May 31, 2023 Special Dispatch No. 10638

Qatar Celebrates Erdogan's Electoral Win: It's A Victory For The Ottoman Empire And For The Islamic Orientation, And A Defeat For Secularism, Supported By The U.S. And The West

May 31, 2023
Qatar, Turkey | Special Dispatch No. 10638

The victory of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Turkey's presidential runoff was received with satisfaction in Qatar, which is an ally of Turkey.[1]  Upon the announcement of Erdogan's win, Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Aal Thani hurried to congratulate him, tweeting: "My dear brother Recep Tayyip Erdogan, congratulations on your victory, and I wish you success in your new term, and that you achieve in it what the brotherly Turkish people aspire to in terms of progress and prosperity, and for the strong relations of our two countries to further development and growth.”[2] The next day Aal Thani congratulated the Turkish president again in a telephone conversation.[3]  

Already on May 14, following the first round of elections, which was inconclusive, towers in the Qatari city of Lusail were illuminated with the Turkish flag and a picture of Erdogan. On May 28, after his victory was announced, videos on social media showed members of the Turkish expat community in Qatar celebrating in the streets, and Qatari journalists and intellectuals posted tweets praising Erdogan and congratulating him.[4] 

Joy over Erdogan's reelection was also expressed in articles and cartoons in the Qatari press. Editorials and columns celebrated it as "a guarantee of stability and of the continuation of Turkey's [current] policy and positions on the regional and global [levels]," and stated that Erdogan has turned Turkey into a strong, independent and important country with deterring force.[5]  

Some articles presented Erdogan's win as a victory of the Islamic camp over the secularist-Western camp supported by the U.S. They claimed that the U.S. and the West had waged an incitement campaign against him and had made efforts to topple him because he opposed their hegemony and dictates and because of his Islamic orientation. This, they added, is why nations all over the Arab and Muslim world are now celebrating his victory and Turkey's commitment to its Islamic identity. One writer even called Erdogan's reelection "a slap in the face" of the Western countries that had backed his opponent. Some articles claimed that Erdogan is reviving the Ottoman Empire and its Islamic vision, whereas his defeated opponent, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, represents the secularist outlook of Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey, and of the West. Erdogan's reelection, they said, shows that the Turkish people supports the former vision.[6]  

Erdogan wins the election (Al-Sharq, Qatar, May 29, 2023)

The following are translated excerpts from some of these articles:

Editor Of Qatari Daily: The U.S. And The West Acted To Topple Erdogan Because Of His Islamic, Anti-Western Orientation

Jaber Al-Harmi, editor of the Qatari daily Al-Sharq, wrote after the day of Erdogan's win: “It wasn’t easy for Turkey to [remain] under Erdogan's leadership, as it entered its second century as a republic, because [his winning] was a red line for Western and American elements. Arab elements also joined the Western efforts to topple Erdogan in the election, which was the most significant [election] in the modern history of Turkey. During the months before the first round on May 14, the media in the Western capitals kept repeating that Erdogan had to be toppled. It also presented the leader of the opposition, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, as the one who would save Turkey from the regime of Erdogan, a tyrant and dictator with Islamist leanings who rejects the Western and American hegemony over Turkey's policy and decision making and who firmly opposes external dictates.

“Despite all the variables and the political storms, Erdogan has transformed Turkey into a force that the world cannot do without today. Over close to 20 years he elevated Turkey to the level of the superpowers in terms of its economy, military industry and active presence on the global scene, [establishing it as] an important deterrent force. This model [of Turkey under the leadership of Erdogan] is not what the West wants to see in the Arab and Muslim world, because [it fears that] this ‘contagious disease’ will spread to other regions, expanding the scope of this awakening, development and new revival in the Islamic world. Therefore, [as far as the West is concerned,] there is no choice but to sabotage every successful attempt [such as that of Turkey], bury alive every dream of awakening in the Arab and Islamic world and remove every leader who is moving in that direction, in any [possible] way.

