News / Europe

Parallels Drawn Between Turkey and Egypt's Political Turmoil

Turkish riot police use their shields to protect themselves as they clash with protesters in central Istanbul, July 8, 2013.
Turkish riot police use their shields to protect themselves as they clash with protesters in central Istanbul, July 8, 2013.
TEXT SIZE - +
Dorian Jones
— Turkey's prime minister is drawing parallels between the country's 1997 military coup that ousted an Islamist led government and forced early elections to Egypt's recent upheaval. Some analysts in Turkey believe how the country's Islamist movement reacted to the army intervention there may offer valuable lessons to Egypt.  

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at the forefront of condemning the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi by the military.

In a speech this week, he again condemned the army's intervention, drawing on Turkey's history. Mr. Erdogan has firsthand experience, as he was ousted when serving as Istanbul mayor in the wake of legal crackdown in 1997 when the army forced from office Turkey's first Islamist Prime Minister Necmettin Erbakan.

Mustafa Akyol, author of the book "Islam Without Extreme," said how Turkey's Islamist movement reacted to the army's actions could help Egypt.

"The military orchestrated the whole thing; gave instruction to courts to open cases against Islamic politicians or opinion leaders," he said. "They took control of universities and fired or demoted professors who have relgious views. It was a sort of a witch hunt. Now the politicians who have been the target of this, including Erdogan, they took a lesson. They realized fierce fiery rhetoric, this threatening mood against secularists, this anti-western narrative, does not help them. So they took a lesson [and] they reformed themselves. They created the AKP with a whole different message."

Mr. Erdogan's AK Party swept to power in 2002 with a landslide victory. Since then, he has won two more general elections. The secret behind his initial success was the preparedness of the AKP to reach out to a wider cross-section of society. It stressed a commitment to follow pro-market economic policies and support the country's bid to join the European Union, according to Yuksel Tasgin, an assistant professor of politics at Istanbul's Marmara University.

"The first lesson that can be learned in the transition era [is] you should share power. AKP were able to convince liberal intellectuals for their democratization package, that they are really willing to join the European Union," said Tasgin.

The AK party's success also hinged on the fact that the electorate did not resort to violence or mass street protests in the wake of the army's intervention, according to author Mustafa Akyol.

"That's partly because the tradition of democracy is strong in Turkey. It goes back to 1950, the first free and fair elections," he said. "And the Islamic side knew that after every coup, there are free and fair elections, and generally the people that the military don't like win the elections. So they could see the future. They could understand that if they reform themselves, they have a better chance in the next election."

Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans as they attend weekly Friday prayers at Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo July 12, 2013Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans as they attend weekly Friday prayers at Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo July 12, 2013
x
Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans as they attend weekly Friday prayers at Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo July 12, 2013
Supporters of ousted President Mohamed Mursi shout slogans as they attend weekly Friday prayers at Rabaa Adawiya square, where they are camping, in Cairo July 12, 2013
But where Turkey has become similar to Egypt is its weeks of anti-government protests.

Political columnist Kadri Gursel of the Turkish newspaper Milliyet says the protests, known as the Gezi Movement, were the result of Mr. Erdogan forgetting the lessons of the past by abandoning inclusive political policies.

"Since he deviated from this adopted reference of values, such as the EU perspective, secular democracy, now he is in collision with other segments of society.  This is proven by the Gezi movement," he said.

But analysts say there is one lesson from Egypt that Mr. Erdogan is embracing.  Like the Muslim Brotherhood, he claims he is a victim of an anti-democratic conspiracy, and he is promising a tough response to those behind it.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ali baba from: new york
July 13, 2013 2:39 PM
it seems to me that history is repeating itself. the history of turkey of genocide of Armenian ,killing people in east Europe. killing million in Egypt .then at the end of 21 century appeared to the world as a peace maker. turkey should put in the right place and away from Europe


by: Godwin from: Nigeria
July 13, 2013 2:32 PM
They brought arms illegally into the country, that is the contention. Whether they be hezbollah or whatever terrorist should be second fiddle. The bottom line is that they are doing illegal business in the country, especially traceable and linkable to the terrorist activities going on in the country when lives are lost at abandon, and terrorists flourish with arms unlimited. Where do the arms come from? More worrisome is the impunity with which these suspects view our legal system. You need to see the mirth in their faces when they were coming out of the courtroom yesterday like people alighting from a jamboree. Why blame them? They know that the legal system in Nigeria is fragile; a country where justice can be bought on the back of a complimentary card. Precedence shows that the judicial system is corrupt and almost non-existent. Just let the Nigerians know that these people imported arms into the country illegally and may be the backbone of the seemingly intractable boko haram menace. Nigeria abhors terrorism but may not have the legal framework to prosecute external terrorism charges.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid