CUMALİ ÖNAL

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CUMALİ ÖNAL
March 17, 2013, Sunday

If Muslim Brotherhood nominates liberals in parliamentary elections

Historic developments have been taking place in Egypt. On the one hand, protesters have staged attacks everywhere, without recognizing any boundaries; while on the other hand some police units are standing against the administration.

 The position of the army in this turmoil is uncertain.

The Muslim Brotherhood and President Mohammed Morsi remain bystanders to what has been happening. In official statements, the administration tries to make the events look insignificant; but this shows that it did not properly appreciate the gravity of the events.

Even though remnants of the former regime have had a significant role in these unpleasant developments, the administration has also made a lot of mistakes. Since the beginning, the Muslim Brotherhood has assumed that it had a great deal of popular support and that it could do whatever it wanted by virtue of this strong support.

The failure of the Muslim Brotherhood to align with liberal and leftist groups before and after the parliamentary elections held early this year was the start of the mistakes that created the grounds for the current turmoil.

However, if it had considered the Turkish experience in this matter, at least part of the current events would not have taken place. What was this experience?

The Justice and Development Party (A K Party) that is in power in Turkey has roots in the National View (Milli Görüş), an Islamist movement. The leadership of this party consists of figures who subscribe to this tradition.

However, in elections, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan nominated figures with no attachment to this movement.

Most of the ministers in the Cabinet have no affiliation with the National View movement. There are ministers in the Cabinet who have an affiliation with a variety of social and ethnic as well as ideological groups. Some of them are Kurds, some are nationalists and some are leftists.

This is how Erdoğan led a party that spoke to Turkey. He embraced all groups. Otherwise, he would have never received 50 percent of the vote in the elections if he had always selected people with a National View affiliation.

Why wouldn’t the Muslim Brotherhood pursue the same policy? For instance, the Muslim Brotherhood or its political wing, the Freedom and Justice Party, can nominate figures who have no affiliation with them in the interim parliamentary elections.

The Muslim Brotherhood could experience a huge decline in the elections; but it is still the strongest political movement. The other parties would not be able to be influential in the elections. Therefore, by taking this step, the Muslim Brotherhood would do a great job for the sake of stability and the future of the country and contribute to the attainment of social peace.

Even though some circles refer to Erdoğan and his administration as Islamist, most of the members in the government are center-rightist or liberals. By this cohesion and move, Turkey was able to take huge steps in the fields of economy, culture, social affairs and politics. Otherwise, it would not have been possible to deal with the efforts by some liberal and secular circles to undermine Erdoğan’s image after he came to power. Currently, the Muslim Brotherhood is isolated; even most of the Salafis do not want to align with them right now. Because of this, their moves are strongly criticized regardless of whether these moves or steps are actually proper.

If it wants to breathe a sigh of relief, the Muslim Brotherhood should be aware of the gravity of current events and be able to embrace other groups and circles. In this way, the country will win, and the Muslim Brotherhood will be able to be trusted by groups that are concerned about its actions.

Currently, other political groups believe that the Brotherhood has a hidden agenda. They think that the Muslim Brotherhood wants to control the entire country and establish an Iranian-style regime. Similar allegations were made when Erdoğan came to power by secular, leftist and liberal groups that alleged that Turkey was becoming another Iran.

However, there are now only a few people who raise similar arguments in Turkey. The number of people who believe that Erdoğan has a hidden agenda has declined; and in the end, Turkey won.

Similarly, the Muslim Brotherhood has to take some radical steps to save the country.

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