Referring to the days of the Ottoman Empire, Erdogan went on:
“Those who think that we have erased from our hearts the lands from which we withdrew in tears a hundred years ago are wrong.
“We say at every opportunity we have that Syria, Iraq and other places in the geography [map] in our hearts are no different from our own homeland. We are struggling so that a foreign flag will not be waved anywhere where adhan [Islamic call to prayer in mosques] is recited.
“The things we have done so far [pale in comparison to the] even greater attempts and attacks [we are planning for] the coming days, inshallah [Allah willing].”
The Ottoman dynasty and empire was established by a nomadic Turkmen chief sometime around the year 1300. During the more than 600 years of the Ottoman period, the Ottoman Turks, who also represented the Islamic Caliphate, regularly launched wars of jihad, invading and occupying lands across three continents.
Neo-Ottomanists in Turkey still proudly embrace the concept of jihad (Islamic holy war) against the kafirs (infidels). The head of the state-funded Directorate of Religious Affairs, the Diyanet, has openly described Turkey’s recent military invasion of Afrin as “jihad.”
This designation makes sense when one considers that Muslim Turks owe their demographic majority in Asia Minor to centuries of Turkish Muslim persecution and discrimination against the Christian, Yazidi and Jewish inhabitants of the area. In the 11th century, Turkic jihadists from Central Asia invaded and conquered the Greek-speaking, Christian Byzantine Empire, paving the way for the gradual Turkification and Islamization of the region through methods such as murder, kidnapping, rape and forced conversions.
The greatest 20th century Turkish assault against Christians took place in the 1914-1923 genocide of Greeks, Armenians and Assyrians (Syriacs/Chaldeans) in Ottoman Turkey. This did not prevent Turkey, which continues to deny the genocide, from becoming a member of NATO in 1952. The assault also did not stop Turkey, three years after joining NATO, from committing a savage anti-Greek pogrom in Istanbul or from forcibly expelling the remaining Greeks from Turkey in 1964.
It is precisely because the Turks have never been held accountable for their criminal actions and aggression that they continue to threaten the security and sovereignty of their neighbors. It is high time for the West wake up and take Ankara to task.
Apparently Erdogan means at the very least the recapture of all the lands once held by the Ottoman Empire.
That’s not just Greece, … That’s also Bulgaria, Romania, Yugoslavia, Algeria, Syria, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and more.
How seriously this can be taken is anybody’s guess, but it shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand. Erdogan is already moving against the Kurds in Syria, explicitly calling the action a “jihad” and invoking the Ottoman era repeatedly.
And “We are struggling so that a foreign flag will not be waved anywhere where adhan [Islamic call to prayer in mosques] is recited” refers to far more than just the old Ottoman domains. That means everywhere there are Muslims in Europe and everywhere else. The caliphate is, in Sunni Islamic theology, the sole legitimate government for Muslims on earth, to which all Muslims owe allegiance. Erdogan is saying more clearly than he ever has before, as far as I know, that he is going to restore the caliphate. And he is virtually promising war with the non-Muslim (at least for now) states of Europe.
How far we have come. Just a few years ago, mainstream analysts would dismiss my talk of jihad and the caliphate by pointing to Turkey as an example of how Islam can coexist with democracy, and confidently predicting that soon the rest of the Islamic world would follow Turkey’s lead. Now they don’t talk about Turkey so much anymore.
hat-tip Scott of the Pacific