Column: Legitimacy of coalition against Qatar

Yasin AktayBY: Yasin Aktay*

The slightest sensitivity would make it possible to solve all problems of the Muslim world in a matter of days with the means, the financial and spiritual resources that are available. But these resources are not utilized with a consideration focused on solving problems. On the contrary, these resources are in no way utilized for the benefit of the Muslim world.

While some are obsessed with Qatar as the primary problem, things continue to get even further out of hand in Yemen, Libya and Syria. Even though they have dealt with the Qatar problem as they wished, the course of how things develop in these countries progresses in such a way that it will drag the entire Muslim world into chaos. Meanwhile, the people of Africa continue to die of famine and health problems.

This contradiction takes place in front of everyone’s eyes and a deep displeasure in the entire Muslim world toward this coalition is about to reach boiling point.

Where is this structure, which has no rightful justification, no reasonable discourse, which declares Muslim scholars, movements, which are the pride of Muslims, like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood the enemy, going to get the legitimacy it requires to survive? For minimum legitimacy of power, one needs to have, in Max Weber’s classification, either a traditional, rational or charismatic source.

At the charismatic level, their current most charismatic figure is Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, who does not even evoke the slightest respect in his own country, you figure the rest out the rest. He is a leader who came to power through a coup, who, in the event, massacred 3,000 of his people and continues to remain in power by force of arms. He extorts his current allies at every opportunity in a bid to guarantee their support and is known to embezzle the majority of the support received.

Looking at it from a traditional point of view, all traditions have been obliterated and the politics adapted show no respect to any tradition. The strong have gathered, trying to eliminate the weaker side. It is a situation which has no compensation whatsoever in neither Arab tradition nor Islamic justice. Politics which openly distances itself from the Palestinian cause, which establishes ties with Israel on the basis of service to Zionism, rejects all traditions of the Muslim world.

On a rational perspective, the politics adapted by the coalition formed against Qatar, there is not even the slightest rationality to convince people that what is being done is right. On the contrary, the shocking aspects of what is being done is surfacing day by day. By severing ties with Qatar for having relations with Iran, by doing exactly this, they are pushing Qatar into Iran’s axis with room to breathe. Hence, they are providing the greatest service to Iran. Yet, Qatar follows a policy in complete opposition to Iran, particularly in its policy in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. In this regard Qatar has a clearer attitude than those who criticize it for being close to Iran.

The terrorist list they prepared is, in itself, the sign of complete mindlessness. There is a hustle to eliminate oppositions that disturb el-Sissi. The lists were largely prepared upon the demands of Egypt under coup-plotter el-Sissi’s administration. An alliance whose guides are el-Sissi and bin Zayed, are unfortunately, dragging the entire Muslim world increasingly into a dangerous adventure into which the end is ambiguous.

The Brotherhood issue

And then there is the Brotherhood issue. It is known that Sissi and Muhammad bin Zayed are making great efforts to include the Brotherhood on the terrorist list. As a matter of fact, numerous Brotherhood members are currently individually included on the “list of those who support terrorism” and their activities have been limited.

It is strange this structure is trying to convince the U.S. to include the Brotherhood on this list, but the U.S. refuses to accept this as it does not see adequate evidence regarding the Brotherhood’s links to terrorism. It openly states that doing such a thing would lead to a series of complications in the Muslim world that cannot possibly be overcome. What the U.S. is following in this regard is the mind, rationality – not sympathy toward the Brotherhood, of course.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a movement which has more members, supporters or followers in the Muslim world than the population of all the Gulf countries. It very clearly distances itself from violence, terrorism, and has, in the Muslim world, adopted democratic politics. If it must be put in a contrast, it is the Muslim democrat equivalent of Christian democrat parties.

Mohammed Badie, the leader of the movement in Egypt, did not look at violence as an option even when faced with the brutal massacre by coup-plotter Sissi at Rabaa square, which led to the death of 3,000 people. On the contrary, even in that atmosphere he called out to members of the movement, who were gathered at the square that had turned in to a blood bath and were filled feelings of revenge, and said, “Our peaceful resistance is stronger than their bullets,” insisting on non-violence even in the toughest of circumstances.

Now, primarily Sissi and particularly the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are greatly responsible in classifying this movement as a terrorist organization. Currently, the legitimacy of those who did this is under serious debate. Now, being dubbed as chiefly responsible for the lack of democracy, peace in the Muslim world, they are being prosecuted in the consciences of Muslims.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a political movement and like all political movements or parties, it has errors as much as it does accuracies, of course. However, effort was always made to punish the group for its political mistakes on non-political grounds rather than on a political one. Its greatest misfortune is that it tried to put up a democratic fight in anti-democratic environments. Those trying to condemn them are addressing them with Western Islamophobic emotions, but it is very obvious that their real problem is with democracy.

Meanwhile, even the U.S. secretary of state saying that the Brotherhood is in power in Turkey as well, was also the effect of the UAE and Sissi’s efforts to correlate the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) with the Brotherhood.

Neither the AK Party’s program, nor its political culture or struggle, nor its social base, can be compared to the Brotherhood. They are entirely different movements. But the AK Party wants democracy to develop in the Muslim world; its vision is in this direction, and this fundamentally requires solidarity with democracy forces. The other democratic parties are included in this solidarity as much as the Brotherhood.

*Yasin Aktay is a member of the Turkish parliament and a leading figure of the ruling Justice and Development (AK Party) in Turkey.

(Published in Yeni Şafak Turkısh newspaper on July 1,  2017)