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Is Turkey going to reinstate the caliphate?

On Dec. 14, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unexpectedly declared national mobilization. Addressing muhktars (elected village and neighborhood headmen), Erdogan said, “Henceforth, neither terrorists nor their supporters will have a minute of peace.” He encouraged security forces not to hesitate to use their powers, while reiterating that Turkey cannot stay on the defensive but from now on will go on the offensive against terror organizations. The public could not figure out what to do with the idea of national mobilization, which Turkey had not experienced since the 1940s, the World War II era. On Dec.15, Erdogan elaborated that the national mobilization meant national solidarity. But Turkish mainstream media was already discussing what national mobilization entails. Why would Erdogan continue increasing the social pressure on the country given the distressing economic and political trends?

For most Turks, mobilization means calling up army reserves and commandeering private buses and trucks for military service.

Looking at the recent events in the country, we can detect a pattern of extreme rhetoric that puts Erdogan’s most recent words into perspective.

After the twin bombings in Istanbul, Erdogan and his cohorts took it as a personal mission to save Aleppo. Hence, on Dec. 13, the Islamist group Hizb ut-Tahrir organized a rally in Istanbul to protest against Russia. The Russian Consulate in Istanbul is located on the famous Istiklal Avenue, where thousands marched, chanting “God is Great” (Allahu Akbar), “The only path is martyrdom,” “Murderer Russia, get out of Turkey.”


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