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Talking Turkey: What Are Erdoğan’s Mideast Ambitions?

Talking Turkey: What Are Erdoğan’s Mideast Ambitions?

Date and time: Wednesday, July 22, 2020, 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time (UTC-4)

Register here.

Featuring Dr. Aykan Erdemir, former member of the Turkish Parliament and Foundation for Defense of Democracies scholar.

Last week, the world was stunned to watch Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s move to convert the Hagia Sophia from a museum into a mosque, reversing the 1934 decision by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, the founding father of the secular republic of Turkey.

What many missed is that Turkey’s Islamist strongman also vowed that “the resurrection of Hagia Sophia heralds the liberation of al-Aqsa Mosque.”

This is not the first time that Erdoğan has called the Islamic world to unite against Israel and “liberate” Jerusalem.

Do Erdoğan’s latest moves and rhetoric mark a new phase in his Islamist policies? Will the Turkish strongman pose a new threat to Israel? What are Erdoğan’s ambitions in the Middle East and beyond?

Dr. Aykan Erdemir is the senior director of the Turkey Program at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. He is a former member of the Turkish Parliament who served in the EU-Turkey Joint Parliamentary Committee, EU Harmonization Committee, and the Ad Hoc Parliamentary Committee on the IT Sector and the Internet. As an outspoken defender of pluralism, minority rights, and religious freedoms in Turkey and the Middle East, Dr. Erdemir has been at the forefront of the struggle against violent extremism, religious persecution, hate crimes, and hate speech. He is a founding and steering committee member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief, and a drafter of and signatory to the Oslo Charter for Freedom of Religion or Belief as well as a signatory legislator to the London Declaration on Combating Antisemitism. He also serves on Anti-Defamation League’s Task Force on Middle East Minorities. Dr. Erdemir was awarded the Stefanus Prize for Religious Freedom in 2016 and the First Freedom Award of the Hellenic American Leadership Council in 2019 in recognition of his advocacy for minority rights and religious freedoms. He has received his BA in international relations from Bilkent University, Ankara, and MA in Middle Eastern studies and Ph.D. in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. Dr. Erdemir is co-author of the book Antagonistic Tolerance: Competitive Sharing of Religious Sites and Spaces (Routledge, 2016) and FDD report, “Brothers in Arms: The Consolidation of the Turkey-Qatar Axis” (2019).

Give the Gift of Trusted News!

Dear friends,

The Media Line is always there to report to you the stories and issues of the Middle East – completely and in context: TML is the source you can trust.

Know The Media Line to Know The Middle East!

Please support our ad-free, nonprofit news agency. Our seasoned journalists reporting from the Middle East are working day and night during these challenging, yet defining times; and our student interns are honing their knowledge and skills, preparing to emerge as tomorrow’s journalists.

You rely on us and we’re relying on you! Make your online tax-deductible donation here and contact us regarding donations through appreciated stock, donor advised funds, qualifying IRA distributions and other charitable instruments.

Thank you for confidence in The Media Line.
 
Felice Friedson
Founder, President

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