Turkey (Türkiye) and India had had thorny relations for years. They weren’t exactly on chummy terms until recently when both leaders met at the sidelines of this year’s Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. But even then, observers following their fragile relationship saga could not tell whether Ankara’s efforts to establish friendly ties with New Delhi would be genuine or just for regaining a favorable stance at these trying times.

Erdogan’s Islamic Revivalism Attempt

Since assuming office in 2014, Türkiye President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been vocal about his pursuit of restoring “the lost grandeur of the Ottoman Empire” through Islamic revivalism. Erdogan has always had high regard for the Islamic Brotherhood Movement but was believed only to have walked into becoming a pro-Islamist because of the repeated rejection of Ankara to be admitted to the European Union (EU) as a regular member. Some experts even argue that Erdogan’s “inclination towards Islamism springs more from vengeance and much less from conviction in all Islam claims.”

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Türkiye President Erdogan (Image source: Twitter)

Nonetheless, Erdogan has attempted to forge an alliance with Islamic states like Pakistan and Malaysia to revive the Muslim ummah (“community”). Along the way, he earned himself foes because of his radical way of enforcing his ideology on the Islamic ummah—how he portrayed this as the must-have, supreme way of running a country that simultaneously threatens democracy. It gained sour relations when Türkiye supported the Government of National Accord in Libya, which most Arab countries opposed, including the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

But what earned Ankara sour relations with New Delhi is its support for the latter’s archnemesis, Pakistan, and its endless criticism about the Kashmir (located northernmost of India) crisis.