Coup d’Etat in Egypt? One Network, Different Views

July 31, 2013

How to qualify what has been and is taking place in Egypt since early July? Many governments in the region and beyond were hesitant whether or not to label it a coup.

As to the facts, BBC news reports in its Q&A article on “Egypt in turmoil” that on 30 June 2013, millions took to the streets to mark the first anniversary of President Morsi’s inauguration, in a protest organized by the Tamarod (Revolt) movement. The military then warned the president on 1 July that it would intervene and impose its own "roadmap" if he did not satisfy the public's demands within 48 hours. As the deadline approached, Morsi insisted that he was Egypt's legitimate leader. He warned that any effort to remove him by force could plunge the country into chaos. However, late on 3 July the head of the armed forces, Gen Abdul Fattah al-Sisi, announced that the constitution had been suspended and that Chief Justice Adly Mansour would oversee an interim period with a technocratic government until presidential and parliamentary elections are held. Several of Egypt's most influential figures gave their approval to the ousting of Mohammed Morsi.

When discussing the situation in Egypt with Colin Stevens from EU Reporter, PN Member Charles Tannock explained that he preferred the term “military intervention” to “coup”. “Coup” would only suggest the armed forces acting in an undemocratic top-down approach, without responding to the wishes of the people, he said. There was a massive popular uprising against the government during the last days and weeks, Tannock continued. From his point of view, in this very complex situation which risked serious deterioration in terms of bloodshed and maybe even civil war, the army had the duty to preserve law and order. President Morsi had repeatedly refused to engage in dialogue with the opposition and was trying to turn Egypt into a one-party, Muslim Brotherhood, Sharia-based state. Egypt is however a very complex society with a very large secular component and with Christians, Tannock said, and it was clear that the Muslim Brotherhood wanted to turn Egypt into a kind of Sunni-Islamic Republic and there was very little support for that other than from Morsi’s own immediate followers.

However, for PN Member Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, what happened in Egypt “is not acceptable. It is illegitimate”, he said in an interview with Robert Siegel for NPR. “We will never recognize the coup d'etat”, he continued. “The only way for democracy to work is through the ballot box. If the military wanted to intervene, it could have called for […] parliamentary elections. But doing this coup d'etat is shameful.”

When asked his opinion on President Morsi’s failure to include minorities and other groups, Dardery responded: “I know, but what happened today is bringing back Mubarak's regime and power. […] We deserve a democracy. What I say to this, we all make mistakes. To sin is human. And President Obama [makes] mistakes but we don't kick him out of office. We have a contract with him for four years, he finishes them – we either bring him back or not. That is the democratic way. […]”

With regard to the military’s role in the upcoming weeks and months, Tannock showed himself hopeful regarding the army’s intention to stay as little time as possible to rewrite the constitution in a more inclusive way. With sufficient safeguards in the constitution, it should not be possible for a president to disregard the rights of minorities, women and LGBT communities, Tannock said.

In his discussion with Colin Steven, Tannock also shared his point of view on lessons to be learned with regard to Turkey, as the ruling AK Party in Turkey and the Muslim Bortherhood have very close links. For Tannock, the big difference is that the Turkish army is more respectful of the Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan who is economically more competent than Morsi. If Morsi had had better economic policies, some of the other problems might have been containable, Tannock believes. But because he has failed in this area, and also tried to arrogate powers to his party, essentially aiming at making Egypt a one-party state, the Egyptian people rose up, Tannock explained his perspective.


PN Member Charles Tannock has been Member of the European Parliament since 1999, where he is currently serving as Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Sahel Region and Western Sahara. Furthermore, he is Foreign Affairs and Human Rights Spokesman for the UK Conservative delegation.

PN Member Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, former Egyptian parliamentarian, is member of the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s political arm.


In his article “Good Coups, Bad Coups and Double Standards”, PN Member Joost Lagendijk also reflects on what has happened in Egypt and why governments in the region and beyond hesitate whether or not to label it a coup. A former Member of the European Parliament, Joost Lagendijk is now living and working in Turkey as a Columnist for the Turkish dailies Zaman and Today's Zaman. To read his article “Good Coups, Bad Coups and Double Standards”, please click here.




Photo by Jonathan Rashad.

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