Turkish Official Blames Jews and ‘Crusaders’ for Election Losses
Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost a parliamentary majority it had enjoyed for 13 years in voting last Sunday.
Voters had many reasons to back candidates from other parties – including a desire to blunt President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s hopes of using Parliament to entrench his own power. Erdogan “asked the Turks to grant him 400 deputies – who would then rewrite the constitution to pave the way for his elected sultanate,” Hürriyet Daily News columnist Burak Bekdil wrote in a column republished by the Middle East Forum, where he is a fellow.
But a senior member of Erdogan’s party had another theory – it was the “Jewish lobby” and “Crusaders” who swayed Turkish voters.
“There’s an economic lobby in the world, which is under the hand of the Jewish lobby, and these are the ones who want the AKP to fall,” Muhammed Akar, chairman of AKP’s Diyarbakir branch, said in an interview with Foreign Policy. “Not only the Jewish lobby, there is another movement – the Crusaders. Because the AKP government is the voice of the Muslims in Turkey, and all the world.”
The magazine called the election results a “body blow” to Erdogan’s party.
AKP officials frequently blame Jews and outside “lobbies” for internal woes and often resort to anti-Semitic propaganda and slogans.
During mass popular protests in July 2013, Turkey’s Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay blamed Jews for fuelling the demonstrations.
“World powers and the Jewish Diaspora prompted the unrest and have actively encouraged it,” Atalay said.
At the time, AKP party mayor of Ankara also referred to the protests in Gezi as a “game of the Jewish lobby” in a Twitter message.
In the past, Erdogan has blamed the “interest-rate lobby” as a destabilizing force in Turkey in an apparent reference to Jewish global financiers.
Earlier this year, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu also accused Jews of working to topple the Turkish regime.
“I announce it from here: we have not and will not succumb to the Jewish lobby, the Armenian lobby or the Turkish-Greek minority’s lobbies,” Davutoglu said at a party gathering in February.
Sunday’s election results likely left Erdogan speechless, Bekdil wrote, and he won’t take the results well. “He is the lone would-be sultan in a too-expensive and too-spacious Ankara palace. The next few years will see his existential war against real, quasi-real and phantom-like enemies.”
Steven Emerson is the Executive Director the Investigative Project on Terrorism (www.investigativeproject.org) where this article first appeared.