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The Sultan'a new clothes

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that Muslims had discovered the Americas three centuries before the voyages of Christopher Columbus, in a televised speech in Istanbul, addressing a summit of Muslim leaders from Latin America.

"Contacts between Latin America and Islam date back to the 12th century. Muslims discovered America in 1178, not Christopher Columbus," said the aspiring sultan. "Muslim sailors arrived in America from 1178. Columbus mentioned the existence of a mosque on a hill on the Cuban coast."

This is not the first time, Mr Erdogan has spewed forth provocative, even outlandish statements. Back in 2012, in a meeting with the IOC's president Jacques Rogge in London, Mr Erdogan had placed a bid for Istanbul as the staging place of the Olympics, and at the same time requested that the torch lighting ceremony be given to Turkey,

Prime Minister Erdogan explained to Jacques Rogge that Turkey is the root and we desire to get our flame back in our country. He mentioned that Mr Rogge and IOC Members have the right to bring the flame back to its roots. Anatolya is waiting its flame,” were the words of Turkey’s Minister for Youth and Sport Suat Kilic, at the time.

Mr Erdogan who is attempting to secure a place for Turkey as the lynchpin of the broader region, with himself at the helm, has embarked on pharaonic works, while at the same time attempting to secure influence in a very volatile environment.

His ostentatious super palace flagrantly and illegally erected in what was once a forested sanctuary set aside by the Turkish republic's founder Moustafa Kemal, its planned additions, and the super mosque planned for Istanbul, along with a retreat for the “leader of the land,” are but indications that transcend delusions of grandeur, and step into the realm of blatant historical revisionism.

Yet for all his machinations, Turkey has become more isolated than ever before, with allies in name only, and enemies on all fronts, as he has antagonized the EU, Russia, China, Israel, Egypt, and the US. As concerns antagonizing the superpower, Mr Erdogan began badly with his refusal to allow US toops passage through Turkey to Iraq in 2003.

If Mr Erdogan has allies in the region, these can be found among the extremist jihadists, whom he liberally supplied with weapons, and with whom he cconducts illicit transactions in oil, antiquities, and whatever the latter can steal, loot, and pillage.