Turkey warns of Egypt ‘reverse domino effect’

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 Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has warned of a “reverse domino effect” in the Arab Spring countries if approval is ultimately extended to the Egyptian coup d’état.

“People or institutions from the old system could say ‘in some way, the army staged a coup and it has been justified by foreign countries – or at least they have remained silent about declaring it illegitimate – so we can do the same then,’” the foreign minister told private broadcaster NTV on July 15.

 “There are some elements that have remained from the old system in Yemen, Tunisia and Libya. Our foremost mission is to eliminate the possibility of making a reverse domino effect over external legitimacy. If we all allow something wrong in Egypt, there will be a reverse domino effect.”

Turkey strongly reacted to the July 3 coup and called on the army to re-install ousted President Mohamed Morsi with full powers.

Stressing that Egypt was the spine of every development in the Middle East, Davutoğlu said the country was facing a serious crisis. “There are two ways to legalize the political system: internal and external legitimacy. The source of internal legitimacy is the people and the sovereignty of the nation. A country should obtain its power from the people if it wants to be stable. If this [taking power from people] ends, the debate over legitimacy starts. This is the main problem Egypt now,” the top diplomat said.

International concern is mounting over the continued detention of Morsi, who has been in custody since the July 3 coup and was quizzed by prosecutors over the weekend over complaints about possible criminal offences.

Radicalization in Egypt

The foreign minister also warned of the possibility of radicalization in Egypt if political parties are pushed out of the system and barred from participating in politics.

“It is not clear where the tendency of radicalization will stop. Therefore, once the Muslim Brotherhood or any other political groups are barred from politics, the results will increase the spiral of violence in the region,” Davutoğlu said.

The brotherhood has refused to join the new interim government headed by caretaker Prime Minister Hazem al-Beblawi, who remains locked in talks on a Cabinet line-up he says will be dominated by technocrats.

Davutoğlu also criticized the stance of the European Union and shared the view that African Union (AU) reacted in a more democratic way than the EU. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and senior government officials have criticized the EU for not calling the military’s move a coup. However, the latest statement from the EU “compensated” for the first stance of the bloc, Davutoğlu said. EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton said July 14 that the 28-member bloc was following developments in Egypt with “deep concern,” deploring recent violence and calling for prompt elections.

The foreign minister also denied some media reports claiming that Muslim Brotherhood members had gathered in Turkey to discuss the crisis, underlining that there was a potential to oppose the government.

“Egypt is different than Syria. People gather in Adawiya Square. This was not possible in Syria. They attacked with bombs and hundreds died,” the top diplomat said.

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