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Opinion: Mursi is a knockoff Erdoğan | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Egyptians opposing President Morsi as they celebrate the Egyptian military reaction to the protests, in front of the presidential palace in Cairo, Egypt, 01 July 2013. (EPA/Khaled Elfiqi)

There were many optimists amongst those who hoped and dreamed that President Mohamed Mursi’s rule would be a significant transition in the history of Egypt. However, Mohamed Mursi—the last-minute candidate who originally stood for election as nothing more than a prospective substitute for Khairat El-Shater—has been an utter disappointment. Rather than following in the footsteps of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Mursi became a distorted version of this model. In the end, Mursi was nothing more than a knockoff Erdoğan.

Mohamed Mursi surrounded himself with militants and extremist figures with a tendency for “revenge,” issuing frightening and repulsive statements that only served to terrorize the Egyptian people or anybody who cares about the country at all. His sharp tone and discernible messages are beyond what the Egyptian people can tolerate or forgive. It is for these very same reasons that the Egyptian people rejected Hazem Abu-Ismail who insulted the military establishment and mocked the Egyptian people; Safwar Hegazi who insulted Al-Azhar and its well-respected Grand Sheikh; Assem Abdel Maged who threatens all who defies Mursi; and Wagdi Ghoneim whose words are filled with hatred and poison. Mursi did not renounce such figures, rather he continues to regard them as his loyal supporters and defenders. The Egyptian people view Mursi’s silence towards their inflammatory statements and rhetoric as a form of tacit consent.

Mursi refused to listen to the advice and observations of other parties, preferring instead to rely on his team of “vengeful” advisors. They are the ones who pushed him to announce his controversial Constitutional Declaration in which he cancelled constitutional articles and attempted to transform himself into a new pharaoh who does not respect or implement the constitution. This was a move that completely destroyed any trust or confidence in the president. Mursi came to power with a very small surplus of votes after a revolution that brought down a strong regime. As a result of this, the Egyptian people will not accept anything but an all-inclusive system, not a system where the president’s supporters monopolize power. For this reason, Mursi possesses neither the “popularity” or “public legitimacy” usually associated with a president who comes to office in a landslide. Despite this, the president failed to even issue a statement on the drastic changes that Egypt needs to see. Mursi’s foreign policy has also been a failure. He discouraged moderate Gulf countries from investing in Egypt after failing to reassure them about the situation in the country; instead he restored diplomatic relations with Iran. He also expressed tolerance towards Assad’s criminal regime and failed to achieve any political or economic achievement after more than one year in office.

From the beginning, we were facing a situation where promises had been breached. The Muslim Brotherhood initially said they were not interested in running for office but violated this pledge when they nominated presidential candidates. Following this, President Mursi vowed to respect the constitution. Not only did he fail to do this, he did the complete opposite by hijacking the constitution and attempting to discredit Egypt’s judges and judiciary in an unprecedented manner.

All this brought the situation to a point of no return and the Egyptian people reacted emphatically and took to the streets in all provinces of the country, chanting that they are not satisfied with Mursi’s tactics and he should leave office. A number of ministers have resigned from the Hisham Qandil government, while the military took an independent stance in issuing a historic statement in which they took a step away from the under-fire government and moved towards the people. The army has given both parties a 48-hour deadline. Egypt is still searching for someone to rule based on dignity, security, and democracy; a task that Mursi completely failed to do.