Look who's got eye on becoming global caliph
By: BOB UNRUH
There are increasing signs that Turkey's dictator, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, aims to turn his nation into the dominant component of a new Islamic caliphate, controlling even more territory than the Ottoman Empire.
Islam expert and author Joel Richardson wrote shortly after Turkey's controversial election in which Erdogan was given virtually unrestricted power that analysts in recent years tried "to shout down warnings that Erdogan has a desire to return to the Ottoman era."
On the day Erdogan won the referendum allowing him to rewrite the Turkish constitution, effectively ending the secular democratic Republic of Turkey as envisioned by Ataturk, he made "a very symbolic statement," Richardson wrote.
"Not only did he specifically avoid visiting the tomb of Ataturk (who turned Turkey into a secular government), but instead, he visited the tomb of Sultan Selim I."
Richardson explained that Selim the Grim ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1512 to 1520 and was most remembered for his expansionist conquest over Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
"Erdogan was sending a very clear message. The era of Ataturk is over. There is a new Sultan Selim the Grim in power," Richardson wrote.
Erdogan's intentions are becoming clearer. He told an interviewer during a recent trip to Africa, for example, his nation now has 39 embassies on the continent, up from 13.
He's also boasted of his one-on-one talks with Pope Francis, French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other leaders.
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The interview Erdogan granted was with Amadou Mahtar Ba, the co-founder and executive chairman of AllAfrica Global Media Inc.
The Turkish leader discussed his recent trip to Sudan, Chad and Tunisia, Muslim-majority nations in Africa.
The trip brought to 24 the number of African countries Erdogan has visited, the report said.
"We still hope we can prevail in every country of the African continent through our embassies, and we are going to achieve that because we are very determined," Erdogan said in the interview.
"We are always trying to explore new ways of solidifying our relations with the African nations," he continued. "We have many commonalities."
The issue of President Trump's recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel came up immediately in the questioning, with the interviewer speculating about Erdogan's response to Africa's "more than 500 million" Muslims on the issue.
"For the Islamic world, Al-Aqsa Mosque is very important important ... and of course, Al-Quds (the Arabic word for Jerusalem) is very important for Christians," Erdogan said.
The Turkish leader said he's discussed the conflict - the Palestinians insist Jerusalem will be the capital of a future Palestinian state - with many Muslims and others.
"I've called his holiness the pope and I've shared my thoughts and opinions with him. ... And praise Allah, he is thinking alike. I've spoken to the German chancellor, and similarly President Macron of France; I've talked to him. And I've also talked to President Putin of Russia."
He said Jerusalem "is not an outstanding problem for the Muslims of the world. This is an outstanding issue for all of us."
Erdogan said the world should look back to 1967, when there was "the possibility of recognizing Eastern Jersualem as the capital of the state of Palestine."
However, it was Israel's neighbors who initiated the Six-Day War in 1967 in which the Jewish state regained Jerusalem.
He cited the recent vote in the U.N. by 128 countries to condemn the U.S. decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Ergodan said that going forward, Trump must "review the situation that he is in" and he "needs" to "say yes to two-state solution in Palestine."
"But if we're not defending peace and if we want the Middle East to get pushed into a further conflict and turmoil, then the price will be upon President Trump and Israel," he threatened.
He said Trump actually isn't important to the process.
"The step to be taken forward after this moment is all about the 128 countries siding with Palestine and all of the countries which had reservations. We should get together and take up an initiative. Palestine should be recognized as an independent and sovereign state by all of these nations that voted in favor this afternoon at the U.N. And after that is accomplished, the U.S., willingly or non-willingly, will have to interpret this situation accurately."
Erdogan expressed a commitment to "cooperate" with all of Africa.
"Whether it be culture or whether it be business-related or whether it would be political, we are ready and committed to cooperate with all of our friends across the African continent. And the number-one priority for us is solidarity with our African brothers and sisters in all of these areas I have listed previously."
He complained that the U.S. has not turned over to him his chief political opponent and critic, Fethullah Gulen, and said if there are terrorists in his country that the U.S. wants, he also would say no to extradition.
Erdogan said he opposes slave markets in Muslim nations, because they are "prohibited internally by our religion."
Richardson, who wrote "Islamic Antichrist: The Shocking Truth about the Real Nature of the Beast," cited the Old Testament in warning that a "last-days invasion of Israel that would specifically be led by Turkey."
"In my book 'Mideast Beast,' I carefully work through Ezekiel's prophecy to show how the Bible doesn't point to a last-days Russian-led invasion of Israel, but instead points to an invasion led by Turkey. For the false perceptions of the early 21st century to become the grim reality described in the Bible, however, much had to change. These changes, as we've now witnessed, took far less time than most could have ever imagined. As recently as 2012, President Obama named Turkey's current President Erdogan as one of his top three closest friends among world leaders. A quick five years later, Erdogan has emerged as one of the most dangerous dictators of our day."
Richardson pointed out that since Erdogan "has assumed complete control of Turkey, there are now more journalists in prison there than any other nation on the earth.'
"The AKP-led government has assumed complete control over virtually every media outlet in the nation. The president has even sought to arrest his critics in nations as far abroad as Germany and the United States. Erdogan openly stated that he has imprisoned foreign citizens to use as bargaining chips in his hope that foreign governments will extradite his critics to Turkey for punishment. Well over a hundred thousand of its own citizens have either been indefinitely imprisoned or fired from their jobs on suspicion of supporting opposition perspectives. Throughout the nation, men and woman continue to disappear randomly and suddenly, literally snatched off the streets simply for suspicion of holding critical views of the president. The elderly, those with incapacitating illnesses, pregnant women and even babies are now routinely incarcerated. The current national roundup of Erdogan's enemies, or political opponents, is eerily reminiscent of Nazi Germany. Yet this is just the beginning."
He cites Erdogan's threats to Europe, his attacks on U.S. allies in northern Syria and Iraq, and how he "openly brags about it, taunting us to do anything about it."President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Middle East, Black Leftist Bullies