Turkey – The Brotherhood's Last Station (2/2)
25 June 2016
By Abdulrahman Al-Rashed
The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood's departure from Turkey will mark its end as a
political force and party. The organisation is now living in a time similar to
the presidency of Gamal Abdel Nasser when its ideology and presence as a
movement was banned. The leaders of the movement were freed and they were
allowed to operate during the presidency of Anwar Sadat who lifted the ban
that his predecessor had imposed, and that had lasted 20 years; from 1954 to
the year during which he died.
Ironically, the group wanted Sadat dead. Then came Hosni Mubarak who granted
the Brotherhood an acceptable amount of freedom; he allowed it to undertake
political, social, and economic activities. In turn, the organisation was
content to work within the agreed political framework and won 88 seats in
When the Egyptian revolution broke out in 2011, the Brotherhood did not
participate in it at the beginning but only after making sure that Mubarak had
left the scene. It won the elections but lost power because it rushed to
control state institutions, especially the judiciary and the media. It also
tried to rewrite the constitution according to its vision. During the one year
that it was in power, it lost its allies, including Nasserists and the left.
Its appetite to expand its powers intimidated the army which took the
initiative to overthrow it, taking advantage of the angry climate amongst the
people resulting from poor services and a lack of security.
After the Turkish government's decision to abandon the Muslim Brotherhood, it
is quite unlikely that it will be allowed to resume its political activities
for a long time from now.
Although the Brotherhood's leadership of the country was very bad, its
provocative foreign policy was worse. It quickly became close to the Iranian
regime and this alarmed other Arab countries that are at odds with Tehran,
such as the Gulf states.
For example, despite Saudi Arabia's apprehensiveness of the Muslim
Brotherhood, it provided financial support to Morsi's government as a token of
its desire for a good relationship with it. However, it was rewarded with
Iranian delegations coming to Cairo at a time when relations between Riyadh
and Tehran were very tense. Relations deteriorated further when the Muslim
Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi invited the then Iranian President
Ahmadinejad to visit him, and that was the worst message that he could have
sent to his allies.
Therefore, when angry demonstrations that were bigger than the January 25
protests erupted on the 3rd of July 2013, the army considered them a mandate
to intervene. This no doubt came as a relief to neighbouring capitals.
The Brotherhood did not stop making mistakes, and instead of examining the new
situation after its departure and dealing with it realistically, it fought a
In the opinion of a close associate of the organisation, Brotherhood members
became orphans after their leaders were arrested, and have been exploited in
regional conflicts. He believes that the Brotherhood was a victim of its
desire and that its miserable situation was exploited. He also believes that
it accepted to participate in regional battles in exchange for safe havens and
huge support so that it could topple the new regime in Egypt. The
Brotherhood's conviction about an illogical strategy like this shows that it
has nothing to lose after it lost power.
Western governments kept talking about the legitimacy of Morsi's rule and the
illegitimacy of what they called the coup, and took a series of punitive
measures against Cairo.
However, any expert in international relations knows that countries change
their positions according to their interests. This is what the US and European
governments did, and this is what Tayyib Recep Erdogan's government is doing
today. It is expelling the Muslim Brotherhood and reconciling with the
government of Abdel Fattah El-Sisi because this is in its interests.
The Brotherhood's only option is to review their mistakes and political
ideology. It should aspire to political participation that believes in the
other, without using religion for political purposes.
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.