Turkey leaves door open to top Muslim Brotherhood members
No Muslim Brotherhood figures have yet contacted Turkish officials about a possible application for residency, Erdoğan says.Seven top figures from the Muslim Brotherhood who are being forced to leave Qatar could come to Turkey if there are no complications preventing their entry, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
“In the event that they request to come to Turkey, then necessary investigations will be carried out. A different approach could be implemented if there are reasons to prevent their entry to Turkey. If there are no obstacles, the mandatory convenience provided to everyone will also be provided to them,” Erdoğan told journalists while returning from an official trip to Qatar late Sept. 15. “They can come to Turkey just like any other foreign visitor, if there are no problems.”
The seven prominent Muslim Brotherhood members, including Mahmoud Hussein, the secretary-general of the movement, are being forced to leave Qatar. Hussein named Turkey as a possible subsequent destination.
Erdoğan said none of the figures had yet contacted Turkish officials about a possible application for residency.
The Muslim Brotherhood was designated as a terrorist organization by Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi following a coup he staged against brotherhood-linked President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013.
Turkish-Egyptian bilateral relations have deteriorated following the toppling of Morsi as the Turkish government frequently denounced the coup staged by el-Sisi. Egypt and Turkey have reciprocally declared their counterpart’s respective ambassadors as personae non gratae and reduced the level of diplomatic representation.
Turkey’s decision to welcome the brotherhood officials is expected to ratchet up the tension between the countries.
Harsh against US media
Erdoğan, meanwhile, also rejected claims that Turkey had been trading oil with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), accusing prominent U.S. newspapers like the New York Times and Wall Street Journal of fabricating news reports.
“I brought to the attention of [U.S. Secretary of State John] Kerry in our meeting. The American press is producing fabricated news. [The New York Times] is very skilled at producing such news. [They aim at] destroying the ties between Turkey and America and other friendly countries,” he said.
Erdoğan said Turkey would be active in Iraq with its humanitarian activities, indicating it would not engage in a military campaign against jihadists given that 49 of its citizens are being held hostage by ISIL.
“Our efforts and works are being carried out by our special units because the center of this issue is Mosul,” Erdoğan said. “Our problem is this: 99 percent of the Turkish people are Muslim. These 49 citizens are all Muslims. An approach like this to these people has made us upset. We are exerting efforts on how we can resolve this issue through dialogue.”