Expert: Turkey wants to islamize Middle East

Stockholm, Sweden, Feb. 18 /Trend, U.Sadikhova/

Turkey's support for democratic reforms in the Middle East in favor of religious groups indicates a desire of Turkish political leadership to islamize the Arab countries, said Halil Karaveli, an expert on Turkish politics.

"The Turkish government under the leadership of Justice and Development Party has an Islamic character, so it first called upon Mubark to resign, hoping for Islamic groups' coming to power," Karaveli, senior fellow Central Asia - Caucasus Institute, Stockholm, told Trend.

After the Islamic groups, first in Palestine in the face of Hamas, were able to rebel against the regime of Mahmoud Abbas, and later the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt against pro-Western Hosni Mubarak, the Turkish government began to hope for is that these Islamic movements will in future create their own governments in the Middle Eastern countries, the experts said.
Despite that the first official reaction of Turkish politicians to change of government in Egypt was made only after the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak on Feb. 11, the press service of the Turkish government in a statement stressed that Ankara supported the legitimate demands of the Egyptian people to establish a democratic and free society from "the beginning of mass protests in Egypt [Jan. 25].

Assuring the Egyptian people of further support in creating a new life, Ankara, in its turn, appealed to the international community for providing necessary support to Egypt in order to avoid negative economic consequences.
Several hours after Mubarak's resignation, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu wrote in his microblog on Twitter that Turkey hopes for creation of a system of power that will comply with the requirements of the Egyptian people and the ongoing changes suggest that "in Egypt the republic has united with the democracy and that the events in the largest country in the Arab world will have a positive rather than negative domino effect, RIA Novosti reported previously.
After resignation of Mubarak, who ruled the country for 30 years, the temporary government in Egypt shifted to the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces.
Speaking about Turkey's interest in the change of the ruling pro-Western regime in Egypt to the religious, which takes an Islamic character, such as banned Muslim Brotherhood, the Swedish expert recalled that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul first called on Mubarak leave power.
Turkey was very pleased with the outcome of events in Egypt, it is evident from its support: it is now more likely that Egypt will islamize like Turkey itself, Karaveli believes.
The main opponents of Mubarak became the largest Islamic organization the Muslim Brotherhood, whose activities in the country have been banned for several years. Despite that the organization does not intend to participate in the upcoming presidential elections, its leaders have already announced the creation of a political party, which will promote the idea of "brotherhood" in the political and social life of Egypt.
Many analysts in the Middle East, loyal to the reforms in Egypt believe that the future leadership will based on the Turkish model of democracy that combines the freedom of speech and religion.
However Karaveli considers erroneous the interpretation of the "Turkish model" in the Middle East and some western countries because the model of Ankara's policy is to support the religious-Islamic groups and facilitate their coming to power. If Turkey really has become a defender of democratic trends in the Islamic world, then it had to provide the first support to the Iranian people, who are fighting against the regime of Ahmadinejad.
"After the presidential elections in Iran in 2009 and people's protests in the country, Turkey first congratulated Ahmadinejad. Similar support was provided to the Islamic leadership of Sudan led by President Omar al-Bashir," said Karaveli.
In this case, according to expert, double standards appear in Turkey's support for democracy in the Middle East: on the one hand, it does not support the masses who oppose against the Islamic regimes, such as in Egypt, but on the other hand, supports Islamic religious groups in Arab countries like the Muslim Brotherhood, who are in opposition.
"This tells that the decisive factor in Turkish foreign policy is not democratization, but Islamization of the Middle East. In the Egyptian case, Turkey hopes that the Muslim Brotherhood still will be able to come to power," said the expert.
With regards to the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Karaveli, it is still too early to predict the final outcome of the Egyptian events, but if the members of the organization are willing to take power into their own hands in Egypt, "Turkish model of democracy-building" on a par with the policy of Islamization can be a good basis.

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