There isn't much that Turkey's president can do these days to further debase his reputation in the West. Recep Tayyip Erdogan has crushed peaceful protests at home and abroad, closed newspapers, threatened American soldiers, and collectively scapegoated Kurds. But over the weekend, Erdogan managed to go even lower.
At a rally at Kahramanmaras, the Turkish leader brought a trembling 6-year-old girl on stage dressed in military garb and told her she would be honored if she died as a martyr. He sounded like a terrorist. We expect this kind of child abuse from the fanatics in Hamas or Hezbollah. Erdogan though is the leader of an important NATO ally.
Turkey is beginning to resemble Pakistan, a perpetually failing state whose military leadership has tolerated and advanced a vision of political Islam deeply hostile to U.S. and Western interests.
Shock! Horror! "He sounded like a terrorist." Like someone from Hamas, Al Qaeda or ISIS. He sounded like a pukka Muslim. Turkey was the center of Islamic power over a century ago. Erdogan wants to recreate that with himself in charge. He wants to appeal to Muslims by being on the right side of Jihad. He is an enemy of the West.