ISTANBUL -- Turkey bears a large share of responsibility for the festering of the civil war in Syria. To that end, Turkey -- along with Saudi Arabia -- recently helped create the Jaish al-Fatah (Army of Conquest), an alliance of diverse jihadi groups, to try to overthrow the Assad regime. The U.S. and E.U. are also to blame, having assisted Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in their destabilization of Syria.
Erdogan doesn't fully support the eradication of jihadist groups in Syria. The reason is simple: the Arab and Turkmen Islamist groups are the main bulwark against the expansion of the de facto autonomous Kurdish enclave in northern Syria. Thus, Erdogan tries hard after each ISIS attack to create a "generic" threat of terrorism in which all groups are bundled up together without any clear references to ISIS. He is trying to present the PKK as enemy number one.
Late Friday afternoon, reports circulated that Erdogan expressed admiration for Hitler's Nazi government. If it was a statement made by a democratic figure, it would be treated as a bad joke in poor taste. But for the authoritarian Erdogan, it's a rare instance of his honesty, showing how the strongman really feels.
Turkey's foreign policy in the Balkans promotes a neo-Ottoman agenda, aimed at expanding its influence in former territories of the Ottoman Empire. Turkey exports Islamism under the guise of cultural cooperation. It also seeks economic advantage, using business as leverage to consolidate its national interests.