Egypt between post-Mubarak and the old order
It has been almost a year since the Egyptian revolution began. Now Egypt indicates that democratization pains will not end in a short period of time.
Egypt and Turkey have always been compared in terms of both their political history and geopolitical positions. The two countries were compared particularly over the last year when people discussed how the post-Mubarak era in Egypt will develop. Today, at first look, Egypt resembles the Turkey of 2001 in some respects.
Nevertheless, the two countries also differ significantly from each other. Where Egypt’s development is in terms of Turkey’s historical timeline is hard to determine. Is Egypt in 1950s Turkey, when it adopted a multi-party system? Or is Egypt in 1960s Turkey, when the May 27 tutelage system was built? Or is Egypt in 2001, when Turkey verged on bankruptcy following the lost years of the 1990s? When we try to understand Egypt with the help of Turkey’s political history, difficult questions come to mind.
Egypt has to confront military tutelage, economic crisis, regional order and international dynamics all while learning the particulars of democratic political competition. Turkey has confronted similar problems throughout its political history and still suffers from some of these problems.
When compared to Egypt, Turkey’s greatest advantage is that it has confronted these problems gradually. However, Egypt has to confront these issues simultaneously, whereas Turkey had 60 years. Despite coups, Turkey compensated for the damage of the 60-year-old tutelary regime by spreading the costs over a period of time.
Egypt has to undergo the democratization process under the severe economic crisis, regional fragile geopolitics and tutelary regime. The first significant step is to hold secure, fair elections. The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) came face to face with Egyptian people for the first time following the resignation of Mubarak. Elections faded to the background when photos of violence in Tahrir emerged in recent weeks. The SCAF does not complain about the situation. Political parties claim whenever elections fade into the background, votes are rigged. The SCAF is aware of Egypt’s political and economic situation. SCAF is in a dilemma. They do not want to assume this responsibility by maintaining the military rule and they do want the tutelary system to end either.
The situation of the SCAF resembles the situation of the U.S. The U.S. had to come face to face with the people in the region when Mubarak and other dictators resigned. Mubarak was successful in silencing Egyptian people in the name of protecting his regime like the Camp David order compensated for the damages in the region in the name of U.S. Now neither the Camp David order nor the Mubarak regime exists. It is not only the SCAF that is in a deadlock in the New Egypt and Middle East.
The Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) is in a similar situation. For now, two political parties established only a few months ago, namely FJP and Nour Party, are in the lead in Egypt’s elections. While FJP tried to figure out how to confront military tutelage and economic crisis, it faced the Salafi movement. Egyptian political balance is like their election system. Everyone who tries to explain or understand it begins by saying “It is too easy” but gives up by saying “It is over my head.”