Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo meets with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Ankara, Turkey on October 17, 2018.

Erdogan’s Neo-Ottoman Aspirations Inspire Islamists

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's once hidden agenda of reviving a modern version of the Ottoman Empire is not so secret in light of recent moves. The world has watched Erdogan use draconian and oppressive methods to beat down domestic critics. The conversion of Hagia Sophia – formerly a Byzantine cathedral – into mosque last month was a symbolic step to inspire Islamists who are longing for a new caliphate. Erdogan's state-controlled media already are calling for the Muslim world's first superpower.

Erdogan's recent military campaigns in the Middle East especially in Iraq, Syria and Libya have been a source of instability and mayhem all across the Middle East, leaving thousands dead. Arab and European countries condemned Turkey's military adventurism, with French President Emmanuel Macron labeling Ankara's Libyan intervention as "criminal."

But Islamists and terrorist affiliates cheered. Last October, the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas issued a statement expressing its approval of Turkish military operations against Kurdish rebel groups in northeast Syria.

Support for Muslim Brotherhood affiliated regimes and governments characterized Erdogan's earlier pan-Islamist policies. That includes Turkey's military support for Tripoli's interim pro-Muslim Brotherhood government. Turkey has dispatched 15,000 Syrian mercenaries to Libya, hoping for a decisive military victory for Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Sarraj's government over Libyan National Army. But the Euro...