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Necmettin Erbakan: Erdogan is a helper of the "Zionist world order"

15 November 2010

The involvement of the IHH in the Mavi Marmara on 31st May earlier this year led people to believe that Islamism was a new phenomenon in Turkey. However, the announcement that Necmettin Erbakan, a prominent Turkish politician, will be running again in Turkey’s parliamentary elections next year, at the age of eighty-four, should encourage us to look closer at this idea.

Most people probably haven’t heard of Erbakan; let alone be aware that he was the Prime Minister of Turkey between 1996-97 and that he mentored the current Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. But delve a little into the history of this figure and one quickly realises that Erbakan has been on and off the political scene in Turkey, like political Islamism, since the early 1970s, when  he laid down the foundations of his Islamist ideology in a manifesto called Millî Görü? (National View). Since then Erbakan has led several banned political parties, plus held important government posts such as Deputy Prime Minister and Prime Minister. Despite being forced to step down from the latter position due to pressure from the Turkish army, the guardians of Kemal Ataturk’s secular constitution, Erbakan remained an informal advisor to the government until Erdogan – arguably his star pupil – severed ties with him.

The bitterness of being shunted into the political wilderness seems to have given Erbakan a new lease of life. His Islamist ideals, it would appear, are as strong as ever. In a recent interview with the German newspaper Welt am Sonntag (translated by BBC Monitoring), the former Turkish Prime Minister outlined his plan to make his country “politically and spiritually great” again. Yet, for much of the interview, rather than explaining how he shall reach this vision, he reveals his anti-Western, anti-Zionist and antisemitic views.

Shortly into the interview, Erbakan accuses Erdogan of being an “unconscious helper of the Western, Zionist world order,” which he believes “makes men into slaves.” Following this, he criticises Erdogan for wanting to join the European Union (EU). “Thank God the EU is not accepting us,” says Erbakan, because it is “a part of the Zionist world order.” According to him, therefore, Erdogan’s desire to join the EU naturally makes him a willing component of this “capitalist, Zionist economic system that imposes taxes and goes into debt to give money to the Zionists through interest rates.”

As if Erbakan’s rant against a ‘Zionist world order’ is not enough, further on in the interview he discloses a belief not too dissimilar to those expressed in The Protocols of the Elders of Zion:

Jews have been ruling the world for 5700 years. It is a rule of injustice, cruelty, and violence. They have a strong belief, a religion, and that tells them that they should rule the world. Look at this one dollar note. There is a symbol on it, a pyramid with thirteen layers with an eye at the top. It is the symbol of the Zionist world rule. The layers represent four ‘open’ societies and other secret ones, behind them is a ‘Parliament of three hundred’ and thirty-three Rabbi parliaments, and behind them still other, invisible controllers. They rule the world through the capitalist world order.


One does need to analyse these remarks for long before realising that one of Turkey’s best-known political figures is endorsing a conspiracy theory that is antisemitic to the core.

Considering this, it is unsurprising that Erbakan is no fan of Israelis or the state of Israel. He openly suggests that “if the Israelis want to live in peace, it would perhaps be better if they lived, perhaps, in America.” Like most Islamists, Erbakan here completely ignores the Jewish people’s  historical connections to the land. Also, what does he mean by ‘it would be better if they lived in America’? Is the former prime minister hinting that if the Israelis refuse to leave their homeland, they will be forced out? Erbakan does not explain himself further.

When it comes to the flotilla incident in May, Erbakan is much more forthright. He claims that he encouraged the Turkish Islamist charity IHH, which has strong links with Millî Görü?, to  launch the flotilla. His justification for this is that “Israel understands only the language of power. Words are not enough. You must have power and demonstrate it for Israel to understand

The growth in Islamist ideas in Turkish politics and society provide an important context for Turkey’s relatively recent move away from the West and Israel. That Erdogan is responsible for this shouldn’t shock us either, given  who has mentored and influenced the current Turkish Prime Minister. Erbakan makes the ever increasingly extreme Erdogan appear like a moderate ahead of next year’s election.

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