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Egypt and Turkey: reliance on conservative majority only splitting society

August 01, 2013, 10:32 UTC+3
The conclusions one can draw from the events in Egypt and in Turkey likewise have actual important for Russia as well
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Nezavisimaya Gazeta has published an editorial analyzing the situation in Egypt and Turkey. It says that the conclusions one can draw from the events unfolding in the two countries are currently important for Russia, too.

A full-blown confrontation within society - that is the right way to describe the ongoing developments in Egypt, the article says. As many as 32 million people, or 37% of the country’s population took to city streets and squares across the country in a ‘No to Terror’ action spearheaded at the Islamic fundamentalist government toppled July 3. On the face of it, the fundamentalists are seeking to avenge for the loss now. Dozens of thousands of militants who have set up a fortified camp in Cairo are not going to give up power, all the more so that the Turkish government came out in support of the former president Mohammed Morsi, kept presently under arrest by the military.

Turkey bumped into similar protests against the incumbent rule of Islamists a month earlier, although the scale of those protests was one order less. Turkish Islamists also found themselves pressed against a prospect of losing power, Nezavisimaya Gazeta says.

The conclusions one can draw from the events in Egypt and in Turkey likewise have actual important for Russia as well. It looked at first sight that both President Morsi, who was elected in the summer of 2012, and Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan, the leader of the Justice and Development Party who came to power in 2002, occupied unassailable positions since they relied on support by the majority.

However, the error made by both Morsi and Erdogan was the style of governing their countries that took account exclusively of the interests of their conservative, religious and predominantly rural supporters while persistently ignoring the demands of Europeanized residents of large cities. The masses of the latter, fragment into faction ranging from the extreme left-wingers to the liberals, have nonetheless always felt apprehensive of the clericalism imposed from above. The dwellers of big cities in Turkey were dismayed by the new laws that restricted the sales of alcoholic beverages and banned kissing in public place in compliance with the precepts of the Sharia laws. In addition to it, both Egypt and Turkey have evidenced resounding court trials of notable arts personalities accused of blasphemy.

Moderate Islamists standing at the helms of state power were drawing on support from their more radical associates. Combatants with knives attacked the couples kissing in public in Ankara. At the same time, Egypt’s Moslem Brotherhood chose to rely on the terrorist movement Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya, which had been legalized during the ‘revolution of the pyramids’, in their struggle against the liberal revolution.

A split of society was the only result that the utilization of the conservative majority as a supporting pillar and putting it into an opposition to other sections of the people brought about in Egypt and Turkey. Remarkably, the actions of governments in both countries ensured consolidation of all the opposition forces and radicalized them to the maximum degree at the same time, Nezavisimaya Gazeta writes.

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