Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is not known for his diplomatic diligence when it comes to criticizing in the name of Islam. For quite a while, Saudi Arabia was the only country around which Erdogan and his advocates treaded rather carefully. Even during the Qatar crisis in June, Erdogan directed his displeasure toward the United States and struggled to convince Saudi Arabia, without angering the kingdom, to end the crisis.
Those days are over. Saudi Arabia no longer enjoys immunity from being thrashed by media who favor Erdogan and his Justice and Development Party (AKP). On Nov. 9, speaking at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) summit on women’s entrepreneurship, Erdogan targeted Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s commitment to lead his country to "moderate Islam." Erdogan said, “They are now trying to pump up this idea again. What is that? Moderate Islam! The patent on the term ‘moderate Islam’ belongs to the West." Then Erdogan delivered a line he has said before: “Islam cannot be [classified] as moderate or immoderate.” Erdogan even went on to ridicule the Saudi regime for promoting moderate Islam when it didn't even allow women to drive until recently.