Egypt and Erdoğan’s mes­sage to the Arab Spring coun­tries,

AR­TI­CLE IN BRIEF: The wel­come Erdoğan re­ceived in Cairo was like that of a leader re­turn­ing home after a long and suc­cess­ful mil­i­tary cam­paign. The dif­fer­ent Egyp­tian fac­tions, usu­ally com­pet­ing and in­co­her­ent, were united in their ex­cite­ment at Erdoğan’s

Turkish Review - - CONTENTS - By Mo­hamed Ab­del Kader

Ev­ery­one in the Arab re­gion has now learnt to follow the pat­terns of po­lit­i­cal con­flict and se­cu­rity de­vel­op­ments that have ex­ploded in the wake of the re­cent Arab rev­o­lu­tions. How­ever, the visit by Turk­ish Prime Min­is­ter Re­cep Tayyip Erdoğan to the Arab Spring coun­tries of Egypt, Tu­nisia and Libya at­tracted the at­ten­tion of many, steal­ing the spot­light and overnight be­com­ing a topic of daily con­ver­sa­tion among cit­i­zens, jour­nal­ists and in­tel­lec­tu­als alike.

The wel­come Erdoğan re­ceived in Cairo was like that of a leader re­turn­ing home after a long and suc­cess­ful mil­i­tary cam­paign. Or­di­nary peo­ple gath­ered along­side of­fi­cials, throng­ing to wel­come Erdoğan when he ar­rived at Cairo In­ter­na­tional Air­port. The dif­fer­ent Egyp­tian pow­ers and fac­tions, usu­ally com­pet­ing and in­co­her­ent, were united in ex­cite­ment at the visit by the Turk­ish prime min­is­ter, who ap­pears to have won over Egyp­tian -- and Arab -- hearts.

The im­por­tance of the Turk­ish prime min­is­ter’s visit to Cairo, after an ab­sence of nearly a decade and a half, has emerged on three lev­els:

Do­mes­ti­cally

The visit came against a back­ground of in­creas­ing po­lit­i­cal po­lar­iza­tion be­tween two trends: some fo­cus on the mech­a­nisms for con­trol­ling po­lit­i­cal Is­lamic move­ments to en­sure a sec­u­lar and civil­ian regime via a po­lit­i­cal role played by the Egyp­tian army, and guar­an­teed by con­sti­tu­tional and in­sti­tu­tional ar­range­ments. Oth­ers fo­cus on the signs of suc­cess in what, ac­cord­ing to their par­tic­u­lar vi­sion, em­bod­ies Turk­ish po­lit­i­cal Is­lam, and how the de­vel­op­ment of the AK Party’s vi­sion re­flects that, in its abil­ity to reach rec­on­cil­ia­tory stances, both do­mes­ti­cally and abroad.

Still oth­ers be­lieve the sit­u­a­tion of Arab Spring coun­tries has be­come rel­a­tively bet­ter than that of Turkey, thanks to the lack of a sys­tem of ex­treme sec­u­lar­ism and the de­cline of re­stric­tions placed on po­lit­i­cal Is­lam. This lat­ter trend also be­lieves the Turk­ish ex­pe­ri­ence can in­spire the Arab world, but that it can­not be re­pro­duced fully there due to the sub­stan­tial dif­fer­ences in so­cial and po­lit­i­cal con-

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