When Turkey’s semi-official newspaper Yeni Safak called for urgent action in forming a 57-nation “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack Israel, a suggestion undoubtedly approved with at least a wink and nod by President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it would signal the possible intent to create the largest military force on the planet – one nearly as large as the total population of the Jewish state.
The report came just ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and was published under the headline, “What if an Army of Islam was formed against Israel?” It was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
But it wasn’t a rhetorical question. It was actually a suggestion to combine the military forces of all Islamic countries to overwhelm the Israeli army in manpower, budget and equipment – even boasting with statistics.
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On December 12, 2017, ahead of the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Istanbul, the Turkish daily Yeni Şafak, which is close to Erdoğan and his ruling AKP party, published an article titled “A Call for Urgent Action,” which also appeared on the paper’s website under the title “What If an Army of Islam Was Formed against Israel?” The article called on the 57 member states of the OIC to form a joint “Army of Islam” to besiege and attack the state of Israel. It notes that such a joint army will greatly exceed the Israeli army in manpower, equipment and budget, and presents statistics to prove this. It also advocates establishing joint bases for the army’s ground, air and naval forces that will arrive from all over the Muslim world to besiege Israel, while noting that Pakistan, as the only nuclear country, has “a special status” among the OIC countries. An interactive map provides information on military forces stationed in various locations and the role they can play in the potential joint Muslim attack on Israel.
Much of the information in the article was provided by Turkey’s SADAT International Defense and Consulting Company, which provides consultancy on defense and warfare, both conventional and unconventional, and on military organization, training and gear. The company promotes pan-Islamic military cooperation. According to its mission statement, it seeks “to establish defense collaboration and defense industry cooperation among Islamic countries, to help the Islamic world take its rightful place among the superpowers by providing … strategic consultancy and training services to the militaries and homeland security forces of Islamic countries.”
The SADAT company was founded by Erdoğan’s senior adviser on military affairs, retired General Adnan Tanrıverdi, and is chaired by his son, Melih Tanrıverdi. Adnan Tanrıverdi served in the Turkish army’s artillery corps and is an expert on asymmetric warfare. He was dismissed from the Turkish military in 1996 for his Islamist leanings.
In the report, Israel is described as “the outpost of the new Crusade and a dagger in the heart of Islam,” and “the eyes, ears and fist of the Christian World.”
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