Published in Hurriyet Daily News
Following a trail of setbacks, Islamists in the Arab world have something to celebrate. Their hero, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has won in Turkey’s local elections, a victory Islamists in the Arab world are selling to their followers as their own.
The relationship between Erdoğan and his Arab Islamists is based on mutual exploitation. Erdoğan engineers more domestic popularity for himself by harping on the misfortunes of Islamists. At the same time, Arab Islamists market Erdoğan’s success as proof of the soundness of their ideology, and use his success as a tool to counter misgivings among their junior cadres and supporters.
The essence of this relationship is a mutual feed of victimhood that serves both sides’ interests. Despite the fact that most Arab Islamists acknowledge Erdoğan’s brand of political Islam (which does not promote Sharia) as being different to their own, they have lowered the bar…
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