Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group has praised Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his refusal to blacklist the movement as a “terrorist” organisation.
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 honourable 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” organisation.
In recent days, the administration of US President Donald Trump has reportedly been thinking about blacklisting the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation.
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” organisation rather than a “terrorist group”.
“I don’t consider the Muslim Brotherhood a terrorist organisation as it is not an armed group. It is, in fact, an ideological organisation,” 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”.
[This post was originally published by Middle East Monitor.]