Erdogan Will Stop Diplomatic Maneuvers

17 May 2014 | 13:45 Code : 1932916 Interview General category
An interview with Siamak Kakaei, an expert on Turkish affairs
Erdogan Will Stop Diplomatic Maneuvers

Turkish sources have informed the al-Arab newspaper that Erdogan, the Prime Minister of Turkey, has designed a media line to shake the stability of Saudi Arabia and the UAE in response to the downfall of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt. This is done in response to the measures taken by Saudi Arabia and the UAE to eliminate the Muslim Brotherhood. Saudi Arabia has invested millions of dollars in Turkey. Does Turkey have the capacity to enter into a new challenge with Saudi Arabia over the issue of the Muslim Brotherhood?

The developments in Egypt during the past few years, from the time when this country was faced with popular uprisings which led to the change in the political system of this country, have impacted the approach of Turkey’s foreign policy. The issue which was more interesting for part of the Middle East was that Turkey found itself in a new situation. This means that prior to that, Turkey played an active role in the region and had found a special status among the Arab countries. Therefore, with the emergence of new developments in the Middle East countries, Turkey was faced with new conditions. Thus, Turkey’s view of such developments in Egypt and then political changes in this country was to present a political example and pattern to this country. That is why Erdogan was among the few political leaders of the world who went to Egypt, took positions and recognized and supported the new government of Egypt and established strong relations between Turkey and Mohammad Morsi, the former Egyptian president. This led to the analysis that the Justice and Development Party of Turkey and the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt had similar viewpoints. This could be seen in the positions taken by Morsi and Erdogan. As it could be seen in the visits and the presence of Morsi in the fourth congress of the Justice and Development Party, Turkey’s outlook of Egypt after the developments was that of a structural view along the line of changing and presenting a political example to this country. That is why when dissatisfaction with Morsi increased and then the army removed Morsi through a coup, there was serious confrontation between Turkey’s positions with regard to Egypt compared with some of the regional and international players including Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the US. This means that Turkey sought Morsi’s return to power and the view of countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE was to change the existing situation in Egypt and support the change of government and the removal of the Muslim Brotherhood from power. That is why during the past few months, there have been changes even in the outlook of Turkey and Saudi Arabia and media confrontations with regard to Egypt. Still, the political officials of Turkey have not accepted to change their positions after Morsi’s downfall.

Nevertheless, two issues could be analyzed with regard to the positions of countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia concerning Egypt’s developments. Despite the fact that Saudi Arabia and Turkey have pursued similar policies with regard to the regional developments during recent years and even had close religious ideologies, there have been fundamental differences in their political outlooks toward regional developments. This means that Saudi Arabia attempts to pursue its own supportive policies and Turkey pursues its own democracy-seeking policies with regard to the region. That is why the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt is the confrontation point between Turkey and Saudi Arabia. But strong economic cooperation still exists. Saudi investors are active in Turkey and these two issues are separated from each other. The same outlook exists with regard to Syria but there is a challenge in their political ideologies.

What are the consequences of such an outlook toward the Muslim Brotherhood for both sides?

Although there have been common views with regard to the developments in Iraq, Syria and other countries in the positions of Turkey and Saudi Arabia, the confrontation which was mentioned regarding Egypt could have two consequences: First, its impact on their different ideological views in the regional scene and second, as regional players and their understanding in the political scene of the Middle East between Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

Erdogan is faced with political challenges inside his country. He is under the pressure of the domestic groups. At the same time Saudi Arabia does not enjoy a high status in the Turkish society. That is why Erdogan attempts to challenge Saudi Arabia’s behaviors in order to reduce the pressures and establish a balance and use it for future elections. Is it possible for Erdogan to pursue this issue?

During the past two years, Turkey has returned to its old foreign policy. The reason is that it has not succeeded in advancing its policies with regard to Syria, Iraq and Egypt. Therefore, it has returned to its old policy and at some junctures during the last few years has attempted to repair its relations with Iran. Still this regional confrontation exists. Under conditions when Turkey is nearing an election, Erdogan would not move towards creating tensions in his foreign policies. Its feedbacks could create serious challenges among the opposition inside Turkey against the government. That is why Erdogan is more attentive to the domestic issues. The continuation of the trend of developments in Turkey is impacted by the view of the Justice and Development Party with regard to the future of Turkey. Erdogan’s political future could also be effective in this regard.

tags: turkey saudi arabia egypt erdogan muslim brotherhood morsi