Thursday, December 26, 2013

The Teflon Turk

Haaretz has this perspective on the wily Erdogan.

Haaretz generally has a liberal/secular take on ME issues. If the linked article is any indication, they too see Erdogan's main challenge coming from the Gulen loyalists in his country.

Turkey-Israel relations have been all over the map since Erdogan came to power. Turkey is a full-patch NATO member, and Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle East", so on an official level one might expect a substantial overlap in interests.

The Mavi Marmara incident was a turning point. Regardless of what one thinks of the illegal and immoral Gaza blockade, any realist will first need to acknowledge that there are plenty of others who view it as legal, moral, and necessary. Turkey's connivance with those who took direct action in attempting to breach the blockade was a classic case of over-reach.

In hindsight, that was the turning point in Erdogan's tenure, and also a turning point in the fortunes of the Muslim Brotherhood. The NATO bigs in Brussels and Washington realized that the NATO chapter in Ankara was no longer on the same page as the rest of the gang.

The Chinese missile deal was the last straw.

That's why you're hearing more these days about the influence of Fethullah Gulen, whose minions are poised to dispose of Erdogan. What then?

The appeal of the Muslim Brotherhood in Washington and Brussels was always that, all things considered, they were more moderate, more pliable, more US/Israel friendly than the alternatives.

The MB star is fading because there is a more moderate, more pliable alternative waiting in the wings.

Unfortunately, for a lot of conservative folks who held their noses and put up with the MB, any option that is even more moderate and pliable will simply be unacceptable.

The Teflon Turk may be on his way out. Whoever comes next will have a very serious problem with the fundamentalists who have taken root next door.

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