The Egyptian state’s stern cold face - TAHA KILINÇ

The Egyptian state’s stern cold face

This moment was first announced two months ago with the note, "for the first time." Egypt's first toppled leader Mohammed Hosni Mubarak finally appeared in court last Wednesday, with his two sons Gamal and Ala'a by his side - this time as witnesses. Ninety-year-old Mubarak, who complemented his black suit with a walking stick, gave his one-and-a-half-hour speech while seated. Mubarak, who skipped some of the questions asked by the court board, said, "If I am wanted to speak more, we need to request President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi's permission. Because what I know includes state secrets," and completed his duty.

Hosni Mubarak, who stood as a witness in the "Prison Raid Case," in which Mohamed Morsi and his friends were tried, claimed that the Muslim Brotherhood (Ikhwan) members were taken out of prison in 2011 by an 800-strong armed militant group from Gaza. Mubarak, who did not offer details about how such a large number of people could cross the border, said, "Omar Suleiman, my chief of intelligence back then, informed me about the situation. According to the report presented to me, armed men passed through the tunnels in Gaza and infiltrated Egyptian territory; after raiding prisons and releasing Ikhwan members, they crossed back into Gaza." (The Egyptian state's black box, Omar Suleiman died a sudden death in 2012.)

As he said all this, Mohamed Morsi and his friends were watching what was happening in the hearing hall from behind the glass covered iron cages in the back. Of course, they had no right to join the conversation, but their reactions from inside made it obvious that they found the scenario Mubarak concocted both hilarious and illogical.

Mubarak’s stories were hilarious not only to the prisoners in court, but a police authority who did not want to be named and spoke to Reuters news agency summarized what happened with the statement, "What we are witnessing resembles a show." Thousands of people who closely followed the incident on social media also expressed their reactions with their comments. One of these said, "Look at the twist of fate. In 2010, Mubarak was president while Morsi was in prison. In 2012, Morsi became president and Mubarak was sent to prison. In 2013, both Mubarak and Morsi were in prison. In 2018, Morsi was in prison and Mubarak turned into a witness. Who knows what else we’ll bear witness to." The events taking place in Egypt in recent years really do include such numerous head-spinning details.

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Considering the tools under the Egyptian state's disposal, the structure of the military and the way its intelligence services operate, what we witnessed was really not very surprising. When the public poured into the streets in 2011, the Egyptian state mind had deemed it appropriate for Mubarak to retire, while switching to "controlled democracy." According to the plan, Mubarak, who carried a 30 years’ worth of tea and wear, would be "toppled," and the country would enter a "democracy process" strictly controlled by the military, and armed forces would step in again only when the situation got out of hand. This way, the public would be made to accept the theory that "civilians" could not manage administration, that Ikhwan "messed up," and the military had no other choice but to physically take power. Everything really did happen as planned and we came to where we are today.

On the Egypt leg of the regional turbulence period called the Arab Spring, we saw up close the military's power and its efficiency. Not only us, who are following the events from the outside, but the Ikhwan cadres also had a close encounter again with the state's cold and stern face, probably could not guess this much.

The Egyptian military administration, which carefully planned out Hosni Mubarak’s "retirement period," are also aware that despite everything, in the eyes of a significant portion of the public, he is a "respectable soldier." The traces of this can be seen in the special treatment for Mubarak. What's more, it is almost certain that all the statements made by Mubarak and his last testimony as witness were written and signed by the Egyptian intelligence. Because Mubarak is both their old boss and partner in crime. In this respect, with the dull and distant look in his eyes when entering the court, Mubarak almost represents the "state's face." What's strange is that everybody and of course Ikhwan too, are all aware of this - now.

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There is an unchanging question in almost every conference I gave: "The news from Egypt do not offer any hope. What do you say, will the Ikhwan disappear?" I will end with the answer to this question:

The Ikhwan movement and ideology represents the principle of "doing politics by remaining completely loyal to Islam's main principles." As the people who care about Islam and politics in a Muslim manner are not going to be wiped off the face of the world, the Ikhwan hope will also continue to remain alive in our region. The form, method, and style may change, but the effort to try and come to power by accepting Islamic principles as a basis and by convincing the public without taking arms will always remain. How much of this can be achieved or not, how much it has been achieved or not is another topic of discussion. However, we can say that the frame symbolized by Ikhwan will always affect people who care about "Islamic politics," and keep their mental world alive. The flow of history, contrary to our expectations, is slow and calm. Looking at the negative developments today and thinking everything is over may, in this respect, lead us to err. But it should not.

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