Ankara and Riyadh maintain uneasy alliance - FT.com
Just as every European nation still seeks to be the next iteration of the Roman Empire.
More after the jump.
"To begin with, not-so-distant history sits uncomfortably between them. It was the Ottoman Empire that intervened in the 19th century to destroy the first two states created by the ruling House of Saud.
Saudi Arabia, moreover, is an absolute monarchy. The House of Saud is legitimized in large part by a clerical establishment with its roots in Wahhabism, a profoundly literalist and puritan interpretation of Islam that regards most other creeds as anathema — especially Shia Islam, which it depicts as an idolatrous fifth column operating to advance Iran’s interests in Arab lands.
Turkey, after 14 years led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as prime minister and now as president, and his net-islamist Justice and Development party (AKP) has been on a rollercoaster of change, first towards a Muslim analogue of Christian Democracy aligned with Europe, then slipping into an authoritarian presidential system in which Mr Erdogan, his critics say, is seeking one-man rule equivalent to a modern sultan."
Unlike so many articles, this one actually points out the internecine struggles within the Sunni, and the existentially of the Sunni v. Shia struggle.
"Saudi Arabia, by virtue of being the birthplace of Islam and custodian of the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, claims leadership of the worldwide umma or Muslim commonwealth of believers.
This is the closest modern equivalent to a caliphate, abolished after the fall of the Ottomans in 1924 — leaving aside the ersatz and savage so-called Islamic State of the jihadis of Isis. Under Mr Erdogan, Turkey has reasserted a neo-Ottoman leadership role across a region in ferment.
Neither national projection has had quite its intended resonance. As understanding grows of how Wahhabi sectarianism fuels jihadi extremism, Saudi influence, already in retreat with the collapsed price of oil, is under question. In Turkey’s case, the regional ambitions of its foreign policy, far from being realized, have brought Ankara into conflict with many of its neighbours.
Both Saudi Arabia and Turkey are long-time allies of the west and Turkey is a member of Nato, yet both have recently had differences with the US and Europe. They have reacted quite differently towards Vladimir Putin’s Russia, after Moscow’s dramatic return to the regional stage."
Saudi's claim of "caliphate" is only in the religious sphere not the executive. Both Turkey, and the House of Saud will be in conflict with neighbors, they both want to be the Caliphate, and supersede their neighbors as overall executive of Pan Arabia, or perhaps more honestly, Pan Islam. The greatest enemies are found among men vying for the same powerful position within an entity, organization, or belief. Just as Hitler and Stalin who were leaders of polities with sister political systems, were arch enemies, so, ultimately, will be Turkey, and the House of Saud. Unless Iran is sufficiently successful to temporarily unite these rivals.
The internecine fighting will weaken the Sunni nations, hopefully this will allow the Islamic Reformation to happen that much sooner. We shall see.