The Turkish Foreign Policy And The Muslim Brotherhood Dilemma

The Turkish regime is currently facing a legitimacy crisis as the Turkish Lira continues to depreciate, while the Turkish citizens are struggling to deal with the soaring prices of basic commodities. This bleak outlook explains why Turkey is trying to mend ties with its prolonged foes in the region, including the GCC countries and Egypt.

On one hand, Turkey needs to mend ties with Egypt and the GCC countries to put an end to its international isolation and to bring investments into the Turkish economy.

The GCC and Egypt, on the other hand, are well aware of the consequences of the US withdrawal from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and its far-reaching effects on regional security. Hence, the rapprochement efforts between the regional foes could be traced to internal and external reasons.

Pinar Tremblay, a columnist for Al Monitor’s Turkey Pulse, says: “But all these countries would like Ankara to curb its enthusiasm for the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), a global organization with different groups and political entities under its broad umbrella. MB has been declared a terrorist organization in countries such as Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Russia, UAE, and Syria. Turkey has become a hub for exiled MB members after the Arab Spring. And today as Turkey wants to rebuild relations in the region; its support for MB is a major issue.”

Frankly speaking, we should not be too optimistic. It would be too naive to bring two enemies to the negotiating table and expect a quick agreement. The Turkish involvement in the Libyan crisis and its support for the Muslim Brotherhood still pose a challenge to all parties. Though Turkey’s support for the Muslim Brotherhood is waning, it’s too early to say that Ankara is ready to cut off ties with the MB. Similarly, the rapprochement efforts between Ankara and the GCC countries are less likely to achieve the desired outcome

When it comes to Qatar, one should be aware of the fact that Doha is not willing to keep its ties with Ankara in the long run. It is now looking for Cyprus to achieve its geostrategic goals in the Eastern Mediterranean. The latest deal between the Qatari Energy Company and Cyprus says a lot about Qatar’s changing foreign policy priorities. Now with Turkey losing its strongest ally, it would be too naive to say that it’s ready to withdraw its support for the Muslim Brotherhood.

Hence given the limited options on the table, Turkey is more likely to keep its support for the Muslim Brotherhood, at least for now, as it knows very well that giving up on them would boost Egypt’s leverage at the negotiating table.

Erdogan’s recent meetings with Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, crown prince of UAE; give the illusion of Turkey’s willingness to realign its policies in the region. However, a senior Turkish diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity said, “Turkey’s ‘good relations’ with any Middle Eastern country is like a sandcastle on the beach. Only a matter of time for the next wave to knock it.

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