Syrian Muslim Brotherhood Leader Denies Seeking Turkish MIlitary Intervention


A U.K. based Saudi news paper has reported that a Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader has clarified recent remarks about the possibility of Turkish intervention in the conflict by saying they did not mean that the movement welcomed military intervention. According to a report in Asharq Alawsat:

Beirut, Asharq Al-Awsat- The recent statement by head of Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Riyad Shaqfah, regarding the Syrian people accepting Turkish intervention to protect its civilians has stirred numerous questions about the possibility of Turkey resorting to this option in order to resolve the Syrian crisis. While Shaqfah has pointed out that he accepts Turkish intervention in Syria, but not a western one, Faruq Tayfur, Muslim Brotherhood deputy controller general and spokesman at the Syrian National Council, has stressed that, “Shaqfah’s statements came within a talk about the probable scenarios to resolve the Syrian crisis if the Syrian regime does not implement the Arab resolutions, and he did not mean a military intervention.” “What Shaqfah said about accepting Turkish intervention came within the context of a talk about international intervention to resolve the Syrian crisis. During his talk Shaqfah pointed out that we were pursuing an Arab solution, but if the Syrian regime did not stop the killing then we would not have any objection to Turkish intervention and no-fly zone, but without this meaning a military intervention.” Tayfur told Asharq Al-Awsat. With regard to the opinion of the National Council of this proposal, Tayfur told Asharq Al-Awsat, “Our understanding with the National Council still stems from a fundamental principle, which primarily is the protection of the civilians. Bear in mind that in the light of the continuous international search for a framework for the probable scenarios that could be resorted to in order to topple Al-Assad, this option might be one of the possible scenarios. However, this certainly will not be adopted without Arab and international cover that stipulate the commissioning of Turkey or any other specific side to undertake this mission.” Regarding speculation that any Turkish intervention will pave the way for international intervention, Tayfur said that, “This might be the case, but it will be aimed at finding various ways and means to stop the killing in Syria; however, this is not yet the time to talk about military intervention.”

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A  post from last week discussed 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.

It is not clear how Mohammad Riad Shakfa has come to be called 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, 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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