Reset: Erdogan and Egypt

Coup in Egypt, deposing the Muslim Brotherhood President Morsi, who had been elected by 51% of the Egyptian vote.  Thousands of people jammed Tahrir Square overcome with joy as the army head announced that they were toppling the government. In a split screen, in another square thousands of Morsi supporters stood quietly, looking stunned. The Muslim Brotherhood TV station was closed and its employees taken into custody. Morsi’s supporters vowed to fight the coup, to the death if need be. A coup is always practiced on the skin of the people.

I was riveted to aljazeera’s live feed, wondering what PM Erdogan was thinking as he watched on his wide-screen TV. See, he might say to his followers, this is just like those coup-loving Gezi protesters I told you are agitating to get their old power back. This is what will happen if I let the Gezi protests get out of hand.

But the Gezi protesters aren’t Kemalists, and Morsi was incompetent and unsuited to the job of president. He spent so much time consolidating power and alienating people outside of his Muslim Brotherhood constituency that he had no time to plug the economic drain and rein in the security forces who were as busy manhandling and arresting people on trumped up charges as under Morsi’s autocratic predecessor. Morsi was divisive and arrogant and “the other half” of the Egyptians no longer felt safe or even heard.

PM Erdogan, by contrast, was a pro and handled most economic and infrastructure issues with aplomb, fixing, improving, giving a lot of people some of what they wanted and needed. The army is probably no longer a threat, even if Erdogan hadn’t met expectations. But the rest of the paragraph above applies. Erdogan is playing the divisive card, perhaps to rally his base in advance of upcoming local elections, but it’s a foolish and dangerous game to diss half your population.

It seems in Turkey as in Egypt, the pious Muslim party insists on the ballot box because it knows it can fill it. In Egypt politically weak liberals who are unable to win the election applaud the coup reset button. In Turkey, in the recent past, some Kemalists called for the army to do its “duty” and topple the AKP, but so far the new protesters in the Gezi public square just want to be heard, want to be part of the democratic process. Go get yourself the votes, then, PM Erdogan replies, otherwise don’t bother me. And in his gruff way, he’s right — the protesters need to get inside the system if they wish to change it.

The Turkish public’s new expectations are in part a result of AKP’s success — a new, global economy, an expanding middle class, better educated youth. Instead of applauding them, it appears the the government doesn’t understand them and is afraid of them.  But Gezi protesters are not coup-loving Tahrir Square denizens. Yet. Maybe never.

16 Responses to “Reset: Erdogan and Egypt”

  1. Erdoğan is a fool. Turkey is very indebted, which will have to be repayed. Mursi is Qatar’s man, was living on handouts.

  2. Electoral victory will come right after Erdogan eliminates the election threshold, stops raising voters from the dead, buys the living ones off, ferries them to the polls, and starts co-operating in parliament:

  3. I see that the anti-imperialists and anti-American Turks do not say anything about American support for the Egyptian coup:)
    New Elections, a new political party, a new electoral law etc., nothing can save you guys. Only the Turkish Armed Forces can free you guys:)
    Long Live Turkish Army and Long Live USA:)

  4. […] Reset: Erdogan and Egypt […]


    Turkey…Egypt…and what about the U.S. ?

  6. Can American Democracy go beyond Republicans and Democrats?

    I think not only Turkey but also the U.S. needs a new political party.

  7. Anti secularism = Anka
    Anti imperialism = Anka
    Anti Ataturk = Anka
    Anti republicans = Anka
    Anti Democracy = Anka
    Anti nationalism = Anka
    Anti Indepence = Anka
    USA = Anka
    Israel = Anka
    Anka = Anka

    Hahahahaahh :))))))

  8. I ment independence, sorry !

  9. Morsi’s Election—The Explanation

    Yep! He won. However, Morsi’s 51% was against Mubarak loyalist Ahmed Shafiq in a choice between “al ‘ar” [shame] and “al nar” [fire]. He squeaked through this runoff with many votes really “against Shafiq/Mubarak” not “for” him. A more accurate picture is his 25% [nearly like Shafiq] from MB and Salafis together. Had Shafiq [and the NDP political machine] been disqualified as he should have been, Morsi would likely have run against no 3 vote-getting left-labor Hamdeen Sabbahi. With no “’ar” candidate in the run-off and the MB with their 25% “real supporters” it is pretty clear who would have gotten the rest of the 75% who don’t like the left but hate the Islamists. A few months later, university student elections showed how drastically the MB’s popularity had eroded, but in favor of independents, rather than other parties as the big winners. As for the liberals, they share a common respect for democracy but have fundamental left-right differences on economic policy which is the most crucial issue.

  10. Nothing, yes nothing can legitimize a military coup. President Bush was not popular in the USA at all. But, no liberal in the US would have supported a military coup against the president Bush. If it is wrong in the US, it is wrong in Egypt too.

  11. anka: The U.S. has an impeachment process, and other countries have recall procedures too. Bush & co should be hauled to the ICC posthaste. Just because the U.S. can’t hold its rulers accountable, it doesn’t mean the Egyptians shouldn’t either.
    Bush didn’t change the constitution.

  12. yes, you are right. only the military juntas have the right to change the constitution as it happened in Turkey in 1960 and 1980:)

    Turkish Kemalists and ultra-nationalists used to blame Erdogan for being pro-American. Now, they support the same America in Egypt:)

  13. You’re pretty good at putting words into other people’s mouths. Where in Egypt is America, do tell? Maybe they’re “secretly” directing its military 😉

  14. sorry to say this but you should read the news. the US support the Egyptian army for decades and the US support anti-Morsi groups.

  15. Doctus cum libro …

  16. If you read the article you cited you’ll see it says they supported toppling Mubarak. So who are you supporting, Mubarak, Morsi, el-Baradei, or Mansour? We can go back further and show that Mubarak was also supported by the U.S.
    You’re just chasing your tail.

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