Erdogan’s Russia Problem (and Vice-Versa)

January 15, 2014 11:20 am 5 comments

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Photo: World Economic Forum.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s growing Islamist tendencies and his crackdown on the military and the media have upset many in Turkey. Revelations of a gold-for-oil scheme and the extent of his and his associates’ corruption; bribes to members of his government; and his son’s corrupt land and construction deals with Yassin al Qadi, a U.S.-designated terrorist who has funded al Qaeda, brought condemnation from the liberal opposition and thousands of protesters to the streets. Criticism of Edrogan’s growing totalitarianism is increasing within Turkey and without.

During the past 11 years, Erdogan has managed to consolidate power and move towards a radical Islamic state under the guise of advancing Turkey as an “Islamic democracy.” However, as we have been witnessing over the last four years, how the oxymoron of “Islamic democracy” – a Muslim Brotherhood invention – has been used successfully to turn the ‘Arab Spring’ into a scorching Arab summer. Erdogan’s “democracy” replaces Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s Western legal codes with shari’a, turning the secular republic into an authoritarian, Islamic state.

While Erdogan’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian branch – Hamas, of Morsi in Egypt, and of al Qaeda fighters in Syria did not seem to upset the Obama Administration, it has made the Russians nervous. With good reason: The large Chechen community in Turkey that supports the separatist and Islamist terrorists in Russia’s Caucasus.

Indeed, Erdogan’s current crisis began with a 2011 Russian crack-down on a drug-money-laundering ring in this area, which laundered revenues from trading Afghan opium with the Taliban. The investigation also revealed illegal gold transactions in Russian banks, which the Chechens shared with their Turkish counterparts. This probe led to the December 17, 2013, arrests of the sons of a Turkish minister and 34 other suspects, and to mass demonstrations against the government.

Erdogan lashed out against the State’s prosecutors that until recently supported him, handing long prison terms to reporters and deposed military officers for allegedly plotting a coup. He denounced the corruption allegations and the arrests, and claimed prosecutors who conspired to oust him made up the charges.

While Erdogan’s authoritarianism would not be particularly bothersome to Putin, who dislikes the idea of being surrounded by democratic-minded states (as we’ve seen in his policies on Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine), Chechen terrorism certainly is. Clearly, Russia would prefer a secular Turkey to an Islamist Turkey leaking jihadist into Russia or the former Soviet republics.

Discord with Russia may or may not play into Edrogan’s hand, but the upheaval surrounding Erdogan’s corruption scandal presents the military and the Turkish liberal opposition with a unique opportunity to prevent the country from going the way of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since the U.S. doesn’t seem to care, Putin is likely to step in, offering aid to the leaders of a Turkish military secular coup. After all, Putin did so successfully in Egypt after General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi removed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood government. This would advance Putin’s efforts to become a greater player in the Middle East and on the world stage.

In the meantime, Erdogan and his lawless government are still in charge.

5 Comments

  • I hate Erdoğan but you are highly likely to be a jewish who is suffering from Mavi Marmara Syndrome..This article targets Turkey rather than Erdoğan..By the way..I wonder Why did Netenyahu apologize to him???

  • disgusting article by a biased author

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    It would be the height of irony if Putin, an autocratic Russian nationalist with disdain for democracy and a KGB-ingrained dislike of America, has to be the one to encourage the secular Turkish military to mount a coup to preserve secularism and democracy in Turkey because we-and yes I regrettably mean the president and the state secretary, are too enamored of the ideals of Jeffersonianism refuse to similarly practise realpolitik. The sooner Erdogan goes the way of Adnan Menderes the better of Turkey, for Israel, for America. (If you’re too young to remember Menderes, google him and you’ll find out.)

  • Rachel this article is disappointing to say the least. I challenge you to prove that Turkey is a radical Islamic state? I challenge you to prove that sharia laws have been implemented in Turkey.

    If the Chechen’s don’t want to live under Russian rule how can they be labeled terrorists? If they are terrorists how about the leadership of Chechnya who have come under the Russian wing? So do you lose your terrorist tag if you come under Russian rule? How about you be consistent. In fact if you bothered to do your research the Russian leadership is interested in Turkish help to moderate Muslims in the Caucasus area. Trade between Turkey and Russia is reaching 100 billion USD any destabilisation of Russia will affect Turkey. So I don’t understand your rationale in this article.

    Trading with your neighbour is not illegal. I don’t understand how trading with your neighbour is illegal. If the Iranian’s prefer trade in Gold then again what is the problem?

