TEL AVIV — Egyptian authorities are concerned that Turkey will try to sabotage the presidential elections scheduled for March in order to harm incumbent Abdel Fattah al-Sissi, an Arab diplomatic source told Breitbart Jerusalem.
The national council for elections in Egypt decided this week that the vote will be held on March 16 and it remains unclear who will run against President al-Sissi after the leading opposition candidate, former president Hosni Mubarak’s prime minister Ahmad Shafiq, announced that he would not run. He did so as he was being extradited to Egypt from the United Arab Emirates, where he has lived for the last few years.
An officer in the Egyptian army was also recently sentenced to six years in prison for announcing his intention to run for president while still serving in the military.
According to the Arab diplomatic source, Egyptian authorities fear that Turkey, considered the biggest supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, will try to derail the elections and foment violence in order to hurt al-Sissi’s chances of being reelected. The source noted that in the wake of the large terror attack last November at the Al Rawda mosque in northern Sinai that killed hundreds of worshippers, Egypt suspected that the terrorists were helped by Turkish intelligence.
Egyptian authorities reportedly believe that jihadist Islamic State operatives received forged passports from Turkey, helping them enter Egypt to join the ranks of the Egyptian branch of IS responsible for the attack.
“[Turkish President Recep Tayyip] Erdogan won’t give up his imperialist ambitions to become a new Ottoman sultan,” said the source. “Many cells of the Muslim Brotherhood are still active in Egypt. Erdogan hopes that anarchy during the elections will create an atmosphere hostile to the army and the president as well as a demand to put power in civilian hands.”
The source added that Erdogan hopes a civilian protest will allow the Muslim Brotherhood to recover from the blows dealt to the group by al-Sissi’s regime.
The Muslim Brotherhood has been outlawed in Egypt and its members and supporters are no longer allowed to stand as candidates in elections, but Brotherhood members have run as independent candidates.