From Egypt, with love
“Luckily, the first 18 tumultuous months of the Arab Spring have passed. Once we deal with the next 180 tumultuous months, then the final 1,800 tumultuous months will be very easy to tackle,” (“Enjoy your Arab Spring,” this column, June 20, 2012).
Nine months earlier, in September 2011, when I “proposed to lend our prime minister to our Arab brothers,” I warned the Egyptians: “Dear Egyptian brothers! I know you feel nervous because our prime minister, visiting your capital, pledged to launch a high-level strategic cooperation council between our two brotherly countries, like he had done a few years earlier with our Syrian brothers...
“He has also vowed to increase bilateral trade by more than three-fold, like he had done with our Syrian brothers. I know past experiences show that these are not good signs, but they should in no way scare you. Remember one day we’ll all together pray at the al-Aqsa mosque in the Palestinian capital al-Quds.”
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is right when he says that what happened in Egypt was a coup d’état. And Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is right when he says that this is “unacceptable.” I am curious, though, about what the dynamic duo will do to “unaccept” the coup in Cairo. Something like what they have done in Syria? Like how they “unaccept” President Bashar al-Assad’s regime?
But do, really, Mssrs. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu believe that they can undo the coup by making a few phone calls to the world’s political celebrities like U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon or U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry? Can they be so naive as to think that just because they rang Washington, New York and a few European capitals, a coalition of coup-makers and political opportunists will surrender power and reinstate the Turks’ much beloved Egyptian Muslim brother Mohamed Morsi as president with full powers? The answer is, surprisingly, yes; they do believe that. Evidence? Did Mssrs. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu not wholeheartedly believe that once they had spoken with Iranian, Russian and Chinese leaders, al-Assad’s days would be numbered?
How heartbroken and disappointed they must be feeling now that their Arab brothers-in-arms in a Sunni campaign against the Shiite bloc were the frontrunners in congratulating the Egyptian general who toppled Mr. Morsi’s elected government. Will you gentlemen now “unaccept” the unacceptable praise for the coup from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates?
And do the very important men in Ankara really believe, as reported in a story in this newspaper, that “...they [Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE] will revise their position and adopt a similar line with ours?” But why not? Are they not the same very important men who believed that “Iran, Russian and China will revise their position and adopt a similar line to ours” and who believe that intense phone diplomacy with Western capitals will undo the Egyptian coup and reinstate their Islamist friend?
Would the Sunni Islamists in Ankara really care so much if a Sunni-controlled military had ousted, say, the Shiite-friendly government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq? Did the Sunni Islamists in Ankara really believe that their otherwise good friends in Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE are in fact the Muslim champions of democracy that their rush to praise Egypt’s coup leaders was uh-ah-so-very-shocking?
More importantly, do the Sunni Islamists in Ankara really believe that they run the show in the Middle East – when they rush to the phone to ring Western capitals each time their plans hit an invisible wall of Oriental reality? Perhaps Mr. Erdoğan should personally ring the Egyptian general, who staged a coup and allegedly ordered the killing of innocent civilians on a new Egyptian Black Monday, and tell him what he did was unacceptable and that he should immediately reinstate the unlucky Mr. Morsi? Was it not the pillar of Mr. Davutoğlu’s doctrine that we in the Muslim world “should ward off the Western powers from our backyard and run our own affairs?”
Luckily, the first 30 tumultuous months of the Arab Spring have passed...