Turkey’s Erdogan: Opportunism and falsehood

Hani Raslan
Friday 5 Aug 2016

Muslim Brotherhood supporters cheer Erdogan's draconian authoritarianism because they are as opportunist and duplicitous as he is

In December 2014, the Turkish writer and activist Abdul-Rahman Dilibak, who was one of the close associates and defenders of now-President Erdogan, announced shocking testimony about the founding of the Turkish Justice and Development Party in which he said the party was set-up by the US, Britain and Israel as a political project.

The forces that supported the party’s founding offered three promises, namely: enabling the party to rule Turkey; removing all obstacles — or those presenting them — against the set-up of the new party; and offering the required financial backing to perform this objective.

In return, three main issues must be taken care of as follows: enhancing Israel’s security; removing all obstacles that hinder this security; and supporting the Greater Middle East Project. This project would be changing borders and redrawing maps through events and conflicts the region would pass through. Finally, helping in reinterpreting Islam in the region and, to be accurate, offering a new model for it.

This project was raised in 1998 during the rule of Necmettin Erbakan, where it has became obvious that conservative and Islamist elements began to play a decisive role in Turkish orientations.

Erdogan justified accepting this project by way of the required support it would provide; that afterwards directions could be changed to serve the original objectives, whether patriotic, nationalistic or ideological. It is an impractical suggestion. For whoever enters the arena with the elephant crushes others, and the Americans don’t serve anything but their interests.

In light of realities and testimonies, we can understand the contradictions in Erdogan’s standpoints and policies internally and externally, and the fickle alliances and unconcealed opportunism he attempts to cover up through lengthy speeches. Examples are present and evident in all fields.

Now Erdogan turned against the Hizmet (Service) movement, which represents social and civil Islam in Turkey, after he benefitted from its support and backing for more than 10 years, making it fully responsible for the failed coup and describing it as a "parallel structure," arresting and discharging tens of thousands from their jobs on the basis of lists prepared in advance.

At the same time, he hosts and supports the Muslim Brotherhood organisation, which was not only a parallel structure and total opposite to the state, but was also seeking — according to their founding notions — to create a parallel society that was emotionally secluded. On the contrary, the Hizmet movement was based on a totally different stance: openness to the world, refusal of the idea of "two camps" and all the closed dichotomies upon which political Islam as a current is based.

It is noticeable that the Muslim Brotherhood organisation and its supporters are cheering Erdogan and his measures aimed at entrenching his authoritarian rule and raising it to a new level, which will drive Turkey to the inferno of intermingling and intersecting divisions.

They are boasting that what happened in Turkey, of people taking to the streets, was a defence of democracy (as if the Muslim Brotherhood are democratic) and at the same time they stick to the notion that what occurred in the form of people taking to streets against in the 30 June Revolution in Egypt was a coup. The latter was certainly much larger and had more impetus than the street mobilisation in Turkey.

The measures the Egyptian state carried out against the terrorism of the Muslim Brotherhood, their drive to undermine the state, and setting up a parallel structure, constitute nothing in comparison to what Erdogan executes now, if his accusations against the Hizmet movement were even true.

These accusations are to a great extent questionable for objective reasons. It is impossible for the movement to recruit a third of the Turkish military's generals, which is the bastion of secularism, overnight, and without anybody knowing.

This is also so because Erdogan is a blend of opportunism and falsehood, like all other political Islamic movements that are driving the region now towards a new tidal wave of destruction and subversion. 

The writer is head of the Nile Basin Studies Department at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies.

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