Guest blog – Andy Vermaut
In the 1920s the Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt by Hassan al-Banna. At that time, the Muslim Brotherhood was a somewhat secular community based on Islamic values. Then, they were not only represented in politics, but also in cultural life. For example, many schools and orphanages were managed or financed by the campaigns of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The party is now active in 82 countries and the reality can no longer be compared to the noble intentions of its former founder. Now they have the exclusive franchise of terror. Al-Qaeda, Isis and Hamas, among others, originate from the same philosophy as the Muslim Brotherhood. Much of its funding comes from authoritarian regimes in Turkey and Qatar. . The group also plays an important role in countries like Tunisia, where the representatives are in alliance with the secular party. Furthermore, there are now strong divisions of the Muslim Brotherhood in Iraq, Kuwait and Jordan. The Muslim Brothers are also part of the UN-backed government of Libya.
Meanwhile, Erdogan enlarges his power base by presenting himself as a great Muslim within the Muslim Brotherhood as the protector of Islamic values and standing up against Islamophobia in Europe, while the biggest victims of his actions are Muslims.
Erdogan operates in Syria next to Russia, but Erdogan also helps Ukraine and thereby he fights against Russia. Talk about duplicity. Erdogan managed to secure drone technology from the UK, Austria, Italy, the United States and Canada, and Turkey has hence become the number three worldwide deployer in terms of drone warfare. As a result of this drone war, numerous battles have been won. Actually these countries are helping with the big-Ottoman day dream of Erdogan.
Erdogan turned Syrian Afrin, Rojava into hell on earth, with now ten rapes reportedly committed each day, plus numerous kidnappings, extrajudicial executions, and the rewriting of history by destroying historical sites. Erdogan also undermined the local olive trade by moving these important trees to Turkey. He also culturally crushed Ras al-Ayn, a Kurdish city on the border between Turkey and Syria, which is now under the protection of Erdogan's Free Syrian Army, the Erdogan jihadists.
Seven regions in Nagorno-Karabakh have been handed over to Azerbaijan, although in reality it is mostly Armenians who live there. These Armenians will eventually have to move to Armenia, because the Armenians feel enormously vulnerable there, especially with the arrival of the jihadists. We especially saw in the news that an Armenian set fire to his house, but we very often do not see the many human rights violations of the Azeris on our screens.
Turkey is gaining more and more influence with the regime in Azerbaijan. The jihadis who fled northern Syria are still there, perhaps more than 2500. We are ashamed of this in Europe. In reality, the European Union has done little and has therefore achieved little. They have to find a better option for the people of Armenia who live there. After all, they are now going to have to live the same life as the citizens of Afrrin and the people of Ras al-Ayn who have to endure the same horror.
On the one hand Erdogan is negotiating with the US, on the other hand Erdogan is now helping Iran, because we saw that with the kidnapping of Swedish Ahwazi leader Habib Aysoud who was kidnapped in Turkey and transferred to Iran where he is facing the death penalty. Erdogan's hand and span services are numerous, but mainly intended to strengthen his strategic power base in the Middle East. And as far as Europe is concerned, we are the champions in silently supporting Erdogan. After all, Erdogan uses the fears surrounding the refugees as a weapon to keep forcing Europe on its knees and above all not to prevent Europe taking any action.
Many people who fight for human rights do not really want us to worry about the political reality or the real political truth in Iraqi Kurdistan. But that is essential if we really want to take human rights seriously. Certainly, the moral authority of human rights organisations must be challenged if they do not act , and if we really want to champion human rights. There are thousands of so teachers and journalists and Erdogan critics in Kurdish prisons: we also have to stand up for these people if we want to defend human rights and justice.
In Erdogan’s Turkey, you can't criticise any political figure as a writer or journalist without ending up in prison. As an activist, you can't just take steps for a social cause, because all that can put you in jail. If the Kurdish struggle for freedom eventually becomes an oppression, the whole Kurdish struggle will have been in vain, because we see that precisely under pressure from Erdogan, Turkish authorities are targeting Kurds and deliberately causing divisions amongst them.
Erdogan is a real and present threat to peace and stability in Turkey, in MENA and the Caucasus, and in Europe. The EU must take action to stop him.
Andy Vermaut - Member of the International Alliance for the Defence of Rights and Liberties (AIDL)