Egyptian president, Turkish general go to jail
Arabic media review

Egyptian president, Turkish general go to jail

Diplomacy running out as Egypt enters 'crucial week' of negotiations with the Muslim Brotherhood

Elhanan Miller is the former Arab affairs reporter for The Times of Israel

People try to protect themselves as riot and paramilitary police officers fire tear gas and use water cannons to disperse protesters outside the Silivri jail complex in Silivri, Turkey, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 (photo credit: AP)
People try to protect themselves as riot and paramilitary police officers fire tear gas and use water cannons to disperse protesters outside the Silivri jail complex in Silivri, Turkey, Monday, Aug. 5, 2013 (photo credit: AP)

Arab media reports a “crucial” week in Egypt in attempts to broker a compromise between government and the Muslim Brotherhood, while focusing as well on the dramatic life sentence delivered to a former Turkish chief of staff.

“Egypt: A crucial day for arbitration efforts,” reads the headline of London-based daily Al-Hayat, reporting that the provisional government is attempting to exhaust all political avenues before resorting to force by dispersing a pro-Morsi sit-in in Cairo.

The daily notes, however, that the chances of reaching a solution are “growing slim.”

London-based daily Al-Quds Al-Arabi reports that both sides “are refusing to budge from their positions” as the army denies reports that it has reached an agreement to end the opposition sit-in. The Muslim Brotherhood, for its part, continues to reject pressure placed on it to “face reality” and end the protest, the daily reports.

In an interview with Saudi-owned daily A-Sharq Al-Awsat, Egypt’s deputy president for foreign affairs Mohammed Elbaradei says the coming week will be critical in efforts to reach a compromise with the Brotherhood, expressing his hope that the Islamist movement will issue a statement rejecting violence and reduce the number of its supporters on the streets.

Speaking of the military coup which toppled Mohammed Morsi on July 3, ElBaradei said that had the army not intervened on June 30 as millions of Egyptians took to the streets, Egypt would have deteriorated into a civil war.

Qatari news channel Al-Jazeera reports on American and Arab efforts to solve the Egypt crisis with the arrival of US senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham in Egypt. The foreign ministers of Qatar and the UAE have also intensified their talks with both sides in a bid to reach a solution.

In a pro-Morsi op-ed in Al-Jazeera’s website, Ghazi A-Tawba claims that the president was ousted by the military because he threatened Egypt’s identity as a nation-state.

“His rule over the past year threatened the two goals for which the nation-state was created, namely: Westernization and preventing the return to Islamist rule,” writes A-Tawba.

“Even supposing that Morsi failed on many issues, no one is allowed to depose him by any other means than the democratic system. He can only be replaced through the ballot box following the end of his presidential term.”

But the headline of independent Egyptian daily Al-Masry Al-Youm stands in stark contradiction to those sentiments.

“There is no turning back and no referendum,” reads the headline Tuesday, reporting that the pro-Morsi sit-in will certainly be dispersed. In a meeting with US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns on Sunday, Egyptian Defense Minister Abdel Fattah El-Sissi said that Egypt’s position “will not veer one millimeter from its road to democracy.”

The Egyptian presidency also notified visiting delegations from the Gulf, Europe and the US that the safe departure of Morsi and other Brotherhood leaders is entirely dependent on a court decision. Morsi is to be moved to Tora Prison within days, where he will be held for at least 15 days and investigated on counts of conspiracy and storming prisons during the January 25 revolution.

A Turkish general goes to jail

The two largest pan-Arab dailies, Al-Hayat and A-Sharq Al-Awsat, report on the life sentenced delivered to former Turkish chief of staff İlker Başbuğ and other officers after being convicted of attempting to overthrow Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“Turkey: Life for the former head of Turkey’s army for criticizing the penetration of religious groups in the state,” reads the headline of Al-Hayat.

“Just as students await the results of their final high school exams, Turks held their breath yesterday as they watched the verdict of 275 men involved in the Ergenekon network on television,” reads the article.

A-Sharq Al-Awsat reports the arrest of “dozens of generals, journalists and criminal gang leaders” since 2007, featuring a photo of demonstrators being sprayed by water hoses at a protest outside the court Monday as the verdict was being read.

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