This is a brilliantly, cogently and compellingly argued thesis and I think the West ignores this narrative at their peril. It’s all about history, learning from it and not repeating it.
“….If today’s Western leaders possess one general trait, it’s a genius for self-deception. Insisting that Islamist terror has nothing to do with Islam, or that religion has no strategic impact, or that all human beings want freedom and democracy, amounts to declaring that up is down, right is left and night is day. Turkey and Erdogan: Here comes the (real) caliphate
For hundreds of millions of Muslims, many of whom have nothing to do with ISIS, the caliphate is associated with a lost and much-romanticized golden age when the caliph, who was also the Turkish sultan, claimed spiritual dominion over all Muslims.
At the time, the Muslim world split into two camps. On March 8, 1924, The Economist captured the difference: For Turks and other nationalities newly free of Ottoman rule, “the Western idea of nationality is in the ascendant and the Caliphate is losing its power over the imagination.” So far, so good.
But the journal went on to note that for Muslims under colonial rule, “the Caliphate carries a message of salvation through an international Muslim solidarity.”
That message of salvation, if not yet of solidarity, is back. The ragtag ISIS caliphate is merely the forerunner of the more ambitious caliphate to come.
It’s coming in Turkey.
Convinced that history has no relevance, those same self-deluded Western leaders and diplomats refuse to recognize President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s vision for “his” Turkey. He dreams not only of neo-Ottoman glory, but of a caliphate reborn and led by a Turk. (Might anyone venture a guess as to his candidate?) Essentially, the sultan and caliph both would be back on a Turkish throne.
Various observers have likened the coup’s effect to that of the Reichstag Fire, the murky arson at the German parliament that provided Hitler with the excuse to stamp out all political opposition. The parallel is chillingly precise. The Turkish intelligentsia is about to find itself in the precarious condition of Germany’s intellectuals and Jews in the 1930s.
Erdogan wants power for himself, but he also, sincerely, wants it for his faith. He’s a true believer and a megalomaniac. His ambitions will ultimately lead Turkey, its neighbors and, quite possibly, its blind, bewildered allies into a succession of bloody tragedies, but for now he has real support among half of the population, those for whom the fever of faith is the ultimate intoxicant. He polls better than Hitler did. “Mein Kampf” is no match for the Holy Koran.
Among the would-be sultan-and-caliph’s cynical initiatives this week has been floating the revival of the death penalty for treason — in order to finish off key opponents permanently and intimidate those permitted to survive. But the real execution warrant has been issued: Erdogan killed the secular Turkey of Ataturk, the dream that a Muslim nation could take its place in the front rank of civilization…”