Turkey’s curious policy on Egypt

Turkey’s curious policy on Egypt

I think what happened in Egypt was a coup, and I think it was against democracy, regardless of Mohamed Morsi’s authoritarian leanings, full stop. I say this as a free-minded individual; I think I can condemn the Egyptian army’s interference in very harsh terms given that what happened contradicts with my political principles. The governments of democratic countries, too, are expected to condemn anti-democratic events in foreign countries and to express concerns. Nevertheless, it is rather a different matter to side with a foreign country’s political party, if this is the case; that, then, is called a “foreign intervention.”

I cannot figure out if this is the case with the Turkish government stance concerning the coup in Egypt. So far, the PM and the government have not only condemned the army’s intervention, but also engaged in a political struggle in Egypt, so much so that Justice and Development Party (AKP) politicians have expressed their faith in Morsi’s fight to return to power. Besides, it seems that Turkey is the only country which has engaged itself so deeply in Egyptian affairs. The government’s Syrian policy has also proceeded along similar lines, yet this policy, at least, was in tune with Turkey’s Western and regional allies. Even so, the Syrian policy failed to accommodate itself to changed circumstances and finally drifted away from the policies of Turkey’s allies to its doom.

As for Egypt, international and regional actors have so far been very cautious even about classifying the nature of the act that deposed Mursi. Our PM, somehow, only accused the “Western world” of not naming it as a coup, criticizing Westerners of hypocrisy. In fact, it is not only the Western world and Egypt’s regional enemies like Syria, but Saudi Arabia, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates and even Qatar failed to take any action against the Egyptian generals.

Besides, our PM and the government have to know that if foreign governments choose to take a firm stance, they are expected to take action as well, like diminishing or cutting diplomatic relations, imposing sanctions and the like. In the case of the United States, it is the U.S. Constitution which forbids foreign aid to those countries. If the U.S. names it a “coup,” it should also cut its aid to Egypt, and such a move would only help deepen the crisis in Egypt by pushing the Egyptian economy into bankruptcy.

I wonder what Turkey’s government is planning to do if Morsi fails to come back. Will the government change its stance or will it keep antagonizing the current powers. In the case of the latter, Turkey may find itself all alone in blocking its relations with Egypt and such a prospect may produce disastrous political consequences which will be far more important than any delaying in the PM’s Gaza trip.

We all know that there are political affinities and solidarity between the AKP and the Muslim Brotherhood. Nonetheless, the governments, on one hand, should act as representatives of the countries in terms of the national interest and consent while also acting in accordance with diplomatic rules. Turkey’s government has so far acted as a political party or as an interest group, and the relations between Turkey and Egypt ceased to be international relations between two countries, but turned into “cross-boundary ideological solidarity” between two Islamist (or neo-Islamist) political parties. Turkey’s foreign policy is becoming more curious every day and Egypt has so far been the latest curiosity.