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Erdogan builds his own Islamist guards, with Palestine as the main target?

The President of Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan, in November 2020 (Photo: Reuters)

Turkish support for the jihadists is not simply a tactic designed to remove Bashar al-Assad of power in Syria, but rather a strategic decision of the Turkish regime to influence the affairs of middle East through non-state actors, as it has been doing Iran since the Khomeinist revolution. Support from Turkey to jihadists who pass through Syria and the establishment of close links with Hamas and the Muslim Brothers they are joint aspects of this strategy.

This trend has accelerated since attempted military coup of July 15, 2016. Despite of 2018 agreement between Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Turkey has expanded its use of jihadist groups and elements as part of neo-Ottoman strategy in Idlib, Syria, in Libya and lately in the conflict between Azerbaijan Y Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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It is in this context that several paramilitary organizations were formed at the personal service of President Erdogan, such as IHH – Human Rights and Freedoms Humanity Aid Charity, Ottoman Hearths, IBDA – C Great Eastern Islamic Raiders Front, KKT – Stay Brothers Turkey and others.

The most important is SADAT A.S. International Defense Consulting, the first and only company in Turkey that offers global consulting and military training services in the international defense and internal security sector, founded by Brigadier General (retired) Adnan Tanriverdi in February 2012.

SADAT Inc. “aims to establish cooperation between Islamic Countries in the sense of military and defense industries, in order to help the Islamic World to take the rank it deserves among the global superpowers as a self-sufficient military power, delivering to them the services related to the organization of the Armed Forces, defense consulting, military training and artillery”.

SADAT can be compared to Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which can provide potential pathways for your involvement in Turkish politics. With the support of the Turkish intelligence (MIT), SADAT serves as an agent for foreign missions, which is similar to the role of the Quds Force at the IRGC.

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In December 2017, before the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OCI) convened by Erdogan in Istanbul, SADAT proposed to form an “Army of Islam” made up of the member states of the OCI, to besiege and attack the state of Israel. According to the article, if the OIC member states unite militarily, they will form the largest and most comprehensive army in the world and could play a major role in the Jerusalem issue.

In January 2018 the Israel Security Service arrested the Turkish militant Cemil Tekeli during your visit to Jerusalem. Hamas had hired him in Turkey to help finance its activities and transfer money to Gaza. During questioning, it appeared that he was a close associate of Adnan Tanriverdi. He revealed that SADAT is helping Hamas to form a “Palestinian Army”. Does the Palestinian army envisioned by SADAT represent the first phase in Erdogan’s battle for Jerusalem?

When it comes to Israel, it is Erdogan who makes the decisions, and he is personally responsible for the deterioration of bilateral relations. A source noted that Erdogan has strong anti-Israel sentiments, based on deeply held religious beliefs. American diplomats, cited in documents from Wikileaks, reported that sources both inside and outside the Turkish government confirmed that Erdogan simply hates Israel.

Support to European NGOs and charities related to Hamas

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The launch of the International People’s Committee in Support of the Gaza Strip was held in Istanbul, Turkey in September 2014. The leading London-based think tank, the International Center for Study of Radicalization and Political Violence (ICSR) recently published a 100-page report, “The Islamic Movement in Britain,” which concluded that Turkey is “funding and supporting an interconnected network of Muslim Brotherhood organizations across Europe, including Hamas.”

Connections Turkey with the Islamic Movement in Great Britain they are within the largest international network supporting Hamas in Gaza, campaigning for the Palestinians’ “right to return” and demonizing Israel. Istanbul hosted at least ten international conferences of the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The most important of these was the International Gaza Victory Conference held in February 2009, organized by the Global Campaign Against Aggression (GAAC). The conference statement stated that the Muslim umma was obliged to “continue the jihad and Resistance against the occupier until the liberation of all Palestine.” This declaration became known as the Istanbul Declaration.

Following the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty on October 16, 2020 in a suburb near Paris, the French authorities dissolved the Turkish Islamic NGO “Baraka City”. French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan said that this Islamic non-governmental organization headed by Idriss Yemou, known as Idris Sihamedi, “It encourages hatred, has ties to the extremist Islamic trend and justifies terrorist acts.”

