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Russian Imperialism Meets Illusions Of Ottoman Grandeur

Original newz story - Click here

Submitted by Burak Bekdil via The Gatestone Institute,

Earlier in 2015, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said that he found it difficult to understand what Russia was doing in Syria, since “it does not even border Syria.”

By that logic, Turkey should not be “doing anything” in the Palestinian territories, Somalia, Egypt, Pakistan, Afghanistan or any of the non-bordering lands into which its neo-Ottoman impulses have pushed it.

In a 2012 speech, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, then foreign minister, predicted that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s days in power were numbered and that he would depart “within months or weeks.” Almost three and a half years have passed, with Assad still in power, and Davutoglu keeps on making one passionate speech after another about the fate of Syria.



Turkey’s failure to devise a credible policy on Syria has made the country’s leaders nervous. Both Davutoglu and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have lately resorted to more aggressive, but less convincing, rhetoric on Syria. The new rhetoric features many aspects of a Sunni Islamist thinking blended with illusions of Ottoman grandeur.

On December 22, Davutoglu said, “Syrian soil is not, and will not be, part of Russia’s imperialistic goals.” That was a relief to know! All the same, Davutoglu could have been more direct and honest if he said that: “Syrian soil will not be part of Russia’s imperialistic goals because we want it to be part of Turkey’s pro-Sunni, neo-Ottoman imperialistic goals.”

It is obvious that Davutoglu’s concern is not about a neighboring territory becoming a theater of war before it serves any foreign nation’s imperialistic goals. His concern, rather, is that neighboring soil will become a theater of war and serve a pro-Shiite’s imperialist goals. Hardly surprising.

“What,” Davutoglu asked Russia, “is the basis of your presence in Syria?” The Russians could unconvincingly reply to this unconvincing question: “Fighting terror, in general, and ISIL in particular.”

But then Davutoglu claims that the Russian military hits more “moderates” (read: merely jihadist killers, not to be mixed with jihadist barbarians who behead people and cheerfully release their videos). Translation: more Islamist targets and fewer ISIL targets.

A legitimate question to ask the Turkish prime minister might be: What is the basis of “moderate” Islamists’ presence in Syria — especially when we know that a clear majority of the “moderate” fighters are not even Syrians. According to Turkish police records, they are mainly Chinese Uighurs, several Europeans and even one from Trinidad and Tobago.

Could the basis be the religious bond? Could Prime Minister Davutoglu have politely reminded the Russians that the “moderate” fighters are Muslim whereas Russia is not? But then, one should ask, using Davutoglu’s logic, “What is the basis of the U.S.-led Western coalition’s airstrikes in Syria?” Since when are the Americans, British, Germans and French Muslims?

In Turkish thinking,…