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

Photogallery Belgian Security Measures Foreshadow New Normal for Europe

Rising threat of terrorism, disaffected Muslim populations and open borders, along with refugee, migrant crisis, are creating perfect storm for Europe, which some analysts fear continent is ill-suited to weather

Competing Claims of Responsibility for Mali Hotel Attack

Malian authorities ask public for help in identifying gunmen killed in attack, amid conflicting claims of responsibility from multiple jihadist groups active in the country

Video Debt-ridden Refugees Await Onslaught of Lebanese Winter

Aid agencies are attempting to reduce potentially devastating consequences of freezing conditions and snowstorms that killed eight last year, including three Syrian refugees

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against ISi
November 24, 2015 3:04 AM
The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs