"The pandemic has ensued a regional power competition between Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Iran, and Egypt over who’s going to be the next leader of the global Ummah. Erdoğan, right now, is again trying to define himself as a Muslim leader, even though Turkey is still, on paper, a constitutionally secular Muslim-majority country."
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkey has used humanitarian aid as part of a soft power play to extend its international influence. Since mid-March, Turkey has sent medical supplies to Italy, Spain, and Britain, as well as countries in the Balkans and the Middle East. To understand the domestic and regional context of these soft power initiatives and their political implications for Turkey, Wikistrat interviewed Dr. Ahmet Erdi Öztürk, an expert on Turkish politics and foreign policy.