Turkey, Sudan and the Muslims Brotherhood: Conflict of Lost Power

Since the ousting of previous Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir, the Muslim Brotherhood is struggling with its influence in Sudan, coinciding with the group’s struggle in Libya, where the MB is part of the Government of National Accord.

In 1989, al-Bashir conducted a coup against al-Sadiq al-Mahdi, after allying with some Islamic groups and figures, led by Hassan al-Turabi, becoming close with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Turkey and the Multiple Bets

During the protests that toppled Al-Bashir in 2019, Turkey welcomed 17 Brotherhood leaders together with former government officials, including the deputies of the ousted president, Ibrahim Mahmoud Hamid and Faisal Hassan Ibrahim, in addition to the former chief of intelligence, Muhammad Atta Al-Mawla and the country’s head of the Muslim Brotherhood, Ammar Bashiri.

The Islamist movement at that time called for an army coup d’état, in order to start a counter revolution called for ousting the army. But the emergence of free and civil parties and their participation in the government changed the MB strategy and eliminated the possibility of mobilizing the Sudanese public under the slogan of fighting the army. And today, the Brotherhood is wagering on the failure of the transitional phase to return to power.

African Horn Gate and Isolated Influence

When the Muslim Brotherhood lost power in Egypt, Libya, Sudan and Tunisia, the triangle of Turkish influence in the African continent emerged. However, Sudan in particular is considered by Turkey as the main gateway to the African Horn.

Just before the fall of al-Bashir, Sudan struck an agreement with Turkey, under which Turkey established three military bases in the island of Sawaken in the Red Sea. Many Arab countries considered that agreement as a threat to Arab national security.

Turkey’s interests in Eritrea and Somalia were affected by the fall of the former Sudanese regime, as they became isolated from the rest of the Turkish interests in the continent.

The Muslim Brotherhood is now waging a media and economic battle against the transitional government, especially as the government is about to be reaching an agreement with the United States to remove Sudan from its terrorist and to lift the siege imposed on Khartoum. The transitional government has also gone a long way concerning the peace process in the country.

The Muslim Brotherhood owns a number of media outlets broadcasting from Turkey, the most known of which is Tayba TV, run by Abd al-Hayy Yusef, a close associate of al-Bashir regime.

The Sudanese Prosecutor on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing has revealed that many of MB leaders had transferred huge funds to Turkish banks before the fall of the previous regime.

Relations that Violate Political Custom

Unlike the general relations between the countries, the relation between Turkey and Sudan was a rapprochement between MB groups in both countries, Abdullah Humeidan, a researcher in Turkish affairs says.

According to Humeidan, the biggest beneficiary of that rapprochement would be the international organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as the Turkish ruling government of AKP that would have gained control over Sawaken Island, had it not been for the fall of the former regime.

In this context, the Sudanese publisher Abd al-Jalil Suleiman points out that the relations between Sudan and Turkey would have witnessed tangible improvement, after both countries were ruled by the MB.

“When Recep Tayyip Erdogan became Prime Minister of the Turkish government in 2003, an ideological link between both countries was formed between them, prompting the Sudanese MB to go to Turkey with arrangements of the group’s international organization.

It is noteworthy that Erdogan visited Sudan in 2017 together with 200 businessmen, signing 12 agreements, including rebuilding and reactivating the Sawaken port.

The Turkish journalist Sami Koyhin says that the AKP government would not consider the character and behavior of al-Bashir an obstacle to create an alliance and express sympathy with him, and this would have become obvious, when Ankara invited al-Bashir to visit Turkey, even though he was wanted by Interpol and the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

According to the latest statistics, the investments of Turkish government and private institutions in Sudan, during the rule of al-Bashir reached $ 600 million, in addition to cooperation in the military and political fields.

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