Dr. Ahmet Yayla , Assistant Professor at DeSales University, has said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slowly established his rule in the country by shifting moderate Turkish Sufi Islam, based on teachings of Rumi towards a Salafi Islam – the political Islam. Dr Yayla made the remarks during a webinar on Turkey’s Undoing of Kemalist Project and its Tremors in Geopolitics of Islamic World organized by Usanas Foundation, Udaipur-based security, and geopolitical affairs think-tank and Law and Society.
Dr. Ahmet Yayla added that currently, Erdogan’s core support base constitutes 30% of Turkey’s population. He needs more and more support to save himself from being prosecuted on charges of corruption and killings. So first of all he is trying to convey to the 30% population that in order to practice your religion and protect it, you need to vote and support him. For the support of others, he is trying to project himself a nationalist and tallest leader of the Muslim world. Though he is projecting himself as the Messiah of Islam, however, he is himself not practicing proper Islam. Instead, he is misusing the religion for his political ambitions. Over 60 thousand ISIS fighters came to fight via Turkey, who were given an open and free passage, without being stopped by the Turkish government. The support to ISIS was so open, that in several instances, it was seen that ISIS fighters used to make clear declarations in front of Turkish authorities to let them cross over Turkey to fight for ISIS.
“Erdogan has been trying to strengthen his position as the global leader of Islam.He has learned from the fate of his predecessors and is trying to promote a muscular Islam. Foreign policy is the reflection of domestic conditions. His overt interventions in Syria and Iraq are methods of reflecting his muscular power in the region. It is a major NATO power with the second-largest army and has constantly tried to get into the EU, but has failed. It is also challenging in several European countries in their quest in Syria.” Said Anil Trigunayat, India’s Former Ambassador to Jordan, Libya, and Malta,
Anil Trigunayat also said that Turkey has tried to found a new Islamic organization to counter the OIC with the help of Pakistan. We have seen their covert statements on Kashmir and 370. Hope that Erdoganwill release his limitations and not continue to force his thoughts over other countries. India has worked together with Turkey in the G-20. In South Asia, Erdogan’s major focus is on Pakistan and on China, trying to create a kind of nexus. We need to be a bit cautious in dealing with Turkey. We are certainly in the right direction by canceling a couple of important deals with Turkey.
In the end, to Abhinav Pandya CEO of Usanas Foundation question about the possibility of a public revolt against Erdogan to bring secular and democratic Turkey back, Dr. Yayla said that its possibility is very unlikely in the future because Erdogan controls all media and the Salafism is spreading fast in Turkey.