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Turkish PM on the Friendship & Brotherhood Tour…

September 15, 2011

Islamist power broker, Recep Erdogan, is on a tour of ‘Arab Spring’ states.

Ahram Online reports that,

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made the case for “Islam and democracy” Thursday in Tunisia, where moderate Islamists modeled on his own party are tipped to win landmark October polls.

On a visit to the country where the “Arab Spring” began, Erdogan also produced the kind of trademark warning to Israel that has earned him hero status across the region.

“Islam and democracy are not contradictory. A Muslim can run a state very successfully,” said the 57-year-old after a meeting with his Tunisian counterpart Beji Caid Essebsi.

PM Erdogan has shown that a Muslim can run a state very successfully…a secular state, that is.  This was a key distinction made by Ataturk, when he brought Turkey out of the ashes of the 1st World War.  Tunisia, Egypt, or Libya, may not, or do not, have that same driving distinction.  The groups behind the uprisings in most cases involve some hardcore mainstream Islamist groups; these groups believe in Shari’ah Law.

And, then, PM Erdogan surely cannot pass up bashing Israel a little bit.  I’m not sure, but I would not be surprised if he and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad were in a friendly competition.

After the rapturous welcome he received on the first leg of his “Arab Spring tour” in Cairo confirmed his rising regional status, Erdogan took yet another swipe at Israel when he spoke after his meeting with Essebsi.

“Israel will no longer be able to do what it wants in the Mediterranean and you’ll be seeing Turkish warships in this sea,” Erdogan said.

He reiterated his insistence on an Israeli apology for last year’s raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla that left nine pro-Palestinian activists dead, all of them Turks or of Turkish origin.

“Relations with Israel cannot normalize if Israel does not apologize over the flotilla raid, compensate the martyrs’ families and lift the blockade of Gaza,” Erdogan said.

[…]

Erdogan’s popularity in the Arab world has stemmed mainly from his strong confrontations with Israel, at a time when regional leaders were seen by their people as impotent when it comes to the Jewish state and the West.

This last little tidbit is very telling:

On the previous stage of his “Arab Spring tour”, Erdogan visited Egypt, where some drew comparisons with the late Gamal Abdel Nasser, whose pan-Arabism and defiance of foreign powers made him a regional hero in the 1950s.

Mr. Erdogan has definitely been engaged in an effort to unit Arab governments and peoples, of late.  Where this is all going, we will have to wait and see.

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