Turkey’s President Erdogan has said he will allow members of the Muslim Brotherhood exiled from Qatar to stay in Turkey. As the New York Times reports:
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey said on Monday that several exiled leaders of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood who fled to Qatar but lately have come under pressure to leave that Persian Gulf monarchy could perhaps find a new refuge in his country.“If they make any request to come to Turkey, such an application would be assessed and examined,” Mr. Erdogan said, according to a report on CNN Turk television. He spoke to reporters on a plane back to Turkey after he had visited Qatar on an official trip. Mr. Erdogan referred to the standard procedures that applied to foreign residents and said that Muslim Brotherhood leaders could be granted entry to Turkey as long as laws permitted.“If there are reasons that would prevent their entry to Turkey, it would be assessed accordingly” he said. And if there are no obstacles, the ease granted to everyone would also be granted to them.”
As we noted yesterday, Qatar’s decision to expel these high-ranking Muslim Brothers could be a sign that the wealthy Gulf emirate is moving into alignment with the Saudis, the UAE, and Egypt. Since the ouster of Mohamed Morsi last year, Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah Al Sisi has conducted a brutal campaign against the Brotherhood, while his allies in Saudi Arabia and the UAE also oppose the Brotherhood’s brand of political Islam.
Erdogan’s announcement, then, may be met with some mix of annoyance and alarm in Riyadh. The Saudis will likely be watching closely to see how far Turkey is willing to take its support of the embattled Islamist movement.