For some time now, Turkey has been moving towards Egypt with the aim of gaining a strong ally on the eastern Mediterranean coast. Obtaining a mutually beneficial agreement on natural gas supplies has been on Recep Tayyip Erdogan's agenda for months. Nor is it news that rapprochement with the Egyptians was not going to be easy due to the historical ties that have always divided the two countries, such as the relationship between the Turks and the Muslim Brotherhood, from which they have recently been trying to distance themselves in order to gain Cairo's trust.
The Muslim Brotherhood, unsurprisingly, is not in the best of times following the ongoing rift with Ankara. Ibrahim Munir, acting head of the Muslim Brotherhood's Higher Administrative Committee, is very unhappy with the poor functioning of the administrative bureau and the Shura Council in Turkey, according to Arabi21. The same media outlet reported that he has dissolved the administrative bureau in Turkey and postponed the elections that were scheduled for this July.
Some of the general directives of the Muslim Brotherhood were ignored, such as the reunification of the group, the expansion of the General Shura Council and the reform of the Central Committee. Freedom and Justice Party member Mohammad Saber has spoken about the decisions being taken within the organisation - considered terrorist by countries such as the United States and even the European Union -: "The internal elections needed different elements and bodies that enjoyed consensus in order to give more credibility and transparency to the elections". The Brotherhood hopes that these changes will bring its position closer to Turkey's, and Ankara does not flatly refuse to maintain its ties with the terrorist organisation.
Recently, Egypt has been pursuing a very tough policy against the Muslim Brotherhood, and executions of senior members of the organisation have been going on for some time. Just a week ago, 12 new convictions were announced, including several leaders of Turkey's historic allies. Among them was that of a former member of parliament and a former minister who served in the government of former president Mohamed Morsi, with whom the country led by Recep Tayyip Erdogan had very good relations, and whose overthrow led to the severing of diplomatic relations with the Egyptians.
Although Turkey has called for a halt to these executions, the reality is that Ankara is treading carefully in the knowledge that any false move could destroy what it has been building for months. Egypt's foreign minister has already sent a message pointing to Turkish interference in Egyptian politics: "It is important to observe the rules of international law not to interfere in internal affairs and not to make the territories a station and a springboard for hostile elements targeting the population of another country. If this is a stable issue, this is seen as a positive development". He added that "normal relations between countries should be based on non-interference in internal affairs".
As the Muslim Brotherhood seeks to carry out a major rebuilding of its infrastructure and Egypt continues to execute many of the organisation's leaders, Turkey finds itself in the middle of this chaos, which, as has become Erdogan's custom, is trying to play both sides of the game. The rapprochement with the Egyptians has improved markedly in recent months. However, the current situation of the Brotherhood, together with the warnings issued from Cairo, puts Turkey in a complicated situation, and it will have to make decisions soon if it wants to further strengthen its position in the eastern Mediterranean.