Turkish Foreign Minister Davutoğlu calls for a new regional neo-Ottoman order
For the past several years, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, the chief architect of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party, has repeatedly denied the Turkish government’s regional “neo-Ottoman” plans. In 2009, Davutoğlu determinedly repudiated all claims that he was leading Turkey back to the Ottoman era. Against the mounting charges made by various political analysts and journalists, the FM protested, “When others use [this term], I have always warned that we do not count it correct.”
But like so many double-speaking “progressive” politicians here in the U.S., Davutoğlu has suddenly changed his tune and is now all in for Turkish neo-Ottomanism. In a recent meeting with American Secretary of State John Kerry – the U.S. senator who was against funding the war in Iraq, until he was for it – Davutoğlu seems to have come down with an acute case of Kerry’s flip-flopism. According to the foreign minister, neo-Ottomanism is now the coming new order for the whole Middle East. As reported in Al-Monitor, Davutoğlu said that, “Last century was only a parenthesis for us. We will close that parenthesis.”
So last century was a mere “parenthesis” that will soon be closed. Under Davutoğlu and Erdoğan’s direction, Turkey will return the region to its previous Ottoman order. The period of Kemalism and secularism in Turkey is coming to a close. Davutoğlu continued, “We will do so without going to war, or calling anyone an enemy, without being disrespectful to any border.”
According to the FM, Turkey will bring about a new regional order, complete with Turkish leadership, of course, without any war “or calling anyone an enemy.”
Unless, of course, we are speaking of neighboring Syrian President Bashar Assad, whom Erdoğan recently called “a mute devil” who must be ousted.
Or unless we are speaking of Kurdish separatists, roughly 500 of whom Erdoğan recently bragged of killing via the Turkish military within a few days.
Or unless we are speaking of those who espouse the concept of Israeli self-determination knowns as Zionism, which Erdoğan recently compared to fascism and called it “a crime against humanity.”
Davutoğlu’s comments continued:
“[W]e will again tie Sarajevo to Damascus, Benghazi to Erzurum to Batumi. This is the core of our power. … These may look like all different countries to you, but Yemen and Skopje were part of the same country 110 years ago, or Erzurum and Benghazi. When we say this, they call it ‘new Ottomanism.’ The ones who united the whole Europe don’t become new Romans, but the ones who unite the Middle East geography are called as new Ottomanists.”
And then Davutoğlu finally admitted that it is time to wear the title of “Ottoman” with pride:
“It’s an honor to be [identified] with the names of Ottomans, Seljuks, Artuklu or Eyyubi, but we have never or will ever have our eye on anyone’s land based on a historic background. … The people who lived together throughout the history in this region were torn apart from each other in the last century; they grew distant from each other. Turkey was the central country at the time when borders were diminished, geography was divided and economic spheres were separated. As if these are not enough, a new seed of division started to be planted in our country.”
As Davutoğlu’s comments continued, what became clear is his Obama-esque determination to pursue his program, regardless of of its failures:
“What I have observed in foreign policy practice is that if you have a right reading, and presented a firm position, you may receive criticism in the first place, but you will get results in the mid- and long-term. What is important is to stand firm there. If you are confident of your policy, you should not give any concessions. What is important is not to be indecisive at a critical, decision-making moment.”
The danger, of course, is what will happen when the Turkish academic’s theories don’t play out on the ground. What price Turkey is willing to pay to see this new regional order established will soon be tested in Syria. We have already seen how Turkey responds with a fierce military reaction to the non-conforming Kurdish separatists on her eastern flank.
Far worse is the potential for what life would be like for the state of Israel under such a new regional order led by a nation whose leader calls Israel’s legal right to protect itself and establish legal settlements a “crime against humanity.”
The Bible reveals that in the days to come, Israel will indeed become the victim of this coming new regional “order.” The culmination of these things, the Bible says, will result in all of the nations throughout the region gathering together against Jerusalem (cf., Joel 3:2; Zechariah 12:2-3; 14:2; Luke 21:24). While it is impossible for us to know the precise timing of all these things, it would certainly seem that the storm clouds are forming.
Davutoğlu speaks of leaving behind the recent century, known for its secularism, and returning to the time when Yemen, at the far south of the Arabian peninsula, all the way to Skopje in European Macedonia are part of the same country.
Can you say neo-Ottoman caliphate? That time will no doubt come, but for now, we can be sure that Davutoğlu would deny any such term – before he openly calls for it.