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Turkey: The Brotherhood’s last station

During the Muslim Brotherhood’s 90-year existence, it was never as influential and dangerous as it was after the 2011 Egyptian revolution

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Published: Updated:

During the Muslim Brotherhood’s 90-year existence, it was never as influential and dangerous as it was after the 2011 Egyptian revolution.

However, it is losing ground, and we are witnessing its last strongholds falling. Turkey has started to get rid of the Brotherhood in order to reconcile with Egypt’s government, whose overthrow is one of the group’s aims.

With Ankara ending its support, the Brotherhood’s project will practically come to an end. It may have to wait another 90 years to attempt reaching power again, unless there are exceptional circumstances.

In a rare historic moment, the Brotherhood rose to power in the most populous Arab country in June 2012. Its rule lasted a year, but it did not know how to deal with the delicate, unstable situation in Egypt and the region.

With Ankara ending its support, the Brotherhood’s project will practically come to an end

Abdulrahman al-Rashed

Catalogue of errors

Instead of cooperating with parties that participated in the revolution, and reassuring influential powers such as the army and the region’s governments, the Brotherhood created enmity with friends, thus losing the only chance in its long history of unsuccessful attempts.

It has been finished as a political project since former President Mohamed Mursi and other Brotherhood leaders were arrested, and a transitional government was declared.

The group did not understand the harsh lesson. It deluded itself that foreign intervention would return it to power. It gambled on regional conflicts and relied on the statements of foreign powers, without learning from history and the status quo.

Favoring violence and terrorism in the Sinai failed to shake the government. The Brotherhood’s provocative media campaigns failed to mobilize enough people.

US sanctions on the government did not last long as aid was reinstated and trade resumed. After Qatar finally distanced itself from the Brotherhood, Turkey is now proceeding with divorce. The Brotherhood considers itself the landlord without considering the circumstances of host countries. It was not content with the great support it got in Turkey to establish TV stations and websites, and organize conferences and other activities.

It invaded the local media of sympathetic countries. This reflects its ideological reputation, which has led to the frightening image that it seeks to dominate education and communication in countries that tolerated its presence, such as the Gulf states.

Some may say it is too soon to declare the Brotherhood’s death, but there are enough official and unofficial statements underlining Turkey’s constraints on its leaders and activities. A deal between Ankara and Cairo will most probably end the Brotherhood’s political and media presence, and likely lead to deportations from Turkey, as happened in Qatar. The group would have then lost its last key station.

It will only be able to resort to Europe, where it will wither away. The most appropriate shelter for it is Iran, given that they have been allies since the 1979 revolution there, and its branch in Gaza, Hamas, is still on good terms with Tehran. However, resorting to Iran would end the Brotherhood for good.

This article was first published in Asharq al-Awsat on July 15, 2016.
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Abdulrahman al-Rashed is the former General Manager of Al Arabiya News Channel. A veteran and internationally acclaimed journalist, he is a former editor-in-chief of the London-based leading Arab daily Asharq al-Awsat, where he still regularly writes a political column. He has also served as the editor of Asharq al-Awsat’s sister publication, al-Majalla. Throughout his career, Rashed has interviewed several world leaders, with his articles garnering worldwide recognition, and he has successfully led Al Arabiya to the highly regarded, thriving and influential position it is in today. He tweets @aalrashed

Disclaimer: Views expressed by writers in this section are their own and do not reflect Al Arabiya English's point-of-view.