The Return of the Turkish Empire
- In a stunning speech, Turkish President Erdogan railed against Western “spies” and journalists and seemed to endorse the ISIS plan to redraw the region’s borders.
- Islamist Turkey has been the main logistical base for the Islamic militants, the main transit country for foreign fighters to enter neighboring Syria and a key source of it’s revenue from the smuggling of oil tapped in captured oil fields.
- The Turks remember that Syria, Palestine and Iraq were provinces of their nation until Imperialist Britain and France took them. It is a mistake to think Turkey is an ally of the West.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took on the iconic Lawrence of Arabia Monday in a furious anti-Western diatribe. The Turkish president compared the outside meddling in the region now to the role the renowned British army officer played during the Arab Revolt against the Ottomans during World War I.
And Western diplomats here say the tirade bears a rather striking resemblance to some of the propaganda that has come out of the so-called Islamic State, widely known by the acronym ISIS or ISIL.
Last week, stung by Western criticism of Turkey’s conspicuous absence from the U.S.-led air combat against the terror organization, and the refusal of the Turkish government to rescue the besieged town of Kobani, just across the Syrian border, Erdoğan insisted he had no sympathy for the jihadists.
But on one very important point of history and geography it now appears there’s a serious convergence of views between ISIS and Erdoğan. In his speech Monday at a university in Istanbul, the Turkish president blasted the Sykes-Picot Agreement, a secret understanding (signed behind Lawrence’s back) that divided up the Middle East after World War I between British and French spheres of influence reports The Daily Beast.
That deal opened the way for a British vow to establish a Jewish homeland in Palestine and led to borders drawn by the European powers that created modern Syrian and Iraq. Historian David Fromkin summed up the mess that resulted in the title of his book The Peace to End All Peace. [...]
The Erdoğan speech was suffused with an angry anti-Western narrative—he also tilted at Western journalists, accusing them of being spies—and will no doubt thrill some of Erdoğan’s supporters. In southern Turkey, some local officials in his Justice and Development Party (AKP) express sympathy for ISIS.
|The last Caliph of Islam was Turkish.|
Don't think the Turks have forgotten.
But it will ring alarm bells in Western capitals at a time coalition officials are redoubling their efforts to try to persuade a reluctant Turkish government to play a forward-leaning part in the American-led war on the jihadists.
Turkey is considered crucial if President Barack Obama’s war aim to “degrade and defeat” ISIS is to be accomplished. The country has been the main logistical base for the Islamic militants, the main transit country for foreign fighters to enter neighboring Syria and a key source of it’s revenue from the smuggling of oil tapped in captured oil fields.
In his determination to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, Erdoğan has been accused of at best turning a blind eye to the rise of ISIS and at worst actively encouraging it.
ISIS, meanwhile, has done some simplifying of its own, and on similar lines. Its militants say explicitly they are out to erase the borders that Sykes-Picot established across most of the modern Middle East.
About T.E. Lawrence—who is still viewed as a hero in the West and by many Arabs—the Turkish President showed nothing but disdain, then used Lawrence as a vehicle to heap opprobrium on others. Erdoğan dismissed the British officer as “an English spy disguised as an Arab.”
And he told the university audience—the speech was televised—that Westerners are “making Sykes-Picot agreements hiding behind freedom of press, a war of independence or jihad.”
“This isn’t a speech one expects from an ally, especially when there are delicate negotiations going on,” says an Istanbul-based European diplomat. “It reveals starkly what we are up against when it comes to Erdoğan.” Another diplomat said: “The Turks are determined to ensure that whatever happens in Syria post-Assad, it is seen as their sphere of influence and they have two aims: to keep Iran at bay and keep the West out.”
Slaughter of Turkish troops by Lawrence of Arabia
|The Ottoman Empire in 1900 |
The Ottoman Empire had already lost the provinces of Algeria and Tunisia to the French and Egypt and the Sudan to Britain. Now Italy was taking away the Ottoman provinces in Libya. World War One was an excuse for Britain and France to "liberate" Iraq, Syria and Palestine and turn them into colonies.
See our articles:
The Italian invasion of Libya
The Dissection of Syria & Iraq - The Persians and Ottomans Cometh
100th Anniversary of the Balkan Wars of Liberation Against Islamic Rule