[Ed. – Not a surprise, but nevertheless an illuminating counterpoint, given the tension between the Chinese government and Islam inside China, and Erdogan’s aspiration to be the political leader of world Islam. Autocrats always manage to sound like each other — and even to make common cause when it’s convenient. This trend isn’t likely to die quickly.]
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced during his inaugural address Monday that Turkey is entering a “new era,” where the nation will take center stage in geopolitics and citizens are expected to submit to the will of the state for the greater good of Turkish identity.
Members of Erdoğan’s party, the Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP), took to Twitter, sending the hashtag #NewEraWithErdogan to the top of the worldwide trend list on Monday. Supporters in Turkish media warned those who saw themselves as more than Turkish to abandon all other identities in the “new era.”
If the repetitive use of the term “new era” and call for ethnonationalist unity appear familiar, it is because a much larger nation-building project is underway halfway across the planet. In China, Xi Jinping has made his “Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era” the heart of domestic and foreign policy, styling himself as the benevolent father figure of the nation and enacting policies to both turn China into the world’s dominant superpower and crush any individuals who fail to conform to Xi’s definition of Chinese identity.
It is not the first time Erdoğan has appeared to take a leaf out of Xi’s book.