The narrative, behavior pattern and policy decisions of Turkey’s chief political Islamist Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggests that he believes the caliphate can be resurrected, with himself as the sole contender to become caliph, thereby gaining autonomous political authority over at least part of the Islamic world.
For this grand ambition, Erdoğan has built a personality cult to reflect his image in the government and many political lackeys just parrot what he says or take their cues from Erdoğan’s speeches. Sensing “Master” Erdoğan’s (the name people around him call him) expectations on this matter, his protégée and caretaker Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu publicly announced in Skopje last week that his government will deliver a Turkish flag, Quran and Turkish dictionary to each and every home in Macedonia. Speaking at a political convention in his hometown Konya a few days later, Davutoğlu joyfully reaffirmed this utterly interventionist policy that is sure to raise eyebrows in many capitals in the Balkans.
As the political Islamist government finds it increasingly difficult to manage its affairs amid a deepening crisis of governance in Turkey, the suspension of the rule of law and gross violation of rights and liberties, we’ll likely see more religiously toned rhetoric and policy actions that are motivated by ideological considerations. Davutoğlu’s holding hands with Hamas leader Khalid Mashaal — who showed up in a surprise visit to Turkey — at a political rally is another indication that sensitive issues that draw the attention of pious Muslims, such as Palestinians, will be played out loudly in the coming months.