Turkish media has reported on comments made by the Syrian ambassador to Turkey in which he identifies an important leader of the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey who he said was close to Turkish Prime Minster Erdogan. According to a report in the Hürriyet Daily News:
“The Syrian administration has also been irked by the meetings of Syrian opposition figures in Istanbul in April. ‘I think Turkey has been trying to play a role, maybe which in principle has a good intention, but the Muslim Brotherhood, those who have taken part in armed operations against the Syrian army in 1980s, have Syrian blood on their hands,’ Kabalan said. ‘For us, the Muslim Brotherhood is like the PKK is for Turkey,’ he said, referring to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. ‘The Muslim Brotherhood has been attacking the army. You have to understand that sensitivity.’ Kabalan said the political wing of Muslim Brotherhood had been engaged in dialogue with the Syrian government, but added that he was talking about the military wing of the group. ‘At the gathering in Istanbul a press conference was held by Riad al-Shaqfa, a mentor of the Muslim Brotherhood. It was carried live on Al Jazeera – an unwelcome development, I have to be honest. We did not like it. You should not give a platform to people with blood on their hands,’ he said. ‘The issue is who is meeting and what the decisions are. If it was a meeting to initiate a peaceful constructive dialogue with the country, it was not a problem,’ Kabalan added. The meeting was organized under the auspices of the Independent Industrialists’ and Businessmen’s Association, or MÜS?AD, but the financer and the real organizer was Gazi M?s?rl?, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood and a Syrian who has been living in Turkey with Turkish citizenship, Kabalan said. ‘When President al-Assad came to Istanbul [in 2009], Mr. Erdo?an introduced this guy and said, ‘Please, my brother Bashar, help this man.’ M?s?rl? is the financer of most of the actions,’ the ambassador said. ‘He was welcomed by Bashar al-Assad personally to go back to Syria. This was 1.5 years ago, and he did not give one single answer.’ ‘We are very sorry for every single drop of blood that has been shed on Syrian soil. Syrian blood should be spread in Palestine, in fighting Israel, not in fighting in Syrian cities,’ he added.
A Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) report on the June 2010 Gaza Flotilla had already identified Gazi Misirli as both a leader in the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood as well as being a member of the funding/endowment arm of the European Muslim Brotherhood :
Gazwan Masri, also known by his Turkish name Gazi Misirli, was born in Aleppo, Syria, in 1964 and later acquired Turkish citizenship.There are conflicting reports both of Mr. Misirli’s date of arrival in Turkey and of his educational background. One media report says that he first came to Turkey in 1987 for a university education, earning a degree in Engineering Management from ?stanbul Teknik Üniversitesi and eventually marrying a Turkish woman.105 However, other media reports say he first came to Turkey in 1983.106 He later became head of the SANTRAL company that describes itself as “supplying products and goods from Turkish and international markets and marketing them in the Arab world.” Shortly after joining MÜSI? D, sometime in 1999 or 2000, Mr. Misirli became a trustee of the European Trust, a part of the Federation of Islamic Organizations in Europe (FIOE), known to be the umbrella group representing the Muslim Brotherhood in Europe.The Trust describes itself as a “Waqf,” an Arabic term meaning a religious endowment in the form of a property earning revenues, as regulated by Islamic law. Since renamed the “Europe Trust,” the organization has amassed a real-estate portfolio of income-earning properties, a small portion of which has been used to fund FIOE or FIOE member-organization projects. At the time Mr. Misirli joined the Trust, as well as at the present, the other trustees included some of the most important Muslim Brotherhood leaders in Europe, such as Ibrahim El-Zayat, the leader of the German Muslim Brotherhood, and Fouad Alaoui, one of the leaders of the French Muslim Brotherhood.109 Illustrative of Mr. Misirli’s close connections to the current Turkish government, in April 2009 he offered on an online forum to forward letters to the office of Prime Minister Erdogan.
The JCPA report also revealed that MUSIAD, the organizer of the meeting referred to above and with which Mr. MIsirli is closely associated, also played a major role in funding the Gaza Flotilla:
In the aftermath of the flotilla, the Turkish/MB network continued its support in more official statements, and at a post-flotilla event in Kuwait, Turkish/MB network leader Gazi Misirli revealed that MUSIAD had played a major role in funding the flotilla by “coordinating” donations. In addition, the Turkish/MB network was in ongoing contact with Hamas leaders as well as with the Union of Good, the coalition of charities headed by Youssef Qaradawi that raises funds for Hamas. These conclusions raise three further important issues.
The Syrian ambassador’s statements would seem to confirm the findings of the JCPA report and point an even closer relationship between the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network and the Prime MInister of Turkey than previously known as well pointing to ties between the Turkish and Syrian Muslim Brotherhoods.