EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is focusing his Islamization policy on the education system in his bid to raise a “pious generation”. “Jihad” has become a frequent reference in the Turkish regime’s rhetoric, while Syrians in the country and in areas controlled by Turkish troops in northern Syria are eating off the same plate. The international community should act to stop a “Turkish bin Laden” in the making and al-Qaeda-like authoritarian rule.
The Turkish regime is gradually transforming into a developed, complicated, and more dangerous version of the al-Qaeda organization. The rhetoric and approach seem convergent or even identical. The difference is that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is leading a country of significant geopolitical importance, not a militant group scattered across Afghanistan’s mountains.
If al-Qaeda succeeded in spreading fear across the globe through its terrorist operations, one can only imagine the extreme damage Erdoğan can cause to the MENA region and even the world, particularly in view of his increasing political paranoia and totalitarianism. As he seeks to stay in power indefinitely following a referendum that granted him sweeping powers to run the country largely uncontested, Erdoğan is trying to leave a legacy that will last for decades. To that end, he is using the education system as a repository in which to sow seeds to be harvested later.