President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey spoke at a Ramadan feast at his palace last month in Ankara. Credit Yasin Bulbul/Presidential Palace, via Reuters
New York Times: Turkish Leader Erdogan Making New Enemies and Frustrating Old Friends
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, strode onto a stage a month ago looking down upon a sea of a million fans waving red Turkish flags. They were celebrating the 15th-century conquest of Istanbul by the Ottoman sultan Mehmed II, the golden moment of Turkey’s Muslim ancestors triumphing over the Christian West.
“The conquest means going beyond the walls that the West thought were impervious,” Mr. Erdogan said as the crowd roared. “The conquest means a 21-year-old sultan bringing Byzantium to heel.”
The spectacle, complete with a fighter-jet sky show and a re-enactment of the conquest with fireworks and strobe lights, projected an image of unity and command, of a nation marching together toward greatness, drawing on the achievements of a glorious past. But that soaring vision is being grounded by sobering realities.
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WNU Editor: Even though Turkish President Erdogan has gone out of his way to come to some form of reconciliation with Russia and Israel (which is just one small step in a long process) .... he has alienated everyone in the West on his treatment of the press, the immigration issue, the war against the Kurds, supporting the rebel movement in Syria, and turning a blind eye to the Islamic State. Not surprising .... Turkey is becoming persona non grata .... Istanbul nearly a ghost town as tourists stay away (AFP)
Update: Even the Turks are now beginning to turn against him .... Turks hit back at Erdogan plan to give Syrians citizenship (BBC)