News / Europe

Turkey's Criticism of OIC Over Egypt Seen as Split with Arab Allies

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media before he leaves for Turkmenistan at Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Aug. 15, 2013.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan addresses the media before he leaves for Turkmenistan at Esenboga Airport in Ankara, Aug. 15, 2013.
Dorian Jones
Turkey's call for the resignation of the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, for not speaking out against the bloodshed in Egypt is being seen by analysts as another sign of Ankara's growing isolation from other Islamic countries.  Turkey's stance toward Egypt is in stark contrast to the position of some of its allies in the Middle East.   
 
Turkey's deputy prime minister, Bekir Bozdag, Monday accused the OIC and its Turkish secretary general of condoning Egypt's bloody crackdown on supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi.  Bozdag said OIC head Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu should resign over what he considered the organization's indifference to the bloodshed.  

Ihsanoglu has called on all parties in Egypt to exercise restraint.  

Diplomatic columnist Semih Idiz, of the Turkish newspaper Taraf, says the resignation call has caused some surprise in Turkey because Ihsanoglu is a Turk.  But Idiz views the call as an indication of the Turkish government’s wider frustration with its Arab allies.
 
"It just goes to show how uptight this government is over this Egypt business and is very frustrated that the narrative that it wants to be coming out [from] some of these Islamic organization’s is simply not coming.  But rather than be able to openly criticize Saudi Arabia, Jordan and whatever, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu is an easy target," said Idiz.

Turkey’s ruling party, the Islamic-rooted AK Party, has close ties with deposed Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party.  Ankara has been in the forefront of condemning Morsi’s overthrow and the subsequent crackdown on the Brotherhood and its supporters.  In stark contrast, many Gulf States and Saudi Arabia have backed Egypt's new military-led government.

Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar of Carnegie Europe, says Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is paying a high price for his country's stance.

"He has adopted the rhetoric that actually puts Turkey on the high moral ground certainly, but also this is driving Turkey apart from its allies in the Gulf as well, in particular Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.  So this is leading to the collapse of the alliance that was set up between these countries and Turkey to manage the security relationship in the region," said Ulgen.
 
Regional observers point out many Arab monarchies remain deeply suspicious if not outright hostile toward political Islamic groups like the Muslim Brotherhood, fearing they could threaten their rule.

Differences between Ankara and the Gulf States have also manifested themselves over Syria.  Idiz says Turkey is seen as backing more radical elements of the Syrian opposition, while Saudi Arabia supports former Baath Party and the secular elements.
 
The split is a dramatic turnaround for Turkey’s government, which has considered its close ties with Middle Eastern countries as one of its major triumphs. Analyst Ulgen says the split could add to growing pressure for a change in policy.
 
"When we compare at how Turkey positioned itself as almost an order-setter just two years ago, this situation certainty cannot be presented as a success for Turkish foreign policy. So I believe at some point there will be reassessment of what Turkey is doing," he said.

With Ankara playing no role in recent U.S. and EU mediation efforts to end the Egypt crisis, and being firmly on the sidelines of the current Palestinian-Israeli peace efforts, analysts say this is likely to only add to pressure on Ankara to reassess its foreign policy.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid