The Turkish people have voted in effect to make President Erdogan their Muslim dictator. They have voted “Yes” to make Turkey great again. This is what Kemal Ataturk feared when he established the modern Turkish Republic after WWI and made it a secular democracy. He deliberately separated State and religion and when asked about this he said “religion is a private matter.” He stood for a smaller, secular Turkey and he was the one who abolished the Caliphate that had ruled the Turkish Empire. Erdogan and his avid followers are those who, while proclaiming support for Ataturk’s vision of Turkey, have in fact destroyed it.
Yet, in terms of Islam, Erdogan is a moderate. He fights against the Islamic State. But, part of the reason he does is that he would prefer to see the Islamic State in Turkey. He would like to return to the days of the Turkish Empire, when Turkey was a great power. Yet, Turkey was then, and to some extent still remains, “the sick man of Europe.” On TV from Lebanon I saw a young Arab Muslim woman (uncovered by any hijab or scarf) proclaim enthusiastically that the Arab peoples support this vote of the Turksih people and pray for Turkey to become a strong power again in opposition to the Western imperialists, the USA, Britain and Israel. One might be forgiven for thinking that after 800 years of Turkish domination the Arabs might have learned something. But, no they are praying for Turkey to lead the Sunni Muslim world again against the Western powers.
This desire to be great again is a world-wide phenomenon, encompassing Trump in the USA, Putin in Russia, the British with their Brexit from the EU, Marie Le Pen in France, and the rulers of modern China. It is a good thing that Trump and Pres Xi Jinping of China had a good meeting in Florida, since these two countries are likely to be the leaders of a bipolar world again. This is all a reaction to the kind of policies formulated and implemented by the small minds of the liberal elite, exemplified by former Pres. Obama. His policies of “when in doubt do nothing,” have left the vacuums that others have tried to fill. Thus, we have IS and Syria and Ukraine and North Korea. Hopefully, Pres. Trump has responded to these dangers and started a US comeback to fill those vacuums and restore some kind of stability to the world. But, there are more challenges ahead, not least of which will be a resurgent Turkey.