Giving Erdogan something to Cry about

After an ‘Arab Spring’ that began with so much promise for the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan), the Islamic group has hit a run of bad luck. Its biggest defeat began on July 3rd, when Mohammed Mursi was removed from power. The military didn’t just remove Mursi; it’s essentially banned the group and has been rounding up Brotherhood leaders ever since.

Erdogan: Crying after Muslim Brotherhood defeat in Egypt.

Erdogan: Crying after Muslim Brotherhood defeat in Egypt.

One of the individuals hardest hit has been Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. If anyone is more invested in the Muslim Brotherhood’s success than the Brotherhood, it’s Erdogan. The goal of the Ikhwan since its founding has been to re-establish the Ottoman Empire in Turkey. Erdogan’s own actions and words have both indicated that’s exactly what he wants too.

However, 2013 has not been kind to the Brotherhood, via the Jerusalem Post:

Most important, the Brotherhood was forcibly removed from power in Egypt in a Saudi and UAE-supported military coup in July. The new military regime is in the process of destroying Islamist military resistance. The Brotherhood has been declared illegal and will not be permitted to stand in future elections once the civilian political process has been reactivated.

In this age of asymmetric conflicts, in which the very concepts of victory and defeat are said to be obsolete, the Brotherhood in Egypt has suffered something that looks very much like an old fashioned, unambiguous and clear defeat. {emphasis ours}

As the Post points out, while the Egyptian military was cracking down on the Brotherhood in August, Erdogan was crying on television. For some context, the Turkish PM’s tears flowed during a featurette on daughter of Mohammed El-Beltagy, who was killed during the August crackdown in Egypt. El-Beltagy is a Muslim Brotherhood leader in Egypt who was present at Rabia Al-Adawiya mosque, the hornet’s nest of Brotherhood leadership in the weeks after Mohammed Mursi’s ouster. He has since been arrested.

Erdogan couldn’t control his tears as a poem penned about the Jihadist’s daughter was read but some of those tears were, no doubt, meant for the Ikhwan’s major defeat in that country. While the Brotherhood has had setbacks in Tunisia, Libya, and Syria, its defeat in Egypt has been far more significant.

Here is video of Ergogan’s breakdown:

Here is a lengthier version:

Since Turkey’s Islamist AKP Government came to power about a decade ago, it has chosen a course of intense diplomacy and stealth jihad. Militarily, it has chosen to sit back and let western nations do its bidding across the Middle East. With all of the Brotherhood setbacks that have been taking place in the region, an increasingly desperate Turkey could start unmasking itself a bit, though this will not be without consequence.

One such example could be an attempt to engage Hamas.

Via Ryan Mauro at the Clarion Project:

Erdogan has been the most successful implementer of the Islamist doctrine of “gradualism.” For most of his tenure, he has been able to simultaneously expand his popularity domestically while pursuing a sharia agenda. Internationally, he essentially became the king of the Islamists at the same time Turkey is treasured as a NATO member and U.S. “ally.”

But even Erdogan is not immune to the anti-Muslim Brotherhood wave that is sweeping the region. Demonstrations this summer were the biggest internal challenge to Erdogan since he came to power in 2002. Yet, Erdogan still stands by the Muslim Brotherhood and blames Israel for its overthrow in Egypt.

Erdogan isn’t simply playing to public opinion. He’s trying to shape it. The latest Pew poll shows that almost three-in-four Turks have a negative view of Hamas. A mere five percent view Hamas positively. Erdogan does not benefit politically from embracing Hamas.

The only explanation is that his true loyalty lies with the Islamist cause, including Hamas. It is not about politics. It is about ideology and long-term goals. {emphasis ours}

If Erdogan is seen as governing against the will of a vast majority of his people, it could spell trouble for him. Such trouble wouldn’t be all that dissimilar from the trouble that faced Mursi before he was removed.

Now that would give Erdogan something to cry about.

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