News / Middle East

Turkey's Erdogan May Use Egypt Turmoil to Justify Crackdown

Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan calls for the U.N. Security Council to convene quickly and act after what he described as a massacre in Egypt, during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 15, 2013.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan Erdogan calls for the U.N. Security Council to convene quickly and act after what he described as a massacre in Egypt, during a news conference in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 15, 2013.
Dorian Jones
— Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been at the forefront of condemnation of the overthrow of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, which he has blamed on an international conspiracy. Erdogan has been touring his electoral strongholds and speaking at mass rallies. He warns that Turkey also could be the victim of such a plot. Observers say his stance could be a sign Ankara is preparing to take a firm stance against any future unrest.

"Today it is Egypt, tomorrow they may want to unsettle Turkey because they don't want a strong Turkey in this region," he said at a meeting in the city of Bursa earlier this month. "Don't forget everyone has a trap, but the grandest is God Almighty's trap," he added.

Erdogan's ruling AKP party has its roots in political Islam and close political ties with Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood.

Fears, assertions

Sinan Ulgen, a visiting scholar at Carnegie Europe in Brussels, said the overthrow of the Egyptian president by his army had a strong impact on Erdogan.

"Given the history of the conflict in Turkey between the ruling party - the AKP - and the military, and the eventual successful domestication of the military's political influence, it's certainly very natural for Erdogan to adopt this line in Egypt, seeing a democratically elected government being ousted by the military," said Ulgen.

Erdogan repeatedly has claimed the overthrow of the Egyptian president was part of an international conspiracy against political Islam. The Turkish prime minister claims a similar conspiracy was behind weeks of protests sparked by his government's plans to redevelop Istanbul's Gezi Park.

Semih Idiz, a diplomatic columnist for the Turkish newspaper Taraf, said with Turkey facing crucial elections next year, playing the conspiracy card could be a shrewd move by Erdogan.

"He can keep his constituency, and make sure that there is no splits and divisions within his party, by [using] this siege mentality - [saying that] 'we are under siege, we have to remain solid at the moment.' And one way of doing that is twanging the chords that go down well with his Islamic grassroots supporters," said Idiz.

Anti-terror laws

Mass protests in the name of democracy preceded the military's ouster of Egypt's president. Given that, warns Soli Ozel, an international relations professor at Istanbul's Kadir Has University, Erdogan will view any repeat of anti-government protests in Turkey as a direct, anti-democratic threat to his rule, and likely will authorize a severe crackdown by security forces.

"Should there be a Gezi-type demonstration or wave of demonstrations in the country, the response is going to be pretty harsh, I think. And all that Egypt analogy is getting to serve as the legitimating narrative of it," said Ozel.

The Turkish government already has introduced regulations banning political slogans from being chanted at concerts or sporting events. The government also has warned that its severe anti-terror laws could be used against protestors. Despite such threats, analysts say that with students returning to schools and universities in September, fresh unrest could be in the offing.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid