Erdogan Unbound

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave a speech in Istanbul yesterday that included a crazed denunciation of the West:

“The only condition to overcome the crisis in the Islamic world is unity, solidarity and alliance,” he said. “Believe me, we can resolve every problem as long as we are united.”

Erdogan says there is no use counting on help from the Western world.

“I speak openly, foreigners love oil, gold, diamonds, and the cheap labor force of the Islamic world,” he said. “They like the conflicts, fights and quarrels of the Middle East. Believe me, they don’t like us.”

“They look like friends, but they want us dead, they like seeing our children die,” the president went on.

This is insane. On Wednesday, according to AFP, Erdoğan insulted the United States, specifically:

“Why is somebody coming to this region from 12,000 kilometers (7,000 miles) away? I want you to know that we are against impertinence, recklessness and endless demands,” he added.

The comment was made shortly after US Vice President Joe Biden visited Turkey. Biden’s negotiations with Erdogan failed to resolve the differences between the two NATO allies.

Left wing demonstrators shout anti-U.S. slogan during a protest against the visit of U.S. Vice President Biden, in central Istanbul

Tempting though it may be to sympathize with critics of Joe Biden, it should be unacceptable for the head of a foreign state to treat a representative of the U.S. in this manner, or generally to whip up hatred against the U.S. and the West as Erdoğan is doing. Turkey is ostensibly our ally, a member of NATO. How can the leader of a nation that belongs to NATO tell his people that Westerners want to see their children dead? This is a contradiction that should be resolved sooner rather than later.

Barack Obama has described Erdoğan as one of the foreign leaders to whom he is personally closest. Perhaps Obama has changed his mind, or maybe he shares Erdoğan’s opinion of America and the West, which closely resembles Jeremiah Wright’s. But the Muslim world is sliding rapidly toward the abyss, and Erdoğan apparently is happy to give it one more push. This is one turkey that the American president shouldn’t pardon.

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