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Erdogan's Sin of Hubris

Israel's national security leaders struggle with predicting the future of the region.
Anti-government protesters try to extinguish a burning container in Istanbul's Taksim square June 4, 2013. It was not clear why the container was on fire. Pockets of protesters clashed with Turkish riot police overnight and a union federation began a two-day strike on Tuesday as anti-government demonstrations in which two people have died stretched into a fifth day. REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis (TURKEY - Tags: CIVIL UNREST POLITICS) - RTX10B5F
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No one in the Israeli establishment expects the destabilization of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime in Turkey. True, there may be weak glimmers of secret hopes and dreams, but the Israeli system — the diplomatic and defense establishments as one — tries to maintain a strong grip on reality, and it knows that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is still powerful and enjoys the fidelity of most of Turkey's public. It will take time until his grip on government institutions and sources of power will truly deteriorate. "What is happening there now," says a diplomatic Israeli source, "is not expected to undermine Erdogan's rule, but can definitely rock his self-confidence."

This assessment should not be belittled, because many people feel that Erdogan's self-confidence is the evil root in his dealings with his surroundings in general, and Israel in specific. Erdogan's growing appetite has become truly swinish and planted in him the messianic belief that he was sent directly by the Divine Presence to return Turkey to its days of glory and rebuild the Ottoman Empire. This was viewed by many as the main source of Erdogan's megalomania that is now absorbing a strong, unexpected blow from the masses in Istanbul's squares, who call him "tyrant" and "dictator." Until only recently, Erdogan used exactly these same epithets for his eastern neighbor, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. It is truly a small world.

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