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Syria, Egypt Reveal Erdogan's "Hidden Agenda'

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The US and Israel, in earnest to recruit Turkey against Iran, nurtured Erdogan's illusion of regional leadership. He deluded himself with the unrealistic belief that Turkey could stand up to and sidestep the rising stars of the emerging Russian international polar, the emerging Iranian regional polar and the traditional regional players of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, let alone Iraq and Syria should they survive their current internal strife.

For sure, his allies in the Muslim Brotherhood International (MBI) and his thinly veiled Machiavellian logistical support of al-Qaeda -- linked terrorist organizations are not and will not be a counter balance.

He first focused his Arab outreach on promoting the "Turkish model," especially during the early months of the so-called "Arab Spring," as the example he hoped will be followed by the revolting masses, which would have positioned him in the place of the regional mentor and leader.

But while the eruption of the Syrian conflict compelled him to reveal his Islamist "hidden agenda" and his alliance with the MBI, the removal of MBI last July from power in Egypt with all its geopolitical weight, supported by the other regional Arab heavy weight of Saudi Arabia, took him off guard and dispelled his ambitions for regional leadership, but more importantly revealed more his neo-Ottoman "hidden agenda" and pushed him to drop all the secular and liberal pretensions of his "Turkish model" rhetoric.

"Arab Idol' No More

Erdogan and his foreign policy engineer Davotoglu tried as well to exploit the Arab and Muslim adoption of the Palestine Question as the central item on their foreign policy agendas.

Since Erdogan's encounter with the Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Economic Summit in Davos in January 2009, the Israeli attack on the Turkish humanitarian aid boat to Gaza, Mavi Marmara, the next year and Turkey's courting of the Islamic Resistance Movement "Hamas," the de facto rulers of the Israeli besieged Palestinian Gaza Strip, at the same time Gaza was targeted by the Israeli Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009 then targeted again in the Israeli Operation Pillar of Defense in 2012, Turkey's premier became the Arab idol who was invited to attend Arab Leage summit and ministerial meetings.

However, in interviews with ResearchTurkey, CNN Turk and other media outlets, Abdullatif Sener, a founder of Erdogan's AKP party who served as deputy prime minister and minister of finance in successive AKP governments for about seven years before he broke out with Erdogan in 2008, highlighted Erdogan's Machiavellianism and questioned the sincerity and credibility of his Islamic, Palestinian and Arab public posturing.

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"Erdogan acts without considering religion even at some basic issues but he hands down sharp religious messages " I consider the AK Party not as an Islamic party but as a party which collect votes by using Islamic discourses," Sener said, adding that, " the role in Middle East was assigned to him" and "t he strongest logistic support" to Islamists who have "been carrying out terrorist activities" in Syria "is provided by Turkey" of Erdogan.

In an interview with CNN Turk, Sener dropped a bombshell when he pointed out that the AKP's spat with Israel was "controlled." During the diplomatic boycott of Israel many tenders were granted to Israeli companies and Turkey has agreed to grant partner status to Israel in NATO: "If the concern of the AKP is to confront Israel then why do they serve to the benefit of Israel?" In another interview he said that the NATO radar systems installed in Malatya are there to protect Israel against Iran.

Sener argued that the biggest winner of the collapse of the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad would be Israel because it will weaken Lebanon's Hizbullah and Iran, yet Erdogan's Turkey is the most ardent supporter of a regime change in Syria, he said.

Erdogan's Syrian policy was the death knell to his strategy of "Zero Problems with Neighbors; " the bloody terrorist swamp of the Syrian conflict has drowned it in its quicksand.

Liz Sly's story in the Washington Post on this November 17 highlighted how his Syrian policies "have gone awry" and counterproductive by "putting al-Qaeda on NATO's (Turkish) borders for the first time."

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With his MBI alliance, he alienated Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, in addition to the other Arab heavy weights of Syria, Iraq and Algeria and was left with "zero friends" in the region.

According to Gunter Seufert , Turkey's overall foreign policy, not only with regards to Syria, "has hit the brick wall" because the leadership of Erdogan's ruling party "has viewed global political shifts through an ideologically (i.e. Islamist) tinted lens."

Backpedaling too late

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*Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist in Kuwait, Jordan, UAE and Palestine. He is based in Ramallah, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories.

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Nice, informative article. Thanks!... by Peter Duveen on Friday, Nov 22, 2013 at 5:10:35 AM