OIC leader condemned for silence on Egypt

In this Jan. 23, 2012 file photo, Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary-General Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu speaks to Turkish reporters during a visit in London. (Photo: Cihan, Kadir Uysaloğlu)

August 18, 2013, Sunday/ 11:56:00

Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu, current secretary-general of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), has been heavily criticized by politicians from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) for the OIC's failure to speak out against the army-led massacre in Egypt.

In a television interview on Sunday, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ called on İhsanoğlu to resign from his post at such an “ineffective” organization.

“When such an organization has failed to raise its voice about Egypt, it is in denial of its raison d'etre. If I was İhsanoğlu, I would already have resigned,” said Bozdağ on Sunday.

Bozdağ also deplored statements from some Islamic countries that regarded the Egyptian protesters as “terrorists.” The deputy prime minister mentioned that the Islamic monarchies support the coup regime in order to protect their own power and avoid any wave of democracy from Egypt rolling over to their own countries.

The OIC is based in Jeddah, capital of Saudi Arabia and is the second-largest intergovernmental organization after the United Nations. İhsanoğlu's nine-year term as the head of the organization will expire at the end of this year.

Bozdağ also criticized European countries, saying that they have remained silent about the Egyptian coup with the thought, “If we can manage to control a puppet like [Egyptian army chief Abdel Fattah al-] Sisi [who led the coup], we will also be able to control 84 million Egyptians.”

Last month's $12 billion in financial aid to Egypt from the Gulf countries of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait following the recent upheaval in the country has attracted attention. The Gulf countries developed a deep antipathy for the Muslim Brotherhood as its power grew across the Middle East over the past two-and-a-half years of uprisings -- a situation the Gulf countries consider a threat to stability.

In another criticism of İhsanoğlu, Hüseyin Çelik, deputy chairman of the AK Party, wrote from his Twitter account on Sunday, “Is there anyone who knows what İhsanoğlu is doing? This person denounced [ousted Egyptian President Mohamed] Morsi after the coup.”

Expressing his disapproval of the OIC remaining silent about the coup, Çelik also noted, “When will this organization speak out, if not now? Or are countries influential in this organization as a result of their financial contributions?” referring to the oil-rich Arab countries that are backing the coup.

Meanwhile, İhsanoğlu, in a response to the criticisms, wrote from his Twitter account on Sunday that "No countries have made an official demand to discuss the issues in Egypt [in order to take a common stance,]" implying that no such demand has come from Turkey, also a member of the OIC.

Turkey has found itself alone in strongly condemning the Egyptian army's ouster of Morsi as clearly being a coup and in calling on the Egyptian military to restore the democratically elected government. Turkey also demands that Morsi be released immediately.

Turkey and the Gulf countries, which had found common ground in their support of the armed Syrian opposition, took opposing stances regarding the military coup in Egypt. While Saudi Arabia did not hesitate to openly support the interim government in Egypt, Ankara declined to even meet with Egypt's interim government, saying that Egypt wanted to “use Ankara for its own legitimacy.”

Delivering a speech in Bursa province on Saturday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan stated, “There are some [Islamic countries] who called the martyrs [in Egypt] terrorists,” in indirect criticism of the Gulf countries.

“There is state terrorism in Egypt right now. Those who applaud this state terrorism are on the same path along with them [the Egyptian coup administration]. There are two portraits of Egypt right now; one is of those who follow the pharaoh and the other is of those who follow Moses,” Erdoğan added.

Keywords: egypt , ihsanoğlu , ak party , OIC
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