Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan REUTERS

As Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan prepares to discuss his disagreements on how to approach Syria, and other vital Middle East issues with President Barack Obama on Thursday at the White House, the Gatestone Institute’s Veli Sirin has written a sort of primer on just who exactly the president will be talking with.

It’s a long one, so here is a snippet, but do give it a read.

“Erdogan has turned Turkey upside-down. The Islamist outsider, the extreme religious believer, the failed soccer player, now determines the future of his country. He is the most powerful Turk since the legendary founder of the republic, Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. His history is that of someone who, in seeking to change his country, was transformed from a fighter to a reformer, and then a ruler. … Erdogan seems to have two major goals: The first is the protection of his own political future; the second is that of aggrandizing what he sees evidently as Turkey’s geopolitical ambitions. His accomplices also appear to envision a new constitutional order in which the president will hold the highest authority. This could work in a federal country or one with other checks on power. But Turkish centralism could easily slide into authoritarianism. The opposition denounces him, and the majority of Turks would reject a dictatorship, but Erdogan, a political rock star, looks likely to be chosen for a new-style, expanded presidency.”