithfully ally of the U.S. and the West against the Evil Empire of the Soviet Union. It became a beautiful tourist destination for millions of Europeans, and even tens of thousands of Israelis.
But all that began changing when Recep Tayyip Erdogan emerged as Turkey’s President in August of 2014, after serving 13 years as the Turkish Prime Minister.
Erdogan (pronounced “Air-do-wan”) is no Reformer. He’s an Islamic Radical. Driven perhaps by visions of restoring Turkey to the power and glory of the Ottoman Empire at its peak, Erdogan is aggressively fashioning himself into a brutal dictator. He’s cracking down on Internet freedom. He’s seizing churches. He’s seizing media outlets that speak out against him. He’s using the crisis in Syria not to go after ISIS — as he claims — but to bomb the Kurds who are at war with ISIS.
What’s more, after drawing Turkey close to Russia and Iran, he has now run afoul of Russia’s own rising Czar, Vladimir Putin. The Kremlin leader is apparently furious at Ergdogan for meddling in Syria, a key Russian client state.
Last August, President Putin reportedly told Turkey’s Ambassador to Moscow to “tell your dictator President he can go to hell” and “I shall make Syria to nothing but a ‘Big Stalingrad.” This, as the Russians have made a military alliance with neighboring Armenia and are reportedly building up military forces near Turkey.
Consider, too, the following headlines:
- Erdogan’s March to Dictatorship in Turkey (New Yorker)
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan seeks limitless power (Financial Times)
- Turkey Is Playing a Dangerous Game With ISIS as It Seeks Islamic Glory (The Fiscal Times)
- Recep Tayyip Erdogan: Turkey’s ruthless president (BBC)
- Turkey’s path to dictatorship (Al-Monitor)
- Erdogan is Leading Turkey Down a Dangerous Path (Algemeiner)
- Turkey Seizes Newspaper, Zaman, as Press Crackdown Continues (New York Times)
- Turkish riot police with tear gas raid country’s biggest newspaper (UK Independent)
- Turkey’s Seizure of Churches and Land Alarms Armenians (New York Times)
- Turkey Seizes Six Churches for State Property (CBN News)
- Turkish President Poised to Tighten Grip as Premier Ahmet Davutoglu Exits — Move solidifies Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s unrivaled position as leader of country (Wall Street Journal)
- Turkey cracking down on Internet usage (USA Today)
- Why Turkey Is Fighting the Kurds Who Are Fighting ISIS (New York Times)
- Former UK Home Secretary warns British PM Cameron that allowing Turkey into the EU by end of decade would be “catastrophic” for Britain (UK Express)
- Iran and Turkey move closer (Al-Ahram)
- The Sultan and the Tsar: Will the imperial ambitions of Russia’s Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan spark a new World War? (UK Daily Mail)
- Putin encircles Turkey in massive troop buildup (Washington Times)
- Putin’s Newest Satellite State [Armenia, right next to Turkey] (Forbes)
At some point, I hope to update Inside The Revolution to indicate the dangerous track Turkey is on under Erdogan. But for now, it’s important that the next President of the United States — and Congress — understand that path the dictator is on and be prepared to deal with him from a position of wisdom and strength.
- Read The First Hostage today — the new political thriller about ISIS plotting to capture and behead the President of the United States — is available in hardcover, e-book and audio formats.
- Read THE THIRD TARGET today , the first in this new series — now out in paperback — the New York Times best-selling novel about ISIS capturing chemical weapons in Syria and plotting genocidal attacks.
- Subscribe (free) to the RSS feed (click here) and receive every new posting on this blog directly via email.
- Make an investment in The Joshua Fund (www.joshuafund.net), a non-profit organization we founded in 2006 to help Christians care for Syrian refugees, educate and mobilize Christians to bless Israel and her neighbors in the name of Jesus, care for the poor and needy in Israel (both Jews and Arabs) with food and other humanitarian relief, care for Holocaust survivors, and strengthen the Church in the epicenter. Read our latest Donor Report, and make a tax deductible, secure, on-line contribution.
- Follow on Twitter — @joelcrosenberg