Foreign Affairs. Geopolitics. National Security.

From a Glorious Empire to FATF’S Grey List : Where is Turkey Heading ?

Samixa Khantwal
Tue, 26 Oct 2021   |  Reading Time: 3 minutes

In the history of various empires in the world , the Ottoman empire was considered as one of the most stable empire ruling for more than 600 years between 1300 – 1922 AD. Along with being stable , it was also an amalgamation of various religions , ethnicities and cultures nurturing under a common ruler.

Turkey being the epicenter of the Ottoman empire , had the strategic importance of connecting three continents i.e. Asia, Europe and Africa along with serving as the most important trade link between the western and the eastern world by commanding the sea trade routes of the Mediterranean sea , Red sea and the Persian gulf.

Spiritually Ottoman empire was regarded as the protector of Sunni Islam by all the Muslims in the world and the Caliph was seen as the Guardian of the Muslims all over the world. As happens to every empire, Ottoman empire also saw its end in 1922 when the country woke up to independence under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal “Ataturk” who defeated the allied proxies, abolished Caliphate and established the Republic of Turkey on 29 Oct, 1923 and became its first president .

A President who made Turkey a secular and a modern nation , unlike the other Muslim majority nations , by separating the religion from the state along with making gender equality and education a top priority . He took several such reforms and took Turkey on a path of progressive economy by establishing good foreign relations .
After Mustafa’s death in 1938, since the responsibility of continuing Turkey as a secular state was vested with the military, several coups happened leading to political and economic instability within the country .

Coming to Erdogan’s rule who became Prime minister in 2003 and pulled the country out of poverty , gave opportunities to the entrepreneurs and expanded access to the foreign markets . Economy flourished giving a boost to Erdogan’s popularity. But who knew that Turkey was under the rule of a so-called democratically elected leader who has now begun to show the intentions of becoming a dictator or most probably has already become one .
Ruling Turkey for almost 17 years now, first as a PM and now as a President, Erdogan has started to take his country on a downhill which has become clear with the inclusion of Turkey in FATF’S grey list .

From a secular, modern nation ; Turkey is again reverting back to conservatism and authoritarian regime under its president. Erdogan’s fantasies of becoming a Caliph and establishing a Caliphate in Turkey as was in the Ottoman Empire are taking his country to a pitfall from which rising up again would be very difficult.

Erdogan seems to be inspired from Chinese president Xi Jinping’s aspirations of becoming the global super power but he is surely not looking at the fact that at least China had such intention after it became an economic superpower but looking at Turkey’s economic condition, it seems that it still has a long way to go before it could even manage to intend so. Rising cases of bribery and corruption charges against the top government officials including the president himself are the proof itself that it has a lot to refine at home before claiming to become a Messiah of the Islamic world .

So will Turkey become a Caliphate again ? Certainly not but one thing which is quite certain is that the arrogant and the authoritative nature of the Turkish president might lead Turkey towards the path of self destruction which will eventually harm the country , which I think has already begun .


The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not reflect the views of Chanakya Forum. All information provided in this article including timeliness, completeness, accuracy, suitability or validity of information referenced therein, is the sole responsibility of the author. does not assume any responsibility for the same.

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