Syrian National Council Opens Office In Istanbul


U.S. media is reporting that the opposition group known as the Syrian National Council (SNC) has opened its first office in Istanbul. According to a Bloomberg report:

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) — The Syrian National Council, an alliance of opposition groups including the Muslim Brotherhood, opened its first office, located in Istanbul, a member of the bloc said.The council plans to hold a vote for a parliament in exile, said Motee al-Bateen, a member of the council’s executive branch. The group is coordinating with other opposition factions and Arab nations for a meeting in Istanbul, where the voting will take place, he said in a telephone interview.Turkey, which has been hosting opposition gatherings and housing Syrian refugees including the founder of a rebel army, is increasing pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to end a nine-month crackdown that the United Nations estimates has killed 5,000 people. The countries most recently suspended a free-trade agreement and imposed 30 percent import levies, while Syria unilaterally closed some border crossings, citing maintenance issues.“Right now, we have one request from Turkey: that they get together with Arab nations to protect Syrians and cut all ties with the Syrian regime,” al-Bateen said from Istanbul. The 43- year-old architect, who also practiced as an imam, said he fled to Turkey in mid-June.The council’s Istanbul office will serve as a headquarters for opposition members in Turkey and from other countries to meet, al-Bateen said. It will have a staff of 15 people, who will provide information in “multiple” languages, he said.

Previous posts have discussed the SNC which includes at least two known members of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood- Louay Safi, a leader in the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) and Najib Ghadbian, a board member of the Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (CSID). Another post discussed the meeting of the SNC with Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi.

An earlier post also discussed comments by a Syrian Muslim Brotherhood leader in which he says the group would “follow the Turkish” model should it come to power. References to the “Turkish model” have become almost a mantra for Muslim Brotherhood groups seeking to reassure the public about its potential ascent to power.The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs (JCPA) has published a report titled “Turkey, the Global Muslim Brotherhood, and the Gaza Flotilla” whose abstract states:

There is strong evidence for Turkish governmental involvement in the Gaza flotilla incident, with Turkish government support channeled through the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. The IHH was not acting alone but rather was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network.

With respect to the Global Muslim Brotherhood, report’s second conclusion states:

The Gaza flotilla incident brought into sharp focus an even more significant long- term development: the growing relationship between the Erdogan government and the Global Muslim Brotherhood, which has given rise to some of the most notorious Islamist terrorist groups – from al-Qaeda to Hamas. Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity

Read the rest here.

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