(GATESTONE INSTITUTE) The jihad against Europe by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is probably based on both ideology and opportunism. Fierce anti-Western rhetoric is an ideological sine qua non for Turkish political Islam; it is also a secure vote-catcher targeting conservative and nationalist masses.
Erdogan's jihadism is not seasonal or a newfound system of political ideas. It is also not a reflection of peaceful sufism. Erdogan comes from the ranks of Turkey's militant political Islamism that emerged in late 1960s under the leadership of the ideologue, Necmettin Erbakan, Turkey's first Islamist prime minister and Erdogan's mentor. In Erbakan's rhetoric universal politics is simply about a struggle between the righteous (Islam) and a coalition of Zionists and racist imperialists -- all else is just details. In his thinking, the Zionists support Turkey's membership in the European Union in order to "get Turkish Muslims to melt in a pot of Christianity."
In a 2016 speech, Erdogan talked of European countries: "These are not just our enemies... Behind them are plans and plots and other powers." Also in 2016, he said that jihad is never terrorism. "It is resurrection.... It is to give life, to build... It is to fight the enemies of Islam." In 2017, Erdogan added that the German government's actions resembled those of Nazi Germany.
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