Alwaght- The 21st century for Turkey is tied to the name of Erdogan, the political leader who has been the unchallenged figure holding the power over the past two decades and shining with the title of the longest-serving leader in modern Turkey.
In the turbulent time of his rule, there were not few people that were ostracized from his orbit and joined the opposition ranks or were dismissed from power including outstanding figures like Abdullah Gul, Ahmet Davudoglu, Ali Babacan who had key roles in Erdogan various governments’ economic and political successes. Given this, though a new number of his friends joining the opposition camp may not look surprising, few people expected his ideological divorce from the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) to happen one day, with the Islamist Movement's leaders beginning to taking potshots at their political leader of not-so-distant years.
Recently, Rai Al-Youm newspaper reported that following the release of plans of the Turkish government to return the Syrian refugees, some MB-affiliated figures, such as journalist Alaa Osman, have criticized Ankara for “discriminatory policies” against the Syrian refugees, and practically, a large media campaign has been organized by people affiliated with the MB with the aim of putting pressure on the Turkish government. But this is just the tip of the iceberg and a bigger and broader issue lies behind the scenes and heralds the beginning of a new era in the relations between Erdogan and the Turkish government with the Brotherhood.
After MB-affiliated governments in the Arab world, especially in Tunisia, Egypt, and Sudan, were ousted, the group is now living a new state of crisis and stress. The new crisis derives from the recent Turkish and Qatari closeness to Egypt that like a political tsunami is storming the MB activists in these two countries and bringing various political and social restrictions to them in their biggest safe haven since 2009.
With the date of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s visit to Ankara approaching, reports emanating from Turkey by MB activists on social media suggest that many of the movement's supporters are fleeing Turkey for the fear of handover to Egypt.
After announcing the return of diplomatic missions between the two countries to the ambassador level, Ankara imposed new restrictions on the MB activities and members in its territory and asked them not to publish any insulting news, posts or tweets criticizing the Egyptian government or President el-Sisi, and threatened to expel those who violate this directive.
MB social media activists have reported pressures on them by Turkish security institutions under the excuse of expiration of their work permits and also being threatened with deportation to Egypt. Media also reported arrests of MB members, so far 60 of them. Musab al-Samaliji and Islam Sharaf, both members of the movement, were reportedly arrested. Earlier, they had been given a deadline to leave Turkish soil.
Reportedly, Turkish government asked MB leaders to encourage some of their fellows to voluntarily leave Turkey, otherwise, they will extradite people wanted by the Interpol under Egypt government's lawsuit.
Mustafa Hamzah, director of the Center for Political Islam Studies, told Al-Arab Mubasher website: "The Turkish authorities have prepared a list of 100 members of the Muslim Brotherhood, including non-Egyptian members of this organization who are in Turkey, for deportation.”
Turkish government has imposed restrictions on the movement of prominent MB leaders or their supporters, such as Nasreddin Faraj al-Ghazlani, Majdi Salem, Mohammad Abdul Maqsood, Wajdi Ghanim, Islam al-Ghamri and Mustafa al-Badri, and denied citizenship to the latter three.
It seems that Ankara's solution for getting rid in a dignified way of MB members, who can challenge the de-escalation process with Egypt and even the UAE, is to deport them under the cover of deportation of illegal asylum seekers.
The pragmatic and opportunistic nature of Erdogan, which he clung to over years, this time is victimizing the MB as the Turkish leader is struggling to save the sinking economy. Erdogan now thinks that support to the MB no longer contributes to the Turkish gain of strategic depth in the Arab world and the movement is becoming an overload to his boat.
The MB are not doing better in Qatar, another safe haven for the movement, than in Turkey, and reportedly over the past few months, Doha asked over 100 members to leave its territory. Earlier news reports talked about expulsion of 250 Egyptian citizens from this Persian Gulf emirate.
MB seeking new refuge
Expulsion from the two paradises has caused the MB leadership and body to seek new political survival ground, and according to Arab media, they are eyeing a litany of world countries from Eastern European to Latin American countries.
One of their likely new destinations is Bosnia and Herzegovina, according to Arab sources citing talks of the MB international wing in Istanbul.
Recently, MB activities have been given publicity in Bosnia, with the movement represented by Ahmad al-Milat who is named an MB leader and observer of the MB missions in Bosnin, Kosovo, and Chechnya.
While an international terrorism expert holds that the MB bid for visa to Europe is running into challenges, Al-Ain news website of Egypt raised possible moving from Turkey to Germany.
According to Egypt’s Commission for Protection of Constitution, the number of the main members of the MB in Germany has considerably increased over the past two years, rising from 1,040 in 2018 to 1,450 in 2021.
Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil are cited as other possible destinations of possible transfer of centers of activity of the MB. It is said that the movement has managed to make its way to the Brazilian financial and trade circles through business and especially opening shopping malls, halal stores, and coffee trade, and is even getting involved in election activities.