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

Turkey: No Ransom Paid for Release of Hostages Held by IS Militants

President Erdogan hails release of hostages as diplomatic success but declines to be drawn on whether their release freed Ankara's hand to take more active stance against insurgents More

Audio Sierra Leone Ends Ebola Lockdown

Health ministry says it has reached 75 percent of its target of visiting 1.5 million homes to locate infected, educate population about virus More

US Pivot to Asia Demands Delicate Balancing Act

As tumult in Middle East distracts Obama administration, efforts to shift American focus eastward appear threatened More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Towni
X
Deborah Block
September 21, 2014 2:12 PM
A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Natural Gas Export Plan Divides Maryland Town

A U.S. power company that has been importing natural gas now wants to export it. If approved, its plant in Lusby, Maryland, would likely be the first terminal on the United States East Coast to export liquefied natural gas from American pipelines. While some residents welcome the move because it will create jobs, others oppose it, saying the expansion could be a safety and environmental hazard. VOA’s Deborah Block examines the controversy.
Video

Video Difficult Tactical Battle Ahead Against IS Militants in Syria

The U.S. president has ordered the military to intensify its fight against the Islamic State, including in Syria. But how does the military conduct air strikes in a country that is not a U.S. ally? VOA correspondent Carla Babb reports from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Iran, World Powers Seek Progress in Nuclear Talks

Iran and the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5 + 1, have started a new round of talks on Iran's nuclear program. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins reports that as the negotiations take place in New York, a U.S. envoy is questioning Iran's commitment to peaceful nuclear activity.
Video

Video Alibaba Shares Soar in First Day of Trading

China's biggest online retailer hit the market Friday -- with its share price soaring on the New York Stock Exchange. The shares were priced at $68, but trading stalled at the opening, as sellers held onto their shares, waiting for buyers to bid up the price. More on the world's biggest initial public offering from VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York.
Video

Video Obama Goes to UN With Islamic State, Ebola on Agenda

President Obama goes to the United Nations General Assembly to rally nations to support a coalition against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. He also will look for nations to back his plan to fight the Ebola virus in West Africa. As VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports, Obama’s efforts reflect new moves by the U.S. administration to take a leading role in addressing world crises.
Video

Video Migrants Caught in No-Man's Land Called Calais

The deaths of hundreds of migrants in the Mediterranean this week has only recast the spotlight on the perils of reaching Europe. And for those forunate enough to reach a place like Calais, France, only find that their problems aren't over. Lisa Bryant has the story.
Video

Video Westgate Siege Anniversary Brings Back Painful Memories

One year after it happened, the survivors of the terror attack on Nairobi's Westgate Shopping Mall still cannot shake the images of that tragic incident. For VOA, Mohammed Yusuf tells the story of victims still waiting for the answer to the question 'how could this happen?'
Video

Video Militant Assault in Syria Displaces Thousands of Kurds

A major assault by Islamic State militants on Kurds in Syria has sent a wave of new refugees to the Turkish border, where they were stopped by Turkish border security. Turkey is already hosting about 700,000 Syrian refugees who fled the civil war between the government and the opposition. But the government in Ankara has a history of strained relations with Turkey's Kurdish minority. Zlatica Hoke reports Turkey is asking for international help.
Video

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

The International Whaling Commission, meeting in Slovenia, has voted to uphold a court ruling banning Japan from hunting whales in the Antarctic Ocean. Conservationists hailed the ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid