No conspiracy, only a coincidence

No conspiracy, only a coincidence

The fact that Western democracies, the U.S., the EU and Arab autocracies are on almost the same line of not calling the army toppling of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi a “coup,” and are not putting enough pressure on army chief General Abdel Fettah Sisi over the attack on Morsi supporters, has got the Turkish government very upset.

Every other day, either Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan, or one of his Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government colleagues, makes a strong statement against the West (not so much against Arabs) for their “hypocrisy,” and generally end up also bashing “certain” Turkish media.

Erdoğan has a point in labeling this attitude “hypocrisy.” It could be understandable for Arab autocrats to enjoy the failure of a democratic attempt in an Arab country, (not just any country, but Egypt), which could have created an example for their own people and threaten their oil-and-gas-built dynasties. But Erdoğan would have expected more of a pro-democracy stance from U.S. and the EU - after all, an elected leader has been overthrown by the military.

But what made the Egypt case so special that the democratic principles of the West were overlooked this time?

There are a number of factors, such as the cross-border nature of the Muslim Brotherhood movement in Egypt, (of which Morsi is a member), and its influence on a wide spectrum from the Syrian opposition to the Ennahda party in Tunisia and Hamas in Palestine.

The overthrow of Morsi in Egypt has put the Brotherhood in a defensive position for its own existence. The first foreign policy move of Sisi has been to close the Rafah border gate with Gaza and to destroy the tunnels in between, which has pleased Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu.

It constituted another gesture for Netanyahu that could be shown to his own voters to justify the resumption of settlement talks with Palestinians. That is one of the main foreign policy targets of U.S. President Barack Obama in his second term, as demonstrated by his first overseas trip to Israel. And his decision, as encouraged by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, to give a justification for the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was the release of a group of Palestinian prisoners on July 28. The main rival of Abbas, Khaled Mashaal of Hamas, is now in a defensive position after the fall of Morsi.

On July 29, the settlement talks started in Washington DC, with many obstacles removed from the path.

Egypt has been the mediator (with the help of Turkey) between Israel and the Palestinian factions for the last few years for the resumption of talks, but has got no results. Not a month after Morsi’s ouster from the presidency and the problems of Egyptian business, the talks are back. A happy coincidence, isn’t it?