Now Erdogan visits Pakistan.
Should we be expecting Bashar Al-Assad to be making any similar trips in the future as well?
If so, he would be hard-pressed to match Erdogan for rhetoric:
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan this week toured parts of Pakistan devastated by floods, using the visit to attack Israel and polish his image as a champion of Muslim solidarity.Very touching--what a guy! What a moderate!!
"My brothers, we share the same faith," Erdogan told his Pakistani counterpart Yousuf Raza Gilani and hundreds of his supporters in a tent near the town of Thatta, which had been evacuated as the waters of the Indus river rose earlier this year.
Erdogan travelled from Islamabad to Karachi with six ministers, flying by helicopter to see aid efforts including a village of 2,000 prefabricated houses built by the Turkish Red Crescent near Multan in eastern Punjab province.
"We love you and I believe you love us. Pakistan... did not abandon us in the 1999 earthquake" which killed some 20,000 people in northwestern Turkey, said Erdogan, who has headed an Islamist-rooted government since 2002.
During the visit, Erdogan -- whose visit had been preceded by that of his wife -- focused his messages on Muslim solidarity and on moderate Islam to beat the challenge of extremism.
"Islam is committed to peace, and we are believers of Islam. Those who follow the faith of Islam cannot kill people," he said, citing a "common battle" against terrorism. [emphasis added]
And to think that this is the same guy who back in 1998 was indicted when, as mayor of Istanbul, he called for Jihad:
On Friday, prosecutors in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir filed charges against Mayor Reccep Tayip Erdogan of Istanbul, in connection with a speech he made in the nearby town of Siirt last year. In that speech, Erdogan, who is a leader of the Islamic-oriented Welfare Party, said, "The mosques are our barracks, the domes are our helmets, the minarets are our swords, and the faithful are our army."Erdogan was sentenced to 10 months in jail--and was freed after four. That was enough to get him a criminal record that should have barred him from ever holing a political office. But in 2003, Parliament amended the constitution and Erdogan was allowed to stand for a parliamentary seat.
The indictment charged that by making that statement, Erdogan was calling his supporters to form "an army of jihad," or holy war. It also charged him with "using democracy to establish an evil order." If convicted, he could face up to three years in prison.
And now he is again using democracy.
(Never trust a leader whose name sounds like a character from Lord of the Rings)
Technorati Tag: Erdogan.