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Turkey's misguided Yemen move

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s backing for the Saudi-led camp in the Yemen crisis aims both at an indirect score-settling with Iran and injecting Gulf money into the veins of the troubled Turkish economy.
Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan arrives for a welcoming ceremony at the Presidential Palace in Ankara, March 3, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR4RUU4
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As soon as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lent support to the Saudi-led military operation against the Houthis in Yemen, some in Turkey were quick to jump on a puzzling argument that Yemen still belonged to the Ottomans. This, however, was hardly a surprise, for we are already familiar with the “New Ottoman” mindset, which imagines that people are looking to Turkey in each and every corner of the Muslim world.

Erdogan saluted that mindset in an interview with the France 24 TV channel. “We support Saudi Arabia's intervention. Turkey may consider providing logistical support based on the evolution of the situation,” he said. Taking an open stance against Iran, Erdogan said that “Iran and the terrorist groups must withdraw” from Yemen. “Iran is trying to chase Daesh from the region only to take its place,” he charged, using the Arabic term for the Islamic State (IS) and implying that Iran should withdraw from Syria and Iraq as well.

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