“In 2016 they tried to remove Erdogan from power in Turkey, bluntly and by force, with an attempted coup, but they failed. Even before this, and also after, they tried to eliminate and assassinate [Erdogan], but failed. They tried several times [to bring him down] in elections, but failed. This time they tried to do it through international incitement and by recruiting [support] within [Turkey] but all these [efforts] came up against the strength and determination of the Turkish people, who, in spite of all the Western media campaigns, remained united [around Erdogan] and set an example [for the world] when over 90 percent of them thronged to vote…

“Millions of Arabs and Muslims also longed for [Erdogan's] victory in the elections… For, if he lost, millions of oppressed and persecuted people, and the refugees living in Turkey, would pay a heavy price: many [of the refugees] would be subject to harassment, at the very least, if not expelled from Turkey within a few months.

“That is why we see many peoples across the Arab and Islamic world rejoicing that Erdogan has won and that Turkey remains committed to its Islamic [identity], not to the Western direction that opposition leader Kilicdaroglu [espoused] when he declared in public that he wanted to move Turkey from the Arab and Islamic world into the Western [camp]…"

Marvelously, Erdogan's Victory Coincided With The Anniversary Of The Conquest Of Constantinople By The Ottoman Sultan

“Erdogan’s victory in these elections is tantamount to a ‘second Turkish war of independence’ and a decisive phase in the move into a new era, in which Turkey will be more independent and influential in various areas. I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said that this victory releases Turkey from the bottle in which the West tried to keep it in the past hundred years [and where it wanted Turkey to remain] for another hundred years. Therefore, this victory has [considerable] ramifications. It will change the balance of power, engender new alliances, and affect even the international arena…

“Erdogan has been accused of being an oppressive and tyrannical dictator, yet he organized one of the fairest, most transparent, and most reliable elections in the world, as the West has attested. Have you ever heard of a tyrant or dictator who allows other [candidates] to run against him? Moreover, he didn’t manage to beat [his opponent] in the first round, and so this ‘dictator’ and ‘tyrant’ had to hold a second round [of elections] and was liable to lose his position. Have you ever seen a 'dictator' like Erdogan?!

“There were many who did not sleep well yesterday, after Erdogan’s victory. They suffered from insomnia and worries. For some of them the very mention of Erdogan's name is vexing.

“Whether you disagree with Erdogan or agree with him, the man is a leader who has the attention of the world and who has attained great achievements for [our] sister Turkey in all spheres – political, economic, military and commercial, as well as in the spheres of art and culture. This role [of Erdogan’s] has spread beyond Turkey, to its surroundings – to the neighboring countries and the [entire] Muslim world – and constitutes a turning point in the attitude of the West toward Turkey.

“Today, Turkey is experiencing a revival. In a marvelous coincidence, the [electoral] victory and celebrations coincide with [the anniversary of] the conquest of Constantinople [Istanbul] by Mehmed II, [who won the city] on May 29, 1453, after the Muslims failed to conquer it for several hundred years. Does Erdogan’s victory yesterday represent a new conquest in the history of Turkey?! Turkey after May 28, 2023, is not what it was before this date.”[7]

"All Arab and Islamic Capitals Celebrate Erdogan's Win" (Al-Sharq, Qatar, May 31, 2023)

Columnist In Qatari Daily: Erdogan's Win Is A Slap In The Face Of The Western Countries

Al-Sharq columnist Ahmad Muwaffaq Zaidan wrote in a similar vein: "President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has won another term in office, thus entering the third decade of his presidency, after he rose to power in Turkey – the successor of the Ottoman Empire – in 2002. His win on May 28 was a slap in the face not only of the Turkish opposition but also of the Western capitals, which involved themselves in the election campaign to support the opposition and called the Turkish president a dictator and a tyrant.   

