Part of the inflammatory anti-Western Turkish rhetoric and exploits may be aiming at luring an increasingly isolated and nationalistic voter base ahead of a critical referendum on April 16 that aims significantly to broaden Erdogan’s presidential powers. But it is also about the fact that Erdogan views and portrays himself as the global champion of an opaque “Muslim cause,” under Turkish [read: Erdogan’s] caliphate-like leadership against the “hostile” West. As Islamists know that they cannot defeat the West by using hard power, it is about “soft jihad.”
It was not without a reason that Turkey’s Foreign Minister Cavusoglu did not talk about a “dispute,” or a “diplomatic crisis,” or “negotiations for a solution.” He did talk about “religious wars.”
“Soon religious wars will break out in Europe,” he said. “That’s the way it’s going.” But how do Turkish (and other) Islamists think they can win future religious wars? How do they think their primary warfare instrument, soft power, would work for an ultimate Islamic victory over an “infidel” civilization?
Erdogan has the answer: He urged Muslims across Europe to have big families to “fight the injustices of the West.” And not just that:
Go live in better neighbourhoods. Drive the best cars. Live in the best houses. Make not three, but five children. Because you are the future of Europe. That will be the best response to the injustices against you.
Islamists like Erdogan do not dream of “conquering” infidel lands with fighter jets and tanks and bombs. In this “war of religion” their primary weaponry is demographic change in favor of Muslims.
It is time to recall the poem Erdogan recited at a public rally back in 1999: “The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers.”
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