AKP: US move against Muslim Brotherhood would damage democracy

AKP: US move against Muslim Brotherhood would damage democracy

AKP: US move against Muslim Brotherhood would damage democracy

The spokesman for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has said that if the United States designates the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, it will hamper democratization efforts in the Middle East and serve militant groups like ISIL.

The White House said on April 30 President Donald Trump was working to declare the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, a step that would bring sanctions against Egypt’s oldest Islamist movement.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi asked Trump to make the designation, which Egypt has already done, in a private meeting during an April 9 visit to Washington, a senior U.S. official said, confirming a report in the New York Times.

Ömer Çelik, the spokesman for the AKP, said such a decision by the United States would “undoubtedly yield extremely wrong results regarding stability, human rights, basic rights and freedoms in countries of the Islamic world,” he said.

“At the same time, [Trump’s move] is the biggest support that can be given to the propaganda of Daesh,” he said, referring to ISIL.

Despite being NATO allies, Turkey and the United States are currently at loggerheads mainly over their opposing interests in Syria and Ankara’s plans to buy Russian S-400 missile defense systems.

Relations between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since the Egyptian military, then led by Sisi, ousted President Mohamed Mursi, a senior figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, in 2013 after mass protests against his rule.

“We will remain ... steadfast in our work in accordance with our moderate and peaceful thinking and what we believe to be right, for honest and constructive cooperation to serve the communities in which we live, and humanity as a whole,” the Brotherhood said in a statement on its official website.

“The Muslim Brotherhood will remain stronger - through God’s grace and power - than any decision.”

Founded in Egypt in 1928, the Brotherhood came to power in the country’s first modern free election in 2012, a year after former President Hosni Mubarak was toppled in an uprising.

After Mursi was himself overthrown in 2013, the Brotherhood was swiftly banned. Egyptian authorities have declared it a terrorist organization and jailed thousands of its followers and much of its leadership, including Mursi.

The Brotherhood says it is a non-violent movement and denies any relationship to violent insurgencies waged by al-Qaeda and ISIL militants.