Why is Obama Cozying up with Turkish Islamists?

One of the countries that has benefited greatly from the Obama administration’s Middle Eastern policies is Turkey. The Muslim Brotherhood seeks a return to the Ottoman Empire, which was based in what is now modern day Turkey. The AK Party that is now running Turkey is interested in the same thing, though it still plays its hand quite close to the vest. The fall of Mubarak in Egypt benefited the Brotherhood; by extension, it benefits the AK Party in Turkey. The fall of Gadhafi in Libya benefited the Brotherhood; by extension, it benefits the AK Party in Turkey. Ditto in Tunisia. I could go on but you get the point. The Obama administration stood down in Egypt and helped put Gadhafi down in Libya.

As a sheer matter of course, Turkey must be pleased with these outcomes, which might help explain this disturbingly cozy relationship between Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Barack Obama.

Via CNS News:

A visit by Turkey’s foreign minister this week for high-level talks in Washington draws fresh attention onto the deepening relationship between the Obama administration and Turkey’s Islamist-leaning government at a time of rising criticism over its increasingly authoritarian policies.

Two weeks ago, President Obama in an interview listed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan among five world leaders with whom he has been able to forge “friendships and the bonds of trust.” (The others were the leaders of Britain, Germany, India and South Korea.)

Last fall, the administration selected Turkey as the most suitable co-chair for its flagship new Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) initiative. Around the same time, news reports said Obama had spoken with Erdogan by phone last year more often than he had with any other leader apart from British Prime Minister David Cameron.

The choice of Turkey as GCTF co-chair raised eyebrows because Erdogan has embraced Hamas – designated a foreign terrorist organization – and as an active member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is supportive of the bloc’s position that “armed struggle against foreign occupation … shall not be considered a terrorist crime.”

It would seem that Erdogan and Turkey are being elevated diplomatically and I expect this to continue.

The Obama administration also seems to be siding with Erdogan over the issue of Syria; both leaders are sending signals that Bashar al-Assad should step down. This would help the Brotherhood’s presence in Syria.

Meanwhile, Russia and Iran are showing support for the Assad regime. As long as the fighting in Syria continues to escalate, the tensions between Iran and Turkey will as well.


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