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Why the Arabs like Erdoğan

13 18 883

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is popular in the Arab world, from West to East, perhaps even more so than he is within Turkey itself. The Arabs see Erdoğan as a leader of the Ummah, not only the President of Turkey. Many have drowned in debate and questions about the reasons for his wide popularity among an audience which neither understands the Turkish language nor has been exposed to the Turkish media to have their opinions influenced.

Arabs circulate news and stories about Erdoğan, as if they are telling the stories of great Muslim heroes such as Umar Bin Abd Al-Aziz, Salah Al-Din or Saif Ad-Din Qutuz. Although much of what people say about him is fantasy or wishful thinking, the result is that he enjoys an acceptance that no Arab or Muslim leader has had in decades. Some even refer to him as the Ottoman Caliph or the successor of Sultan Abdul Hamid II, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1876 until he passed away in 1918.

Palestinians who were wounded by Israeli troops during clashes hold portraits of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and celebrate after Erdogan had won in Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip on 25 June, 2018 [Ashraf Amra/Apaimages]

The logical connection between Erdoğan and Sultan Abdul Hamid that exists in the minds of many Arabs has historical origins, of course, in the policy adopted by the Ottomans to strengthen ties between the Muslims. “We must strengthen our ties with the rest of the Muslims........

© Middle East Monitor