Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Oct. 13 launched an angry tirade at modern day “Lawrence of Arabias” who he said were bent on causing trouble in the Middle East.
British officer T. E. Lawrence, better known as Lawrence of Arabia, helped Arab leaders fight a guerrilla insurgency against the forces of the Ottoman Empire in the desert during World War I.
Especially after the hugely successful 1960s film, Lawrence is still regarded as a hero in Britain and many Arab countries. But Erdoğan made clear he saw the iconic British officer – who famously adopted customs of Arab dress – as a symbol of unwanted outside meddling in a region where Turkish influence should count.
“Lawrence was an English spy disguised as an Arab,” Erdoğan said in a televised speech at a university in Istanbul. “There are new voluntary Lawrences, disguised as journalists, religious men, writers and terrorists,” he added.
“It is our duty to explain to the world that there are modern Lawrences who were fooled by a terror organization,” he added, without specifying which organization…