Police officers work at the scene after an attack on Westminster Bridge in London, Britain, March 22, 2017.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan didn’t know he was going to get so lucky last Wednesday, when a threat he issued instantly materialized.
Indeed, the Islamist leader of the former modernizing democracy was probably happily amazed at the news of the terrorist attack in London, as it came on the heels of a speech he delivered in Ankara warning, “[I]n no part of the world, no European, no Westerner will be able to take steps on the street safely and peacefully.”
This fate would befall them, he said, if they “continue to behave like this.”
Of course, Erdogan was not personally responsible for the rampage of UK-born Khalid Masood, who managed to murder three people before being killed by police.
Nor had he specified what he meant by claiming that the West would not be safe.
He did, however, caution that Turkey is “not a country to push, to prod, to play with its honor, to shove its ministers out of the door, drag its citizens on the floor.”
He had a point; it is only Erdogan and his goons who are at liberty to drag Turkish citizens on the floor.
This was not the point he was trying to make, however.
No, Erdogan denies that he imprisons anyone he considers critical of his regime. But he has to do that when he spends so much time accusing Europe of human-rights abuses.
Meanwhile, the only “human rights” Erdogan really cares about are his own. More precisely, what he most hungers for is power, which he has been ruthless at procuring and making sure not to lose, by any authoritarian means.
The failed attempt to oust him last July made this all the more clear, when he took the opportunity of the thwarted coup to crack down on every sector of society, locking up journalists, judges, police and members of the military on bogus grounds.
This is also why he is so intent on winning the April 16 constitutional referendum, the passage of which would see Turkey shift from a parliamentary to a presidential political system. Erdogan and others who support the move claim it will make governance more efficient. But the wannabe dictator’s real reason is singular: to enhance and secure his already growing reign of terror.
With polls indicating that the Turkish public is split down the middle on this issue, Erdogan took his campaign to the EU, where Germany and the Netherlands in particular are home to many ex-pat Turks. Facing reservations from both – though Germany said it would give permission if he made the process more transparent and put a stop to his aggressive and inappropriate rhetoric – Erdogan doubled down, calling them Nazis and fascists.
“They have nothing to do with the civilized world,” he said in a televised address earlier this month. “The EU is fast going toward drowning in its own fears.”
If this assertion has any merit, it is precisely because of rulers and proxies with Erdogan’s ideology. Though he touts his role in the war against Islamic State (ISIS) to show his enlightenment, he is attempting to bring his country into the same dark ages that the Sunni murderers occupy. In other words, Erdogan, who has close ties to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, has shown time and again that it is only certain terrorists he wants eradicated; the others are his allies, who spill the blood of infidels.
Wednesday’s attack at Westminster – whose perpetrator ISIS claimed as a “soldier” in its call to kill Britons – may not have been inspired by Erdogan’s friends.
But Masood’s knife-wielding, car-ramming actions expressed the same antipathy towards Judeo-Christian societal values that all Islamists harbor.
Erdogan ought to know, which is precisely why Europe must take his admonitions seriously and pray he loses next month’s referendum.The writer is the managing editor of The Algemeiner.