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Tuesday, June 9, 2015 | by Burak Bekdil

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute. Republished with permission.

Egypt’s then President Mohamed Morsi (left) poses with Turkey’s then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan, before Morsi was overthrown and jailed in 2013. Erdogan recently said, “For me, Morsi is Egypt’s president, not Sisi.” (source: gatestone)

What do Syria, Egypt and Libya have common? They are all at various degrees of cold war with Turkey, which they accuse of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist terrorists in their countries.

Turkey has never denied support, but claims that the Muslim Brothers, like Hamas, are just democratic elements in politics.

In a span of only 24 hours, on August 13, 2013, Muslim Brotherhood militias attacked and destroyed 52 churches in Egypt.

During the short-lived rule of their president, Mohamed Morsi, the Muslim Brothers, in well-documented incidents, threatened, attacked, kidnapped, tortured, beheaded and killed dozens, if not hundreds, of Christians, including a 10-year-old girl; and damaged and looted their property — until, after mass protests, Morsi was overthrown in 2013.

During the Muslim Brotherhood’s systematic massacres against Egypt’s Christians, no Turkish leader was heard criticizing a single incident targeting Christians. After Morsi’s downfall, however, they have never ceased loudly condemning the man who toppled Morsi, General Abdel Fatah al-Sisi.

Most recently, Turkey’s biggest Muslim Brotherhood fan, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, said, “For me, Morsi is Egypt’s president, not Sisi.”

Egypt is once again a hot issue in Turkish politics. Not because a majority of Turks can spot the country on a map, but because the Muslim Brothers are so dear to Turkey’s Islamists. The two are almost literally political “brothers.”

On May 17, an Egyptian court sought the death penalty for Morsi and 106 Muslim Brotherhood supporters, in connection with a mass jailbreak in 2011. A final ruling is expected on June 2. The case, like all capital sentences, will be referred to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for an opinion, before any executions can take place.

In Ankara, Erdogan’s spokesman, Ibrahim Kalin, threatened that the Middle East would be thrown into turmoil if Egypt carried out its death sentences

Funny, in Kalin’s (and therefore the Turkish president’s) logic, the Middle East is in perfect peace, which would be jeopardized only if one man is killed. Thousands of deaths every day do not throw the Middle East into turmoil. Nor did the massacres of Christians in Egypt at the hands of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Erdogan himself spoke, too. “Egypt is turning into ancient Egypt. Sisi cannot be confronted. The West does not display a stance against Sisi the coup-maker,” he said.

In response to Ankara’s playful logic, an unidentified Egyptian official in Cairo said Egypt was not surprised by Turkey’s comments. “The current regime in Turkey is a reflection of the ideas of the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood,” the official told Egypt’s state news agency.

Like Ankara, the Muslim Brothers are seeking “international” (read: Western/Christian) support to stop the executions of Morsi and their cohorts. “This is a political verdict and represents a murder crime that is about to be committed and it should be stopped by the international community,” said Amr Darrag, a Muslim Brotherhood official.

But where did Darrag say that? In his Istanbul exile. Is anyone curious why Darrag is in exile in Turkey, and not in Europe or North America?

Hypocrisies in the Middle East are as old as the region. But ancient hypocrisies look childishly innocent compared to modern ones.

Which countries in the Middle East have poured billions of dollars in aid into the regime of Sisi “the coup-maker” in Cairo? Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Which leader in the Middle East has fiercely confronted Sisi’s regime in Cairo? Erdogan. Which countries in the Middle East are Erdogan’s best allies? Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Which regime, among others, allied with Saudi Arabia in a recent military offensive against Yemen’s pro-Shiite Houthi militias? Sisi’s.

Which country in the world probably has the most powerful political leverage on Sisi’s regime in Cairo? Saudi Arabia. Where does Turkey want to lobby against executions of Morsi and his Brothers? In the West. Which countries does Turkey urge to speak loudly against the executions? Western countries. Has Erdogan or any other Turkish official ever publicly urged Saudi Arabia or Qatar to use their influence on Egypt to stop the executions? Never. To whom does the exiled Muslim Brotherhood official appeal to in order to stop the executions? The international community — the powerful Christian world.

What an irony that the Brothers seek the help of Christians to stop the executions of their leaders — the same Christians they massacred en masse only three years ago. Too complicated? No. Just Turkish.

Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.


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