How Erdogan uses idea of caliphate
By Vestnik Kavkaza
European Chief Diplomat Federica Mogherini, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy Johannes Hahn and European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides are on a visit to Turkey. They are trying to convince the country to join the fight against ISIS. Europe fears that thousands of Europeans joining ISIS in Syria are using Turkey for transit.
Ali Vyacheslav Polosin, deputy director of the Fund for Support of Islamic Culture, Science and Education, is confident that the Middle East is being reformatted. He believes that the U.S. feels a certain feebleness of the monarchies in the Middle East and reminds that the U.S. had not succeeded in putting Iraq in order. That is why their interest in reformatting of the space and formation of obedient regimes goes under the slogan “caliphate,” the expert assumes.
“We can simply draw attention to the fact that Iranian ex-President Ahmadinejad was sending ships out to the sea to meet [last successor of Prophet Muhammad before the Apocalypse] Imam Mahdi. They are not just talks when even such actions are taken at a state level. That is why there are speculations about non-Muslim geopolitical players awaiting a caliphate,” Polosin says.
The expert notes that Turkish President Erdogan used the image of the caliphate and traditional Islamic values to gain popularity in the Middle East, expecting to gain it all over the world: “Turkey has its own interests. After Erdogan became president he started positioning himself in image ads not only as the president of the Turkish Republic, but as a reader of the Quran, as though he radiates some nur, light. It is more an image of a caliph, a ruler of true believers, than the president of a republic, especially considering that Turkey has very great experience in this aspect. So the claims are not that groundless. In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, other countries, the persona of Erdogan is popular among Muslims and even ruling elites. That is why Turkey has its own game here.”
Ankara does not support ISIS, but it may try the following tactic, according to Polosin: “The headhunters will show themselves, the whole world will be horrified, everyone will say that there is no need for a caliphate. Then Erdogan will present a different variant of the caliphate, the correct one headed by a liberal and even humanist leader.”
The expert considers blaming the U.S. for the progress of Islamic State to be unfair: “America has its own interest here to take over the project, but America is not the only one in the struggle. Considering past experience in other countries, it may turn against America itself.”