Op-Ed Contributor: The Failure of a Neo-Ottoman Foreign Policy

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President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey visiting the mausoleum of an Islamic scholar in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, last month.

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Pool photo by Kayhan Ozer, via Associated Press

ISTANBUL — Almost a century after the disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and his supporters believe that they can restore the empire’s former glory. Stroll through the streets of any Turkish city and you will see car windows emblazoned with the imperial seals of Ottoman sultans, who are also commemorated in the names of new multibillion-dollar building projects.

Mr. Erdogan, the country’s leader for 14 years, is the one chiefly responsible for putting the Ottoman Empire at the center of Turkey’s collective imagination. The Ottoman sultans doubled…

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