Tahrir Protesters "Reject Turkish Model"

Article Summary
Egyptians have returned to Tahrir Square, and in Al-Fadl Shalaq’s view their renewed protests are a rejection of the Military Council, the Muslim Brotherhood and the so-called “Turkish Model” of Islamic democracy. Shalaq argues that the example of the AKP has been embraced by Egypt’s elite in order to limit the scope of the revolution.

On January 25, 2012 Egyptian masses returned to Tahrir Square. It seemed like they were staging another protest, or re-staging their revolution, in defiance of both the Muslim Brotherhood and the military.

When political Islam allied itself with the military and won parliamentary elections, it seemed like a dream come true for some who had hoped that the electoral victory of the Muslim Brotherhood would be a step forward in [establishing] the model of so-called moderate Islam adopted in Turkey. Many thought that the Turkish model was applicable [to Egypt].

Some Arab intellectuals and political elites are calling for the application of the Turkish model, in the belief that this demand is natural given the apparent similarities in doctrine between the Turkish and Arab majorities in general and the Egyptian majority in particular. They want to adopt a single model in all countries regardless of the differences [between them]. [These elites] are unaware of the fact that transferring an experience from one country to another and attempting to impose it on other peoples is tantamount to establishing a new tyranny, abolishing the revolution and its implications; [waging] a counter-revolution; increasing external influence and enabling the return of external control; and establishing another imperialistic [regime] that retrieves Western colonialism and Ottoman rule under the cover of moderate Turkish Islam.

For his part, Davutoglu expressed his satisfaction long ago in his influential book entitled Strategic Depth. In this book, he considers the Arab region as a vital arena of Turkish interests.

This is not about objecting to moderate or immoderate Islam. In fact, all movements are entitled to run for the elections, to win and to lose; and the winners will rule. However, it should be noted that the [process] of parliamentary elections is not similar to the [process] of revolution. The revolution reflects the pulse of the people; it comes from within the people. Parliamentary elections, however, are fought between elites; they emanate from [upper class society], and there was much talk in Egypt about the flow of money during elections.

There are two sources of legitimacy in Egypt: the legitimacy of Tahrir Square and the legitimacy of the Parliament. The first anniversary of the Egyptian revolution has proved that [protesters] went to Tahrir Square not only to celebrate, as the Muslim Brotherhood and the military wanted, but to confirm the legitimacy of Tahrir Square, upholding many of the values that the Islamist-military alliance is attempting to suppress: Freedom, social justice, dignity, decent living, specific demands aimed at [prompting the military to cede power to a civilian authority], setting a date for presidential elections and releasing political prisoners.

Egyptians succeeded in favoring the [legitimacy] of Tahrir Square over the [legitimacy] of the parliament and the military. In Turkey, however, the army was put under the control of civilians who [represent] political Islam. In Egypt, both the Islamists and the military were put under the control of Tahrir Square, despite the fact that parliamentary elections were barely over.

Egyptians feared for their revolution. They noted the seriousness of being satisfied with elections and saw in the adoption of a single choice, which is the choice of elections, a betrayal of their demands, so they decided to opt for another choice, which is the revolution, provided that no choice cancels the other.

Egyptians noted the hypocrisy of those Egyptians and Arabs calling for the adoption of the Turkish model. It is not a question of Turks or [Egyptian] views towards them; it is rather about the Arab political elite and their views of their people. These elites - or some of them - participated in the Egyptian revolution. [But] the upper classes fear the continuation of the revolution, or want nothing more than a limited revolution that demands the overthrow of the president while maintaining the institutions of tyranny. [These are the people that] have raised the slogan of the Turkish model, so that democratic parliamentary elections become the ultimate goal of the revolution - putting an end to Tahrir Square.

It may be that most of those who participated in the protests in Tahrir Square have not heard of the Turkish slogan, but participated out of fear for their revolt because they felt that it had been hijacked and [wished] to prevent its confiscation.

Demonstrating seems like an illegal act; democratic elections seem like the only legal political act [of protest]. However, elections have the potential to render the entire political process nul and void, if [the focus is only on elections] and if they are considered the goal, not the beginning. The elected elites tend to believe that they have an electoral mandate which keeps them above the law and protects them from being held to account, while enabling them to adopt any policy they see fit.

Without public scrutiny, the elected elites tend to pursue policies that merely reflect the narrow interests of their class. While there is no alternative to parliamentary elections and the [parliamentary system], democracy emanates from the ground of Tahrir Square. In fact, this square expands the political horizon to include lower classes which elect, without being elected. The square guarantees the democratic character of the [electoral process], and not just of the ballot boxes.

A closed military institution is currently ruling Egypt, controlling more than 30% of the Egyptian economy.  [This institution] is on the verge of forming an independent class and it has been surrounded, since Camp David, by mysteries whose content could only be revealed if the backroom and confidential agreements concluded with the US and Israel were revealed. Therefore, there was a public controversy about the military budget, over objections to keeping it as a single item on the state budget. This expresses the rejection of ongoing "American-Israeli" secrets within the Egyptian state. This controversy is linked to the independence or subordination of Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood is preparing to play a major official role, and it has to take a position on these secrets and their implications - on Camp David and its implications; on Egyptian dependence [to the United States and Israel]; and the perpetuation of these [circumstances] under the cover of the Muslim Brotherhood.

This controversy can only be solved in Tahrir Square. This square may be just the tip of the iceberg, but it is capable of indicating the iceberg’s full dimensions. The square demands the revelation of all secrets, and this demand can lead to everything else: to the fate of the Egyptian people and the fate of Arabs.

Found in: upper class, turkish model, tahrir square, tahrir, presidential elections, parliamentary elections, ottoman rule, military, lower class, legitimacy, january 25 revolution, future, external influence, elites

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