The Middle East Monitor, an Islamist publication, is reporting that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has defended the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood in the face of what is described as international pressure to designation the organization as a terrorist group. According to the report:
February 17, 2017 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has come out in defence of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood after recent international pressure against the movement, particularly from the United States, seeks to list the group as a terrorist organisation.
Erdogan said that he did not consider the Brotherhood to be a terrorist organisation because ‘it is not an armed group, but is in actual fact an ideological organisation,’ adding that ‘there would be no tolerance for the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey if they had anything to do with terrorism, and we have not seen or observed any action [from them]that indicates this.’
Erdogan’s comments were made during an interview with the Saudi-owned Al Arabiya during his recent visit to the Saudi Arabian capital Riyadh, as part of his recent tour of the Arabian Gulf states.
Responding to a question by host Turki Al-Dakheel about the US administration of President Donald Trump considering blacklisting the Brotherhood as a terrorist organisation, Erdogan said: ‘Personally, I don’t consider the Muslim Brotherhood to be a terrorist organisation as it is not an armed group, but is in actual fact an ideological organisation.’
Erdogan added that the Brotherhood was ‘divided and present in many different places, and I haven’t seen any armed activity from them. If I had, then my position towards them would be like my position towards any terrorist organisation.’
‘If they are treated as terrorists, I believe that is not the right thing to do,’ the Turkish president said.
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A 2011 report report authored by the GMBDW editor concluded that since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood. That report also detailed President Erdogan’s ideological ties to the Global Muslim Brotherhood network and that date back to Erdogan’s affiliation in the 1970s with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY), a Saudi charity with known connections to extremist and terrorist groups.