Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Says Turkish Intervention Welcome


AFP is reporting on comments by Mohammad Riad Shakfa, described as “the leader of Syria’s exiled Muslim Brotherhood”, who said that Syrians would accept Turkish intervention in the country in order to resolve the conflict. According to the report:

Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood open to Turkish ‘role'(AFP) – 5 hours ago  ISTANBUL — The leader of Syria’s exiled Muslim Brotherhood said Thursday that his compatriots would accept Turkish “intervention” in the country to resolve months of bloody unrest.”The Syrian people would accept intervention coming from Turkey, rather than from the West, if its goal was to protect the people,” Mohammad Riad Shakfa told a press conference.”We may ask more from Turkey as a neighbour,” he also said, without elaborating on the nature of the intervention which the Brotherhood might consider acceptable.On Thursday, pro-government daily Sabah reported that the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC), together with the Muslim Brotherhood, had asked Turkey to establish a no-fly zone on the Syrian side of the shared border to protect Syrian civilians. Mohammed Faruk Tayfur, political leader of the Muslim Brotherhood and a member of the SNC, declined to comment on the allegations, saying only that discussions were held on “every possible means” with several governments in order to stop violence.He added that the governments and the SNC discussed how to increase political pressure on Assad and the possibility of an economic embargo against Syria, in a way that would not affect the people.”We discussed every possible means available by international law to stop the killing of civilians,” Tayfur said.”We are trying to prevent the killings of civilians as we (try) to mobilise the international community,” he said, while rejecting foreign intervention in Syria.”If there is foreign intervention, something which we would not want… the entire responsibility rests with the dictatorial regime in Syria,” he said.Shakfa also said that the Syrian government can be isolated internationally if other countries withdrew their envoys from Damascus. “Syrian people will handle the rest on their own,” he said.The Muslim Brotherhood does not want Islamic rule in Syria, Shakfa said, but a new regime would refer to Islam.”Justice, freedom and equality are also among the values of the Islamic order… As Muslims we will take Islam as a reference,” he said.

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It is not clear how AFP came to determine that Mohammad Riad Shakfa is the Syrian Brotherhood leader since there appears to be very little available information about him. However, Turkish media reported in February that Mohammed Faruk Tayfur, also described in that report as the “political leader” of the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, had participated in a meeting organized by MAZLUMDER, an organization described by a report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) as part of the Muslim Brotherhood network in Turkey. The JCPA report describes MAZLUMDER as follows:

MAZLUMDER was founded in 1991 as an alternative to the existing human rights organizations, one that would be sensitive to the issue of the Islamic headscarf. The organization has branches all over Turkey and says it is associated with Islamist organizations tied to Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood, Iran, and the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan. MAZLUMDER also showed early signs of politicization, holding anti-US demonstrations during the Iraq war and joining IHH to protest a 2004 NATO summit. In 2005, MAZLUMDER began focusing on anti-Israeli rhetoric and since 2006 has been headed by Ahmet Unsal, a former Lockheed engineer and Amnesty International board member. Unsal served as an AKP Member of Parliament from 2002 to 2007 and was the representative of Turkey to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly. Currently, he is a member of the IHH board along with another MAZLUMDER board member who is also part of the AKP.

IHH is the Turkish organization that was one of the main sponsors of the 2012 Gaza flotilla involved in a violent altercation with Israel naval forces.

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