Cigars of the Pharaoh (I)

Cigars of the Pharaoh (I)

I borrowed the title from an episode in “Tintin’s Adventures.” It’s up to the reader to decide whether Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan should play the role of Tintin and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu that of Captain Haddock, or vice versa. Or, in a more realistic world, whether any of the Turkish heroes should play any of the roles of the Noble Sheik and Rastapopoulos. To be on the safer side of “independent Turkish judiciary,” I should not comment.

No matter who is who in “Cigars of the Pharaoh,” the Pharaoh’s land today shines like a safe haven for the spurned lover that is Turkey. Once Turkey’s fake “hudna” with Syria and Iran (and probably with Lebanon and Jordan as well) ended up where it should have ended up, the broken-hearted Turks have rushed to the land of the Pharaoh to find solace in the brotherly arms of another Arab nation.
This may be the beginning of another hudna – another brief period of peace and alliance between centuries-long rivalry, bitter memories of Ottoman colonialism, future rivalry and the fact that the Turks are too little Arab, too little Muslim and too western of a Trojan Horse for Egypt’s future rulers. Some analysts style the potential love affair as the coupling of the most unlikely of couples while the optimists, as always, find the best virtue in literally everything the Justice and Development Party (AKP) does or hopes to do.

Judging by the dominant rhetoric only, there is good reason to be optimistic. In an October interview with the New York Times, President Abdullah Gül declared that the emerging strategic alliance between Turkey and Egypt “will be an axis of democracy of the two biggest nations in our region, from the north to the south, from the Black Sea down to the Nile Valley in Sudan.”

But it may be a bad omen that Foreign Minister Davutoğlu has spoken of “a common history and a common future that Turkey and Egypt share.” In his earlier speeches, Professor Davutoğlu had spoken of “a very long, common history Turkey and Iran shared,” (the same Iran which, ignoring Mr. Davutoğlu’s protest note, threatened to bomb the NATO radar on Turkish soil twice within weeks. Never mind if other mullahs “corrected” the threats; it’s sheer taqiyya.)

Mr. Davutoğlu had also asserted that “a common destiny, a common history and a common future” were the slogan of Turkey and Syria. It is nice that we Turks do not share “a common present day” with our Syrian brothers who kill and are killed by the dictator of Damascus, Ankara’s best friend until a few months earlier. 

In other remarks, Mr. Davutoğlu had spoken of “a common history, a common destiny and a common future as well as cooperation between Turkey and Greece.” The cooperation between Turkey and Greece is perfectly visible in the Aegean skies where dogfights between fighter pilots from both shores with a common history and common destiny are a daily event. And the common future may mean sending more fighter aircraft and battleships to the shores of Cyprus to guard “common exploration for hydrocarbons in the eastern Mediterranean.”

Mr. Davutoğlu had also spoken of a common history and a common future in Benghazi where, after Colonel Moammar Gadhafi, rival Libyans are now at each other’s throat in the name of democracy.
At times like this, the Turks have set out on a new adventure in Arabia in search of a new love affair with a common history, common destiny and common future: Destination Egypt! Will the great-grandchildren of the Pharaoh become a subservient nation to the neo-Ottomans after they were so to the Ottomans for centuries? Oh, what an exciting adventure…

(To be continued next Wednesday)