While the Palestinians seem to relish at being useful tools for the Islamic world’s obssession with Israel, the rage the President of Turkey has expressed “on behalf of the Palestinians” seems a bit self absorbed. Was it not the Ottomon Turks who ruled Jerusalem for centuries before they lost to the British in World War One? What happened to their Palestnian brethren during that time, because as they say the Palestinians were in the Land of Israel for millenia.
The truth is and Turkey’s leaders know it to be true, is that the Ottoman Turks ran Jerusalem into the ground. More than that, the majority population in Jerusalem at the time of Turkish rule was in fact Jewish.
Turkey cares as much as any other Islamic nation for the so called Palestinians, which is not much. What Erdogan wants is to dial the clock back to the days before the British ruled the Land of Israel and thus named the province Palestine, which was Western name for a province called something else completely different by the Ottoman Turks.
Erdogan completely believes and lives for the goal of returning Turkey to the zenith of the Ottoman Empire, including Jerusalem. The problem is, everyone else see through it except for Erdogan, who is never content just being President of Turkey. Erdogan wants to be seen as a sort of neo-Sultan of the reformed Ottoman Empire recast as a modern day Islamic hero reconquering Israel from the “filthy Zionists.”
“Because it [Jerusalem] is under occupation we can’t just go there and open an embassy,” Erdogan was reported to have said today. “But, (God willing) those days are near and… we will officially open our embassy there,” he said, without giving any precise timetable.
Of course the chances of any of this actually happening is close to none, but Erdogan’s rant has a whole other purpose. In the currently forming between Turkey, Iran, Russia, Syria, and Iran, it is Turkey that plays the part of the outsider who has at the last moment decided to switch teams. For this Erdogan must curry favor with the Arab street and position himself as the leader of the Islamic world.
Although the Turkish embassy will not move to “East Jerusalem” anytime soon, Erdogan’s rant can have far reaching consequences in the region. It certainly gives the Shiites a cause to rally around pushes those Sunni allies of the US into a tight spot. The more this back and forth drags on Erdogan can find himself igniting the flames of another intifada.
With enemies surrounding Israel and Turkey, Jordan, and others promoting a violent insurrection from within, the need to push back against the growing Shiite-Russo axis becomes all the more necessary.
Turkey’s role in the growing Shiite-Russo axis is not clear, but what is obvious is that Erdogan believes he is its rightful leader.