Muslim Brotherhood leader says Turkey-Egypt reconciliation would not affect the group

Published July 12th, 2016 - 10:30 GMT
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he has "no problem" with the Egyptian people, but with the leadership in Egypt. (AFP/File)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said he has "no problem" with the Egyptian people, but with the leadership in Egypt. (AFP/File)

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmus said yesterday that Turkey did not take any steps to normalize its relations with Egypt, but it would like to launch such steps after it had recently improved its relations with Russia and Israel.

Two days ago, the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) Deputy Chief Saban Disli had announced that a high-ranking Turkish delegation would visit Egypt to discuss restoring relations between both countries.

Observers said Turkish officials’ conflicting statements concerning improving relations with Egypt are due to difficulties engendered by the presence of leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey, in addition to the party’s Istanbul-based television channels and news websites. Observers said the Muslim Brotherhood leaders feel that Turkey had started to abandon them.

In a telephone call with Asharq Al-Awsat, a member from the Muslim Brotherhood Shura Council in Turkey said Istanbul was acting in a way that serves its interest as a state. The source said the Muslim Brotherhood is not concerned by this decision, and that the party’s situation in Turkey would not be affected by the rapprochement.

The Muslim Brotherhood leader also said that reviving relations with Egypt’s current regime had created a strong division inside the ruling AKP party for the past year, therefore, any decision taken by the Turkish government concerning a rapprochement with Egypt would not be considered by the Muslim Brotherhood as “surprising” and would not even affect its presence in Turkey.

He said Turkey would not restore its relations with Egypt in a single batch, referring to the comments of Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, who spoke about special economic and investment relations between both countries, and the latest comments of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who said Turkey had no problem with the Egyptian people but only with the Egyptian leadership.

The Muslim Brotherhood leader asserted that Turkey would not change its positions by accepting the coup in Egypt, and it would refuse to return Brotherhood leaders and those awaiting a verdict to Egypt.

Meanwhile, employees working for the Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece TV channel are worried they might be under pressure from the Turkish government after Istanbul’s decision to restore its relations with Egypt.

A journalist from one of the TV channels had asked Mohammed Zahid Gul, a consultant with the Religious Affairs Committee, whether the Turkish government would sacrifice them or send them to Egypt and close their channels. Gul said he did not expect anything from this matter to happen.

However, sources close to the ruling AKP party hinted that in the coming phase, Turkey might ask the Muslim Brotherhood mouthpiece TV channels to lower their attacks against the Egyptian leadership.


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