"Entering his third decade [in office], the Turkish president will insist even more on what looks like a firm desire to consolidate the phenomenon of 'Edroganization' that has shaped Turkey's identity in the last 20 years, and which was especially evident in the reconversion of the Hagia Sophia [museum] into a mosque…"[8]

Qatari Daily: Erdogan's Reelection Reflects Turkish Support For Revival Of Ottoman Empire, Islamic Vision 

The May 29 editorial of the London-based Qatari daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi stated: “…One of the important reasons for regarding these elections as historic is the strong presence of Turkish history in them. The Turkish voters who voted for Erdogan and for Kilicdaroglu [essentially] voted for two [different] worldviews. The worldview [espoused by Erdogan] is based on celebrating Ottoman history, with all its political significance which express the longing to restore Turkey’s historical presence as a world power. The worldview [espoused by Kilicdaroglu] is based on celebrating the history of Mustafa Kemal (Atatürk), who is considered the founder of the modern Turkish republic; the man who did away with the caliphate and firmly defended a tough version of secularism [in Turkey] and the renouncement of Islamic culture. However, in the memory of many Turks, this historic [period of Ataturk] is also associated with great oppression, expressed in the attitude to the past, to identity, and to religion. [It is also associated] with the intervention of the army [in the government], with military coups and with great misery that Turkey experienced before the Erdogan era.

“In reelecting Erdogan, the Turks voted for their national history and for issues of culture and identity, for the national trend and for top-priority strategic issues, not only for Erdogan’s political charisma…”[9]

Turkey kicks out the bomb of "Ataturkism", represented by Erdogan's rival Kilicdaroglu (Al-Quds Al-Arabi, London, May 30, 2023)

Columnist In Qatari Daily: Erdogan Is the Descendant Of The Founder Of The Ottoman Empire; I Yearn For The Revival Of The Ottoman Vision

Samir Al-Barghouti, a columnist for the Qatari daily Al-Watan, wrote on May 28, on the eve of the second round of the Turkish election: "Today I will follow [the events in] Ankara and Istanbul… i.e., the election in the land of Osman [the reference is to Sultan Osman I, founder of the Ottoman Empire[10]]. My heart is with [Osman's] descendant, Tayyip Erdogan, the founder of modern Turkey,[11] who restored this country to what it was in the era of Sultan [Osman I]. My heart quakes with fear that a new Ataturk-style coup [may occur], with the support of the West, which does not want this country to be strong and without debt to the Zionist bank [that wishes] to control it as it pleases…

"Those who experienced the coup against the Ottoman caliphate in 1924 [sic] are praying to Allah with all their might that no member of the party [that perpetrated] the coup will rise to power again, and that we will not see a repetition of the scene in which the Ottoman [royal] family was deported to Europe in their pajamas in the dead of night!!...

"We are now anticipating Turkey's tomorrow, when it will revoke the Treaty of Lausanne[12] -- the day Osman [the First] returns, his father Ertugrul comes back to life and the vision of [Ottoman Sultan] Suleiman the Magnificent[13] is realized: the vision of a unified Islamic nation, the best nation known to mankind since the first caliphate in Medina…"[14]


[2], May 28, 2023.

[3], May 29, 2023.

[4] Al-Sharq (Qatar), May 15, 2023.

[5]  Al-Watan (Qatar), Al-Raya (Qatar), Al-Sharq (Qatar), May 29, 2023; Al-Arab (Qatar), May 31, 2023.

[6]  Similar claims were made in the Qatari press after Erdogan changed the status of Hagia Sophia in Istanbul from a museum into a mosque. See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 8872 - Articles In Qatari Press: The Reconversion Of Hagia Sophia Into A Mosque Is A Historic Step; We Hope To See Prayers Renewed At The Great Mosque Of Cordoba As Well – July 30, 2020.

[7] Al-Sharq (Qatar), May 29, 2023.

[8]  Al-Sharq (Qatar), May 30, 2023.

[9] Al-Quds Al-Arabi (London), May 29, 2023.

[10] Osman I (1258-1326) founded the Ottoman dynasty, which is named after him, after succeeding his father, Ertugrul.

[11] Here Barghouti is deliberately applying to Erdogan the title generally applied to Ataturk, who is considered the founder of modern Turkey due to the extensive reforms he enacted as the country's first president after the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

[12] In this treaty, signed in 1923 between Turkey and the Allied Powers,  the Allies recognized Turkey in its current borders, in exchange for an official waiver of Turkish claims to the rest of the former Ottoman Empire.

[13] Suleiman the Magnificent (1494 – 1566) ruled over the Ottoman Empire at the height of its economic, military and political power.

[14] Al-Watan (Qatar), May 28, 2023.

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