The leaders of the Turkish Justice and Development Party (AKP) are continuing their campaign against the June 30 revolution, which led to the overthrow of Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt.
Listening to statements from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and other AKP leaders, reveals an illogical hysteria that is unusual toward a situation in another country. It is as if what is happening in Egypt is happening in Turkey, or as if Egypt is a Turkish province that is subject to the decision-making center in Ankara.
One doesn’t need to perform deep mental exercises to notice the Turkish double standard in dealing with the situation in Egypt. Erdogan rejects violence in Egypt and how the police handled the protests in Rabia al-Adawiya and al-Nahda squares. But force was used in Turkey’s Taksim Square and Gezi Park uprising 2½ months ago.
In Taksim, only four were killed, with thousands wounded and detained. But Erdogan permits for himself what he refuses for others: breaking up the sit-ins at Taksim Square and Gezi Park. Moreover, each country’s circumstances are different. Erdogan used harsh tactics with protesters who were mostly artists and intellectuals, while the Rabia al-Adawiya and al-Nahda sit-ins were purely political and threatened Egyptian national security.
The hysterical reaction of Erdogan’s government and AKP leaders regarding the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood and the daily incitement to resist what they call a “military coup” has multiple reasons, including:
- The Muslim Brotherhood has been a mainstay of the Turkish project for the Arab world, not just in the Middle East. Erdogan has used all methods to support the branches and activities of the Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Jordan, the Gulf, Syria and Gaza (through Hamas). When deposed President Mohammed Morsi started his power grab by issuing constitutional decrees that disregard others in society, the Turkish state said nothing. With the isolation of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Turkish project lost one of its most important pillars: the Egyptian pillar, as well as the Palestinian pillar Hamas, thus automatically weakening the Muslim Brotherhood in Tunisia and other countries. The possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood returning to power has been eliminated, and this is a harsh blow to the Turkish project.
- The blatant criticism of the military’s role in Egypt is a message from Erdogan to the Turkish interior. He wants to distort the Egyptian army’s image to justify further action that weakens the Turkish army and blocks any coup attempts.
- Portraying the Egyptian army as a group of putschists who oppress and kill civilian protesters and Erdogan’s media focusing on bloody scenes aims to consolidate the image of Erdogan and his group as “persecuted.” This aims to generate popular sympathy to compensate for the decline in AKP popularity after the suppression of the Taksim and Gezi uprising. Portraying Erdogan as a victim is not possible now that he has betrayed all the democratic forces that helped him get rid of the military’s influence only to establish an authoritarian rule with a religious penchant.
The Turkish attitude against the June 30 revolution is dangerous because it signals Turkey’s blatant interference in Egyptian internal affairs. Erdogan is dealing with the Muslim Brotherhood as if it were a Turkish component, not an Egyptian one. This looks like a return to Ottoman Empire, against which the most serious rebellion came from the ruler of Egypt Muhammad Ali Pasha and his son Ibrahim Pasha in the first half of the 19th century. Had England and the major powers not protected the Ottoman sultan back then, Ibrahim Pasha’s military campaign would have ended the Ottoman sultanate after he stood on the outskirts of Adana in Anatolia. The June 30 revolution will not under any circumstance allow the return of the Ottomans to Egypt or to the Arab region.
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