Hitler’s Turkish Role Model

In Atatürk in the Nazi Imagination, Stefan Ihrig explores how Mustafa Kemal (known as Atatürk), who seized power in Turkey after the 1924 collapse of the Ottoman empire, became an inspiration for the German right in the aftermath of World War I. William O’Connor writes:

Hitler’s obsession with Turkey was strategic, [but] it was also deeply personal. While Ihrig does a thorough job of detailing Germany’s historic ties to the Ottoman empire—and even potentially its involvement in the Armenian genocide—it’s the Nazi leaders’ personal attachment to Turkey and Atatürk that is especially fascinating. Hitler, for instance, considered a bust of Atatürk by Josef Thorak to be “one of his cherished possessions.” . . .

The most obvious connection to make between the Nazis and Atatürk’s rule is, of course, the tragedies of the Holocaust and the Armenian genocide, which took place before Atatürk came to power. . . . [The Nazis] believed that Armenians were the “Jews of the Orient” and that their deaths and suppression played a key part in the emergence of modern Turkey. In speeches, Hitler would consistently refer to Armenians as being on the same level as Jews, and in one article he declared the “wretched Armenian” to be “swine, corrupt, sordid, without conscience, like beggars, submissive, even doglike.” Nazi texts proclaimed that the annihilation or expulsion of the Armenians was a “compelling necessity.”

Read more at Daily Beast

More about: Adolf Hitler, Armenians, History & Ideas, Nazism, Ottoman Empire, Turkey


Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy