Turkey – The Brotherhood's Last Station (1/2)
17 June 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
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
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.
Al Rashed is the general manager of Al -Arabiya television. He is also the
former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al- Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly
magazine, Al Majalla. He is also a senior Columnist in the daily newspapers of
Al Madina and Al Bilad. He is a US post-graduate degree in mass
communications. He has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is
currently based in Dubai.