    20,000 protestors don’t seem much of a threat do you really think that is going to cause Erdogan sleepless nights? Wishful thinking to say the least.

    What aid can Putin give the so called secular camp in Turkey? Oh by the way this so called Secular camp who you label as liberal have a questionable history in minority rights. I suggest you look up Ishak Alaton.

    I’m disappointed in this article because I read your credentials however the content in this article does not meet the reality.

    • California Gal

      “Since the US doesn’t seem to care…” Awful. Biased opinions and rhetoric. Same writing style as the National Enquirer.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture Middle East Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    Hamas Commander Reportedly Urges Hezbollah to Join Forces Against Israel

    JNS.org – Five months after Israeli forces tried to assassinate Hamas military commander Mohammed Deif in Gaza, Deif appears to have signed a letter that the terrorist group claims he wrote in hiding. The letter, addressed to Hezbollah chief Hassan Nasrallah, expressed Deif’s condolences for the death of Hezbollah terrorists during Sunday’s reported Israeli airstrike in Syria. Deif is said to have survived multiple assassination attempts, but he has not been seen in public for years. According to the Hezbollah-linked Al-Manar [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    Shlomo Carlebach Musical Has the Soul to Heal Frayed Race Relations

    JNS.org – The cracks that had been simply painted over for so long began to show in Ferguson, Mo., in November 2014, but in truth they had begun to open wide much earlier—on Saturday, July 13, 2013. That is when a jury in Sanford, Fla., acquitted George Zimmerman of culpability for the death of a 17-year-old black man, Trayvon Martin. The cracks receded from view over time, as other news obscured them. Then came the evening of Aug. 9, 2014, [...]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    ‘Homeland’ Season Finale Stirs Controversy After Comparing Menachem Begin to Taliban Leader

    A controversial scene in the season finale of Homeland sparked outrage by comparing former Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to a fictional Taliban leader, the UK’s Daily Mail reported. In the season 4 finale episode, which aired on Dec. 21, CIA black ops director Dar Adal, played by F. Murray Abraham, justifies a deal he made with a Taliban leader by referencing Begin. He makes the remarks in a conversation with former CIA director Saul Berenson, a Jewish character played by Mandy [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Spirituality/Tradition Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Placing Matisyahu Back Within a Life of Observance

    Shining Light on Fiction During the North Korea-Sony saga, we learned two important lessons. The first is that there are two sides to this story, and neither of them are correct because ultimately we should have neither inappropriate movies nor dictators. The second is that we cannot remain entirely fixed on the religious world, but we also must see beyond the external, secular view of reality. It’s important to ground our Torah-based thoughts into real-life activism. To view our act [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    Nine Decades of Moses at the Movies

    JNS.org – Hollywood has had its share of big-budget biblical flops, but until now, the Exodus narrative has not been among them. Studios have brought Moses to the big screen sparingly, but in ways that defined the image and character of Moses for each generation of audiences. The first biblical epic In 1923, director Cecil B. DeMille left it to the American public to decide the subject of his next movie for Paramount. DeMille received a letter from a mechanic [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Blogs Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    Exodus on Screen (REVIEW)

    JNS.org – The story of the Exodus from Egypt is a tale as old as time itself, to borrow a turn of phrase. It’s retold every Passover, both at the seder table and whenever “The Ten Commandments” is aired on television. But the latest adaptation—Ridley Scott’s epic film, “Exodus: Gods and Kings”—fails to meet expectations. Scott’s “Exodus” alters the source material to service the story and ground the tale, but the attempt to reinvent the biblical narrative becomes laughable. Moses [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Lifestyle ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    ‘Jewish Food Movement’ Comes of Age

    JNS.org - In December 2007, leaders of the Hazon nonprofit drafted seven-year goals for what they coined as the “Jewish Food Movement,” which has since been characterized by the increased prioritization of healthy eating, sustainable agriculture, and food-related activism in the Jewish community. What do the next seven years hold in store? “One thing I would like to see happen in the next seven years is [regarding] the issue of sugar, soda, and obesity, [seeing] what would it be like to rally the [...]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Education Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    Seeds of ‘Start-Up Nation’ Cultivated by Israel Sci-Tech Schools

    JNS.org – Forget the dioramas. How about working on an Israeli Air Force drone? That’s exactly the kind of beyond-their-years access enjoyed by students at the Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) industrial vocational high school run by Israel Sci-Tech Schools, the largest education network in the Jewish state. More than 300 students (250 on the high school level and 68 at a two-year vocational academy) get hands-on training in the disciplines of aviation mechanics, electricity and energy control, and unmanned air [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.