The Turkish Model

CAIRO/ANKARA/BERLIN | | aegypten

CAIRO/ANKARA/BERLIN (Own report) - Government advisors in Berlin are proposing a re-organization of Egyptian state structures to correspond to the Turkish model, because of their fear that anti-western Islamic forces could get the upper hand in Cairo and jeopardize US - European control over Arab regional resources. If this is to be prevented, according to the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Turkey can serve as a model. The West has seen Turkey as a model for the Arab world, particularly for Egypt, because it has forged a political Islam that is willing to cooperate with the EU. Earlier, objectionable political tendencies could be kept from coming to power with the help of the Turkish military. This could only be successful, if the EU would cooperate as closely with Egypt as with Turkey, according to the SWP. For weeks, Berlin has been insisting on establishing an EU "transformation partnership" with Cairo, which would bind Egypt even tighter to the European hegemonic metropolis.

Pro-Western, Authoritarian

According to a recent declaration by the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) in Berlin, Turkey could provide a model for a tumultuous Egypt and possibly other Arab countries. The Egyptian democracy movement has brought down the country's previous ruling order, characterized by a "pro-western foreign policy" and an "authoritarian domestic policy" anchored in a conservative Islamic culture. Now an alternative must be found. The author warns against an anti-western "totalitarian Islamic rule" modeled on Iran. This could happen if the military unexpectedly loses its previous power. According to the declaration, another great danger arises if the military should seek "to reinforce its Islamic legitimacy" - modeled on Pakistan. In search of a solution, the author agrees with proposals that have been in discussion in the West for quite some time, viewing the future Egyptian state being modeled on the Turkish ruling system.[1]

Pro-Western Islam

The focus is on two particular aspects of Turkish policy. The first is that over the past few years, political Islam in Turkey has proven to be very cooperative with the EU. This is due to the economic rise of the conservative sectors of the Anatolian hinterland, which is organized within the Adelet ve Kalkinma Partisi (AKP), the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and ruling party in Ankara since 2002. The AKP has a clearly Islamic orientation. The Anatolian enterprises forming the backbone of the party have close economic ties in EU countries. It is on this basis that the AKP has established intensive ties to Western Europe, and incorporated into its brand of political Islam a reorientation favorable to the EU. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) The party has since stood as a model for the possibility of Islamism having a pro-western character. In fact, over the past few years, several North African Islamic forces - including sectors of the influential Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood - have been orienting themselves on the AKP. According to a recent study, co-financed by the SPD-affiliated Friedrich Ebert Foundation, nearly two-thirds of the populations in seven Arab nations, including Egypt, would be in favor of their countries' adopting the Turkish model.[3] A pro-western orientation of the Muslim Brotherhood, implicit in such a model, would be appreciated in western capitals.

Pro-Western Military

The second aspect of focus being discussed in the West is, to what extent the Egyptian military can be enticed to adopt the position Turkish armed forces have had since the 1960s. The Turkish military has intervened with a putsch on several occasions in the second half of the 20th century, usually to maintain the country's pro-western orientation either against the left or against Islamists. Following their putsch, the military has always turned power over to a democratically elected government, according to a widely discussed analysis published in Ankara dealing with the phases between the coup d'états, in which the military formally turned over government leadership, while de facto holding on to the ruling power.[4] This study is in fact proposing a similar function for the Egyptian army, exploring means of establishing ultimate control over the government, to insure a pro-western orientation. The author of this study is an employee at the Institute of Near East Policy in Washington.

Proconsul

Cairo's adoption of the Turkish model would be advantageous to the West, above all, because, over the past decades, the Egyptian military has always proven to be a loyal proconsul of Western interests. It is cooperating with the USA, Europe and Israel to insure long-term control over the Arab region's resources. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[5]) Egypt is therefore of great importance because of its traditional prominent position in the Arab world. Presently the West cannot be sure at all about how much it can count on the loyalty of any of the other political forces in comparison to the loyalty of the army. The Bundeswehr is continuing its cooperation with the Egyptian army, also since it has taken power, even though human rights organizations have accused the Egyptian army of kidnapping and torturing numerous demonstrators over the past few weeks.[6] This cooperation is based on a long tradition: in the 1950s German military personnel - including former members of the Wehrmacht and the SS - helped to set up the Egyptian military forces.[7]

Periphery

The German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) points out that the Turkish model can only be effective in the Arab countries, if the EU nations create a similar relationship with those countries as it has with Turkey. The keywords are a "combination between promotion and pressure to reform" and an "increase and intensification of cultural and civil society exchanges,"[8] corresponding to a "transformation partnership" with Egypt that the German Foreign Ministry seeks to have adopted by the EU. According to the ministry, this would entail, for example, "the establishment of democratic parties, a dialogue on rule of law, the modernization of the justice system, the implementation of a system of fair and transparent elections and the promotion of the work of a free and independent media."[9] Normally, these would be implemented by the party-affiliated foundations, whose work in Egypt and other North African nations is to be greatly upgraded. The foundation branch offices in Cairo alone are to receive an additional 3 million Euros from the budget of the Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation, which has also earmarked up to eight million Euros for the promotion of professional training for young Egyptians. Berlin is aiming at establishing much stronger integration of the North African countries into the German-European periphery, to keep these countries subordinated to the tight control of the EU's hegemonic metropolis.

[1] Günter Seufert: Der türkische Weg? www.swp-berlin.org 15.02.2011
[2] see also Die neuen Partner in Ankara (I) and The New Partners in Ankara (II)
[3] The Perception of Turkey in the Middle East. TESEV Foreign Policy Analysis Series Vol. 10; Istanbul, December 2009
[4] Soner Çağaptay: Turkish Model for Egypt? www.hurriyetdailynews.com 04.02.2011
[5], [6] see also Guarantor of Stability (II)
[7] see also Guarantor of Stability (I)
[8] Günter Seufert: Der türkische Weg? www.swp-berlin.org 15.02.2011
[9] Neuanfang in Ägypten; www.auswaertiges-amt.de