Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Opinion: Turkey – The Brotherhood’s Last Station (1/2) | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Since its inception ninety years ago, the Muslim Brotherhood was never as influential and dangerous as it was after the January 25 Egyptian revolution. Now, however, it is losing ground and its last stronghold is falling.

Turkey has started to actually expel the organisation as part of its policy to reconcile with the Egyptian government which stipulated that the Ankara government end its support of and its relationship with the organisation which explicitly aimed to overthrow President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s regime.

Ankara stopping its support for the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood effectively ended its project to gain power. It may not achieve its aim for another ninety years except in exceptional circumstances. In a rare historic moment, the Brotherhood came to power in the largest Arab country in June 2012. Their rule lasted a year but they were unable to deal with the delicate and volatile situation in Egypt and the region.

Rather than cooperating with parties who participated in the revolution and reassuring influential powers such as the army and governments in the region that were wary of them, the Brotherhood fought with its friends before its enemies and lost its only chance in its long history full of failed attempts.

In reality, the Brotherhood political project ended the day that its president Mohamed Morsi and other leaders were arrested, and a transitional government was formed. The Brotherhood did not comprehend the harsh lesson and deluded itself into thinking that foreign intervention would restore them to power. It placed its bets on regional differences and relied on the statements of foreign powers without learning from history. The violence and terrorism that they carried out in Sinai failed to shake the regime in Cairo and their provocative media campaigns did not mobilise people.

US sanctions on the government did not last long as aid and trade resumed. After the Qatari government distanced itself from Brotherhood leaders, Turkey is finally beginning divorce proceedings.

The Muslim Brotherhood imposes itself on countries without taking into account their circumstances. It was not satisfied with the great support that it received for setting up television channels and websites, holding conferences and other activities. It therefore established a huge presence in the local media of sympathetic countries and all of a sudden we see a great deal of them on the TV channels and news agencies of host countries.

This reflects the organisation’s ideological reputation which has caused the frightening image that it seeks to dominate education and social media in countries that tolerated its presence, such as the Gulf states.

Some may think that we are prematurely announcing the death of the Brotherhood because the Turks have yet to announce it. However, there are enough official and unofficial statements confirming that Turkey has started to constrain the organisation’s leaders and its activities inside the country.

Turkish officials, such as Mr Mohamed Zahid Gul who is a specialist in Islamic groups, acknowledged this trend but tried to dilute its gravity by saying that the government will not hand over any Brotherhood members to the Egyptian government.

Of course, no one expects Cairo to insist that Brotherhood members be arrested or deported because of their hostile activity towards it. The agreement will most probably end its political and media presence, and it is likely that some of them will be deported from Turkey as they were deported from Qatar. The organisation will then lose its last key station.

It will then only be able to resort to Europe where it will diminish. The most appropriate shelter for it is Iran, given that they have been allies since Khomeini came into power, and since its branch in Gaza (Hamas) is still on good terms with Tehran. However, if the Brotherhood did that, that would be the end of it.