| 6 December 2023, Wednesday |

Türkiye arrests brotherhood journalists in attempt to accelerate normalization with Egypt

The Turkish authorities arrested 34 Muslim Brotherhood members who called for protests in Egypt on Nov. 11, a step considered a seriousness in the process of normalizing relations with Cairo despite the slow progress.

Several media outlets and social media pages affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood organization in Türkiye revealed that the Turkish authorities arrested 34 members who called for protests to undermine stability and spread chaos during the 2022 UN Climate Change Conference in Sharm El-Sheikh.

The detainees were included on the lists of deportations over the danger they pose to public security under what is known as the “G78” code.

They were preparing to launch a new Telegram channel to incite protests, acts of violence, and chaos in Egypt.

They are also associated with other channels that the Brotherhood established outside Türkiye in the past few weeks, including the “People” and “Freedom” channels, to avoid the restrictions in Türkiye after several TV presenters were banned from resuming their work.

Earlier, journalist and former editor-in-chief of Al-Sharq channel Hossam al-Ghamry announced on Twitter that Turkish security arrested him at his house and he may be deported, without determining the destination.

Ghamry has recently called for protests and inciting chaos in Egypt on Nov. 11 and promoted violent protests against President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi after the Egyptian Super Cup match between al-Ahly and Zamalek.

However, several Brotherhood-affiliated social media pages indicated that he was arrested for violating the conditions of his residency, and several sources ruled out that he would be deported.

Before his arrest, Ghamry revealed that Egyptian National Security detained his eldest son, Youssef, for calling for participation in the alleged protests on Nov. 11.

Al-Sharq suspended the “Vision” program hosted by Ghamry, at the request of the Turkish authorities. He was banned from any media appearances again from Istanbul because he did not comply with the instructions to halt any incitement against leaders in Egypt. He, however, continued to broadcast on social media.

Within the context of its rapprochement with Cairo, Ankara aimed to stop the intense Brotherhood attack following the overthrow of the rule of the late president, Mohamed Morsi.

Türkiye suspended the programs of several media hosts, including Moataz Matar, Mohamed Nasser, Hamza Zoba, and artist Hisham Abdallah, warning them against violating its instructions. It then decided to stop broadcasting the “Mekameleen” channel from Istanbul, which moved to London.

However, Egypt does not believe this step is sufficient or fully meets its demands, especially since Türkiye still refuses to hand over several leaders and fugitives involved in terrorism and interference in the affairs of regional countries.

Some activists within the Muslim Brotherhood and the organization’s loyalists in Istanbul linked Ghamry’s arrest to the recent change in Turkish policy towards Egypt.

They believe “the opposition abroad and their channels are now being sacrificed because relations between the two countries are not classified as either permanent enmity or constant friendship.”

They condemned the absence of any project for the Brotherhood and the conflicts within the organization’s ranks that were reflected in rifts that led to several divisions.

Talks between Egypt and Türkiye are ongoingat the level of the intelligence services, as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated in statements last month, noting that Ankara hopes that dialogue will be at higher levels.

Cairo does not seem convinced that Ankara is changing its policies, whether concerning embracing the Muslim Brotherhood leaders, refusing to extradite the wanted persons, or stopping interference in the affairs of regional countries.

It accuses Türkiye of continuing its involvement in Libyan affairs by supporting the outgoing unity government, which contradicts international efforts to achieve stability and hold presidential and parliamentary elections in Libya.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry announced that exploratory talks with Türkiye have not been resumed because there have been no changes in Ankara’s practices.

Shoukry explained during a televised interview that the matter is again due to the need to adhere to international standards and rules, pointing out that Cairo is concerned about the presence of foreign forces in Libya.

Last Tuesday, Türkiye, which maintains thousands of its forces and Syrian mercenaries and has land, sea, and air bases in Libya, signed two agreements with the unity government led by Abdulhamid Dbeibeh.

The first agreement aims to raise the efficiency of military aviation capabilities in Libya with the help of Turkish expertise in this field. The second included the implementation of protocols for the security agreement signed by the Presidential Council of the former Government of National Accord (GNA) in 2019.

Earlier, Libya and Türkiye signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of (hydrocarbon) resources to maintain the stability and security of Libya.

The MoU was signed between Libyan Foreign Minister Najla al-Mangoush and her Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu.

  • Asharq Al-Awsat