The Erdogan Enigma

NEW YORK – Recep Erdogan is the President of Turkey, one of the most complex nations in the world at the moment. His economy is crumbling, he is responsible for holding a North Carolina pastor in jail on bogus charges of attempting to overthrow the Turkish government, and he has made it clear that he intends to gather a massive Islamic force to remove Christianity from Europe in a “war between the cross and the crescent.”

Recep Erdogan, President of Turkey: holding a North Carolina pastor in jail the past 2 years. Andrew Brunson waits a hearing for his appeal to be realeased
Turkish President Recep Erdoğan

Yet, he is in New York meeting with American investor hoping to gain support to keep his country’s economy afloat.

Pastor Andrew Brunson has been held as a prisoner for over two years, although he was recently removed from jail and has been kept under house arrest while awaiting another hearing in his appeal to be released. That hearing is scheduled October 12th.

Most observers believe that Recep Erdogan is holding Pastor Brunson as a bargaining chip for some undetermined point when he needs some negotiating leverage with the U.S.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expects to meet with Erdogan this week prior “to discuss Brunson’s fate.”

Many are taking offense as the on-again/off-again NATO ally continues to play political games with the U.S. over Russian, neighboring Syria, Iran, ISIS, and Al Qaeda, yet courts American investors to bail his country out of its financial woes.

Commissioner Nadine Maenza of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is warning American investors to think twice before encouraging Erdogan, especially while Brunson continues to be held in custody.

It’s such an unstable country right now and the human rights violations that are occurring are so troubling as we’re seeing with Andrew Brunson that we would really caution businesses to be careful about investing in Turkey.

Another issue fanning the flames is an agreement signed by Recep Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September in which Erdogan promised to withdraw “all radical terrorist groups” from Idlib, Syria, by October 15th. Observers are still waiting to see to where he expects to withdraw those troops, including 10,000 associated with Al Qaeda.

It is widely expected that he will allow them into Turkey to help offset internal threats to his administration from Kurdish fighters that seek to have Erdogan overthrown.

Erdogan is looking for wins on every front – continuing to enable the establishment of a Turkish-led Islamic caliphate, holding Pastor Brunson, enticing American investors, expanding Turkish influence into Northern Syria, and keeping his fragile relationship with the United States intact (to the extent that he needs to do so).

Recep Erdogan appears to be steering Turkey to a point when he will no longer be dependent on the U.S. and our other NATO allies. When that happens, we will lose access to strategic military bases that are vital for the protection of Israel and in the war against terror.

The coming week will give us more insight into the role of Turkey in these last days.


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