‘The world is greater than 5!’

‘The world is greater than 5!’

So, what does the world equal? All 193 U.N. member nations as permanent members of the Security Council, all with veto powers? One country representing each monotheistic faith plus China (or North Korea) to represent atheism? What’s the ideal world order in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s mind? Turkey, the Gaza Strip, Qatar, Sudan and Somalia as the Permanent Five? 

It’s the usual love-hate relationship with “Satan” being revisited. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose “Strategic Depth” is grounded on the idea of “warding off Western powers from the Muslim backyard,” has now urged Turkey’s Western allies to enact action “that will not remain cosmetic but hard enough to prompt regime change in Damascus.” In more direct wording, Mr. Davutoğlu is urging the West to bomb Damascus hard enough, à la Baghdad. 

It is the Islamist’s usual dilemma: “We hate Satan but would knock on his door when we want it to use the force it possesses – but we don’t – for our political interests. Until, of course, the day when we possess that supreme power and use it against both our Muslim enemies and the West.” 

If “the world is greater than five,” and “Turkey is a world power,” why does the all-too-mighty Ankara not do the job it anxiously asks of the Western powers? Why does Turkey need the “services” of the powers it aims to “ward off from the Muslim backyard” for a matter that is entirely a Muslim conflict? I know the Turkish Islamists would love to see Christian soldiers in Damascus doing the job for their Muslim brothers. 

Meanwhile, the AKP’s deputy chairman, Mehmet Ali Şahin, has claimed that Russia provided Damascus with the chemical weapons the al-Assad regime allegedly used to kill civilians. Therefore, Mr. Şahin says, Russia is also responsible for the 21st century’s first chemical attack on innocent people. And, according to Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, “if there is going to be punishment for the use of chemical weapons, it seems like this will be done by the United States.” Dear Islamists, please decide if you want to ward off Western powers from the Muslim backyard or invite them to any bomb party of your convenience. 

But putting Russia into the picture dangerously enlarges the target. For a safer Turkey, we all should pray that Mr. Davutoğlu does not insist that Turkey’s Western allies should bomb, after Damascus, Moscow as well, where “the administration has equal responsibility for the chemical attack.” And I personally would be very horrified by the idea that one day, the Crescent and Star, ruled by the same Islamist mind, possesses the weaponry the Western powers today possess. This month we bomb Damascus, next month it’s Cairo and in winter, Moscow. Tel Aviv can wait until spring. 

A year or so ago, Prime Minister Erdoğan and his high commissioner for the Middle East, Balkans, Africa, the Caucasus and the rest of the world were cashing in the domestic political gains they had made from deceptively reviving the average Turkish voter’s Ottoman dreams. 

Today, they are rather preoccupied by minimizing the potential domestic political losses, ahead of three elections in two years, following shattered dreams. Hence their immediate need for action in Damascus today, and in Cairo tomorrow – yes, Tel Aviv can wait until spring. 

Professor Davutoğlu has been under particular pressure “to score” something, and if the West hits Damascus hard, that could be nicely sold in Turkey as a “grandiose Turkish success in hitting a bloodthirsty dictator hard.” Here is a tip for the ruling party’s always-pristine propaganda department: If not for our government’s vigorous efforts, the dictator al-Assad could have killed hundreds of thousands more. 

So, Professor Davutoğlu; can we ward off major powers from our (Muslim) backyard? Would Muslims in this part of the world live happily ever after without the major powers? Are you sure that the biggest obstacle to peace in the Middle East is Israel? Are you sure Israel and only Israel is killing Muslims? And are you sure you can ward off Satan from your backyard and call it back to hit your enemies with its military might at your convenience? Good luck.