In one revealing sentence, Turkish prime minister Tayyip Erdogan undid the hard work performed by US and Israeli to gloss over his radical anti-Semitic views and the bankruptcy of his Middle East policies, in the hope of co-opting Ankara to a moderate regional lineup. This time, Erdogan went so far as to accuse Israel of orchestrating Egypt’s July 3 military coup in an address Monday, Aug. 20 to the provincial chairs of his ruling Justice and Development Party.
Ankara has evidence as to the country’s involvement in President Mohamed Morsi’s overthrow, he said. “Who is behind this? We have evidence.” But the Turkish prime minister did not reveal his “evidence” because there was none, debkafile’s military and intelligence sources note.
His purpose was to turn his party’s attention away from his failure to establish Turkish influence in any part of the Middle East, especially in Egypt, by putting the blame on Israel.
It was Israel’s fault, he insinuated, that Erdogan encountered Egyptian contempt for his bid to assume the role of leading Muslim power in the Middle East. He met this rejection even on the part of the Muslim Brotherhood during Morsi’s administration, in the year before the military coup.
Morsi rejected his overtures for close ties – not just with Cairo but also with the Palestinian Hamas ruling the Gaza Strip and his pretensions to be their champion.
Edrogan’s plans to create a Sunni Muslim bloc led by Turkey and built around the Muslim Brotherhood encountered its second setback when his only strategic partner, Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, abdicated two months ago after a bloodless coup.
The main motives behind his removal, with Saudi and UAE encouragement, were his close ties with Turkey and strong support for the Muslim Brotherhood movement and Hamas.
The emir was succeeded by his son Sheikh Tamim bin Khalifa Al Thani, who opposes his father’s friendly ties with the Brotherhood and Turkey.
Indeed, it should have been evident that the coup in Qatar was the precursor of the military coup in Egypt, a conclusion reached in one of DEBKA Weekly’s exclusive reports. Erdogan and the head of his MIT intelligence agency Fidan Hakan missed this connection, although the Saudis and the UAE made no bones about their drive to derail Muslim Brotherhood rule in Egypt and thwart the ambitions of its Turkish and Gulf allies.
Fearing to blame Saudi Arabia and the emirates for his ruined plans, Erdogan heaped crude falsehoods on Israel’s head as his whipping boy.
His crudest remark referred to a meeting he claimed took place in France between “an intellectual” and former Israeli justice minister before Egypt’s 2011 elections. Erdoğan, stressing that the intellectual was Jewish, quoted him as saying: “‘The Muslim Brotherhood will not be in power even if they win the elections.”
debkafile: The Turkish prime minister managed by a single anti-Semitic comment to stigmatize “Jewish intellectuals” and also leave the impression that not only had his own policies gone aground but so had the Obama administration’s plans, which relied heavily on Muslim Turkey and the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood as their keystone, and therefore invested great efforts in effecting a reconciliation between Jerusalem and Ankara.