'The govt should give asylum to Turkish opposition figure Gulen,' says Egypt MP

Gamal Essam El-Din , Monday 25 Jul 2016

Egyptian MP Emad Mahrous has demanded that the Egyptian government give asylum to exiled Turkish opposition figure Fethullah Gulen

Fethullah Gulen
Egyptian MP Emad Mahrous demanded that the Egyptian government give asylum to exiled Turkish opposition figure Fethullah Gulen. (Photo: Reuters)

In an urgent statement on Sunday, Egyptian MP Emad Mahrous demanded that the Egyptian government give asylum to exiled Turkish opposition figure Fethullah Gulen.

Mahrous' statement was sent to parliamentary speaker Ali Abdel-Aal, Prime Minister Sherif Ismail, and Foreign Minister Sameh Shokry.

Mahrous, a member of the Democratic Peace Party, told parliamentary reporters that his statement reflects the wish of millions of Egyptians who have closely followed the recent dramatic developments in Turkey.

"This was a moderate Muslim country that has become an Islamist dictatorship at the hands of (Turkish president) Recep Tayyib Erdogan and his affiliated Muslim Brotherhood political party," said Mahrous, an MP from the Nile-Delta governorate of Beheira.

Mahrous indicated that he found it highly distasteful that Erdogan is demanding that the United States extradite his political opponent Gulen.

"This happens while Erdogan is giving shelter to hundreds of leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood terrorist organisation and members of other bloody militant Islamist groups which attack Egypt by day and night," said Mahrous.

Mahrous also noted that not only has Erdogan accused Gulen of organising a coup against him, he has also exploited this allegation to shut down hundreds of schools and media outlets affiliated with him.

"But the same time Erdogan has decided to turn Turkey into a media battleground against Egypt, with Turkish intelligence providing funds for several Muslim Brotherhood TV channels to attack Egypt," said Mahrous.

Mahrous said his personal advice to Gulen is that he should not wait until the United States extradites him to Turkey.

"He should soon leave the US for Egypt in the same way Iran's former shah Mohamed Reza Bahlawi left the US for Egypt in the aftermath of the Iranian Islamist Revolution in 1979," said Mahrous, adding that "at that time the courageous late president Anwar Sadat gave Bahlawi a safe shelter in Egypt regardless of all the threats that were issued by Iran's ayatollahs."

Many Egyptian MPs believe that Turkish President Erdogan has exploited the failed military coup last week to turn the country into a Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship.

"This coup has clearly shown all Egyptians what could have become of their country if (former ousted president Mohamed) Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood were left in office," said Mahrous, adding "they could have Brotherhoodised (or Islamised) all of Egypt in the same Erdogan style."

Mahrous said he was also disgusted by Erdogan's decision to resume diplomatic relations with Israel last month.

"He accepted to be friends again with Israel, while he still insists on antagonising a leading Muslim country like Egypt for the simple reason that this country moved en masse three years ago to expel the Muslim Brotherhood from power," Mahrous explained.

Many MPs said that although they support Mahrous' request, they believe that it would be rejected by the government.

"Yes, we all agree that Erdogan has become a highly disgusting and malicious figure," said independent MP Abdel-Moneim Al-Oleimi, though adding that "we all think that giving asylum to Erdogan's rival is the last thing the government needs now."

Al-Oleimi told Al-Ahram Online that "in spite of Erodgan's repeated insults to (Egypt's) President El-Sisi, he chose to ignore him because he knows that Erdogan is ideologically affiliated with Muslim Brotherhood."

"So I prefer that we continue ignoring Erdogan rather than provoke this ill-mannered and rude Turkish man," said Al-Oleimi.

Mohamed Al-Orabi, the head of parliament's foreign relations committee and a former foreign minister, told reporters he doesn't agree that Gulen be granted a political asylum in Egypt.

"Political asylum in Egypt can't be granted without first being investigated by the government, not to mention that Gulen himself should first submit an official asylum request," said Al-Orabi.

Al-Orabi said the former shah of Iran was granted asylum in Egypt upon a personal approval from late president Sadat.

"President Sadat invited him after he appealed to all Egyptians that this invitation comes out of purely human considerations," said Al-Orabi. He indicated that "as Egypt's foreign policy is based on the principle of non-intervention in the affairs of other countries, Mahrous' request will be rejected."

Al-Orabi also argued that "if Egypt decided to allow all Turkish politicians wishing to flee Erdogan's Muslim Brotherhood dictatorship, I think all of Turkey would decide to come to Egypt."

He said that "instead of giving asylum to Erdogan's opposition figures, Egypt should alert the entire world of the dangers of a religious dictatorship in Turkey for the aim of international peace."


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