Turkey, Middle East

Brotherhood hails Turkish president's defense of group

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood praises Turkey’s Erdogan for refusing to label group ‘terrorist organization’

21.02.2017
Brotherhood hails Turkish president's defense of group

By Rabia al-Sokkary

CAIRO

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group has praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his refusal to blacklist the movement as a "terrorist" organization.

In an interview last week with the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya television channel during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia, Erdogan said he did not consider the Brotherhood a terrorist group.

"This honest and fair position by Erdogan was not strange from a man who has always adopted strong and unbiased positions," Brotherhood deputy leader Ibrahim Munir said in a statement on Monday.

"This was not an unusual move by Turkey, a country that has always striven to help the oppressed for the sake of freedom and an honorable life," he added.

The Muslim Brotherhood has been the target of a fierce crackdown by the Egyptian authorities since a 2013 coup ousted Mohamed Morsi, the country’s first freely elected president and a Brotherhood leader.

In late 2013, Egypt’s post-coup authorities blacklisted the Brotherhood as a "terrorist" organization.

In recent days, the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump has reportedly been thinking about blacklisting the Brotherhood as a terrorist organization.

Munir, for his part, said his movement would not abandon its peaceful efforts to bring about political change.

"The Brotherhood will never disappoint Erdogan -- or any other of the movement’s defenders -- no matter what the pressures are," he said.

In the interview, Erdogan said he considered the Brotherhood an "ideological" organization rather than a "terrorist group".

"I don’t consider the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organization as it is not an armed group. It is, in fact, an ideological organization," he said.

Turkey has remained a vocal critic of Morsi’s 2013 overthrow by the Egyptian military, describing his ouster -- and subsequent imprisonment -- as a "military coup".

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