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.
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

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office 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.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs