Turkey’s strongman, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, may have exhibited all possible features of political Islam since he came to power fifteen years ago, but at least he has been bold and honest about his understanding of Islamism: There is no moderate Islam, he recently said again.
This comment does not mark any U-turn, or a radical deviation from his earlier freshman-self back in the 2000s. The problem is that his Western “allies” have stubbornly preferred to turn a blind eye to his poster-child Islamism. Worse, they still do.
Several years ago, Erdogan’s ideological-self clearly stated that “Turkey is not a country where moderate Islam prevails.” In the same speech, his pragmatic-self — the one that wanted to look pretty to a chorus of Western praise — added that, “We are Muslims who have found a middle road”. But which “middle road?”
In the several years that followed, Erdogan proudly exhibited another feature of Islamism in a make-believe assertion: Muslims never do wrong; if a Muslim does wrong then he is not Muslim.