PRAYER ALERT: Sunday’s Turkey elections broke President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 13-year-long iron-fisted rule. Though he was not on the ballot, Erdogan’s pro-Islam Justice & Development Party (AKP) won only 41% of the vote and 258 seats in Turkey’s 550-seat parliament. The AKP needed to win 276 seats in the Turkey elections to stay in power. Now Erdogan has 45 days to form a new government.
But none of the rival parties are willing to form a coalition with him. The pro-Kurdish HDP party won more than 10% of the votes in the Turkey elections, qualifying for seats for the first time. HDP refuses to partner with AKP. So do the secular parties. They campaigned against the AKP as a personality cult built around Erdogan. This cult has gained the devotion of more than half of Turkey’s media. They have turned a blind eye to Erdogan’s new $615 million 1150-room presidential palace. This luxurious palace is rumored to have gold-plated toilet seats.
The Turkey elections were a stunning rebuke to Erdogan’s tyrannical rule. Voter derailed Erdogan’s plans to rewrite Turkey’s constitution and change its parliamentary system into a presidential prop. Erdogan was hoping to make Turkey the center of a revived Islamic Ottoman Empire. He aspired to be its ruling caliph. He was even seen as using ISIS—which also has ambitions to rule a world Sunni caliphate—to achieve his ends. Secretly, Sunni-dominated Turkey has allowed hundreds of ISIS recruits to cross its border and fight in Shiite-led Syria. This has alienated Turkey’s other Shiite-led neighbors, Iraq and Iran, as well Iran’s sponsor Russia.
It has also strained Turkey’s relations with the US and the West. The US has committed $500 million to train troops jointly with Turkey to attack ISIS. Now Turkey’s foreign minister says that some of the troop will be used to defeat Syria’s government instead. The US shot back that ISIS would be the sole target of those troops.
But is the US actually helping jihadists like ISIS, by supporting Islamic supremacists like Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood?
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