BarakaCity raises money through Zakat (annual donations from Muslims) and has charities operating in Gaza. Sihamedi took to Twitter to address Turkish President Erdogan and request asylum for himself and his staff, who he said had received death threats.

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In addressing the nation regarding his decree of July 10, 2020 ordering the conversion of Hagia Sophia Again in a mosque after the highest administrative court struck down a 1934 presidential decree that turned it into a museum, Erdogan had noted that “the resurrection of Hagia Sophia heralds the liberation of the al-Aqsa mosque.” Hamas political chief Ismail Haniyeh praised Erdogan’s decision to return Hagia Sophia to its former use as a mosque.

A month later, AKP Vice President Numan Kurtulmuş declared that Jerusalem’s legacy should be Turkey’s next responsibility after Hagia Sophia. “Now we have in front of us Al Quds Sharif (Jerusalem), the legacy of Caliph Umar (Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph of Islam), Saladin Ayyubid (the founder of the Ayyubid dynasty that captured Jerusalem in 1187 from Christian Crusaders) and Sultan Selim the Grim (Ottoman sultan who transferred the caliphate to the Ottoman dynasty in 1517), and must remain in the corner of our minds.

After the United Arab Emirates signed a normalization agreement with Israel in August 2020, Erdogan threatened to suspend diplomatic relations with that state, without referring to any degradation of his own diplomatic relations with Tel Aviv, the move was criticized by many in the Arab world as hypocrisy. The Turkish Foreign Ministry described the agreement as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause. Israel is among Turkey’s top ten export markets. Turkey, the first Muslim-majority nation to formally recognize the State of Israel, has had diplomatic relations with the state since 1949.

While Palestinian leaders were haunted by the wave of Arab countries normalizing relations with Israel, the so-called “Abrahamic Accords”, they turned to Turkey for support. In August 2020, Erdogan held talks with a high-ranking Hamas delegation, scheduled to coincide with the visit of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Israel and the Middle East. Hamas and Turkey oppose the Israeli peace agreement with the United Arab Emirates.

The US State Department strongly opposed President Erdogan hosting Hamas leaders in February and now in August. Hamas is designated as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union, and the officials hosted by President Erdogan are specially designated global terrorists. The United States believes that “Erdogan’s continued rapprochement with this terrorist organization only serves to isolate Turkey from the international community, damages the interests of the Palestinian people and undermines global efforts to prevent terrorist attacks launched from Gaza.”

Under the government of Erdogan, the relationships between Turkey and the Palestinian Authority they were not very narrow, since the president Mahmoud Abbas did not like the warm ties between Turkey Y Hamas. However, both parties have tried to show an image of cooperation and solidarity. In 2014-2015, the cooperation strengthened as Turkey strove to support Palestine’s observer status at the United Nations. In January 2015, Mahmoud Abbas was the first guest to stay in the new palace of Erdogan, inaugurated after the latter was elected president. The efforts made by Erdogan to reconcile between the Palestinian Authority Y Hamas they were welcomed by both parties.

Therefore, the new regional strategic context has pushed Erdogan to try again to reconcile Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, under his tutelage. In September 2020, the top leaders of Fatah came to Turkey, as Mahmoud Abbas gave the green light to the talks after he urged Erdogan to support Palestinian unity. Rival Palestinian factions will meet in Istanbul for direct talks aimed at ending the 15-year gap in Palestinian politics. The conversations would focus on “end the division and implement the directives of the conference of Palestinian faction chiefs”, Referring to a recent joint meeting of senior Palestinian officials who met in response to the UAE’s decision to normalize ties with Israel.

It will be interesting to follow the evolution of Erdogan and the Palestinian leadership after the election of Joe Biden as president of the United States.

Erdogan you will probably regret the good morning when you enjoyed a close relationship with the president Trump.

The Palestinian authority has already approached the new US leadership and, as a first step, has decided to resume security cooperation with Israel. However, the decision of the Palestinian authority has damaged efforts to achieve reconciliation between Fatah y Hamas. The latter now threatens to undermine the agreements reached between the two sides in Turkey on September 24, when they announced the decision to hold legislative and presidential elections, as well as elections for the Palestinian National Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization, within six months.


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