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Syria, Egypt Reveal Erdogan's "Hidden Agenda'

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Now it seems Erdogan's "Turkey is already carefully backpedaling" on its foreign policy," said Seufert. It "wants to reconnect" with Iran and "Washington's request to end support for radical groups in Syria did not fall on deaf Turkish ears."

"Reconnecting" with Iran and its Iraqi ruling sectarian brethren will alienate further the Saudis who could not tolerate similar reconnection by their historical and strategic US ally and who were already furious over Erdogan's alliance with the Qatari financed and US sponsored Muslim Brotherhood and did not hesitate to publicly risk a rift with their US ally over the removal of the MBI from power in Egypt five months ago.

Within this context came Davotoglu's recent visit to Baghdad, which " highlighted the need for great cooperation between Turkey and Iraq against the Sunni-Shiite conflict," according to www.turkishweekly.net on this November 13. Moreover, he "personally" wanted " to spend the month of Muharram every year in (the Iraqi Shiite holy places of) Karbala and Najaf with our (Shiite) brothers there."

Within the same "backpedaling" context came Erdogan's playing the host last week to the president of the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government , Massoud Barzani, not in Ankara, but in Diyarbakir, which Turkish Kurds cherish as their capital in the same way Iraqi Kurds cherish Kirkuk.

However, on the same day of Barzani's visit Erdogan ruled out the possibility of granting Turkish Kurds their universal right of self-determination when he announced "Islamic brotherhood" as the solution for the Kurdish ethnic conflict in Turkey, while his deputy, Bulent Arinc, announced that "a general amnesty" for Kurdish detainees "is not on today's agenda." Three days earlier, on this November 15, Turkish President Abdullah Gul said, "Turkey cannot permit (the) fait accompli" of declaring a Kurdish provisional self-rule along its southern borders in Syria which his prime minister's counterproductive policies created together with an al-Qaeda-dominated northeastern strip of Syrian land.

Erdogan's neo-Ottomanism charged by his Islamist sectarian ideology as a tool has backfired to alienate both Sunni and Shiite regional environment, the Syrian, Iraqi, Egyptian, Emirati, Saudi and Lebanese Arabs, Kurds, Armenians, Israelis and Iranians as well as Turkish and regional liberals and secularists. His foreign policy is in shambles with a heavy economic price as shown by the recent 13.2% devaluation of the Turkish lira against the US dollar.

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"Backpedaling" might be too late to get Erdogan and his party through the upcoming local elections next March and the presidential elections which will follow in August next year.

* Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories. Email address removed

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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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