Will Libya rise as Saudi Arabia, the UAE pull away from the Middle East? - SELÇUK TÜRKYILMAZ

Will Libya rise as Saudi Arabia, the UAE pull away from the Middle East?

Egypt cannot be discussed in the same category as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Saudi Arabia. Egypt was an important cultural hub during the Ottoman period as well. As the first places where press was established, Kazan, Istanbul, and Cairo were important for the Turkic and Muslim world. The significance of these three cities in terms of Turkey’s reformation history cannot be denied. Egypt has an important place in the history of the fight against European imperialism as well.

As they formed a colonial administration, a serious opposition movement developed in Egypt against the British. Though a great deal has been said about the Ikhwan al-Muslimeen (Muslim Brotherhood), this movement’s fight against the British was never fully clarified. Hence, no emphasis was placed on the basic reasons for the harsh intervention on the Morsi administration in 2013. As Egypt is one of the most important centers of the Arab and Muslim worlds, the effects of a new administration that could not be controlled by foreigners would not be limited to the Gift of the Nile.

Egypt coming to the fore regarding Libya’s civil war is clearly important in various respects. Had the Morsi administration been able to maintain its existence, Egypt would most likely not act in coordination with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. As the UAE and Saudi Arabia are expressly following an anti-Turkey policy, they are becoming increasingly isolated in the Muslim world. They are pulling away from the region as they are acting on behalf of foreign powers. While in Egypt, it’s a whole different kettle of fish. Late Morsi and his friends were able to activate the masses by leaning on Egypt's tradition of struggle that has spanned over a century. Despite failing to resist putschist Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi’s coup, they showed that they have the power to simultaneously mobilize all cities in Egypt. This is not something to be explained away with the Brotherhood’s power alone. Egypt and Cairo can be identified as a hub with the history it inherited. Therefore, we need to see that they are compelling Egypt to adopt anti-Turkey politics.

We need to mention a similar cultural legacy in Algeria as well. The cultural structures networked in Parisian suburbs managed to pass down anti-Western sentiment as a legacy between generations. However, similar to Tunisia, the dependent elements that formed through France’s assimilation policy were also deeply rooted. Algeria is just as important a culture center and cannot be compared with the UAE and Saudi Arabia. As is known, Egypt was first invaded by France. British sovereignty came later. Though it was extinguished from time to time, it is worth mentioning an opposition movement in Algeria that challenged French sovereignty after Emir Abdelkader. It is also possible to talk about a cultural legacy that was based on clashing with the administration in Egypt and on Algeria’s streets.

Turkey’s relations with the Arab region can be classified under different periods. Turkey has been influential on the masses in Arab regions during Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s term. There is no other example of this in the past. Erdoğan is, without question, the sole leader who has been able to activate the masses in numerous capitals from East Africa to West Africa. The central country of such a vast region, on the other hand, is Libya. Though it has second degree importance in terms of culture when compared to countries such as Egypt and Algeria, Libya has extremely high regional value. We are not saying that Libya has no cultural value. Sociological characteristics such a tribal structure can be turned into a window of opportunity. Despite the dual structure developed in Egypt and Algeria producing positive results in the cultural sense, as seen in 2013, it is a major weakness. We can talk about a similar shortcoming for Tunisia as well. They cemented the administration understanding that is based on oppressing the voice of the streets through foreign interventions.

Like Egypt, Libya would also have been opened up to foreign intervention and sovereignty. Turkey prevented this by positively responding to Libya’s call for help, which was clearly not an easy decision to come to. The political and cultural outcomes of Turkey’s hindrance of the imperialist intervention aimed at Libya will not be limited. It can be ascertained that this will lead to permanent changes in cultural hubs especially like Algeria and Egypt. It is too early to predict the political outcomes, however, we can say that the UAE and Saudi Arabia’s power-based influence over the Arab region will break.

The structures that emerged in the Islamic region after the two world wars have been shaken to their very core and a great change is on the horizon. Turkey reactivated the dynamics of this vast region.

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