Arab League Secretary General says Arab Spring empowered Turkey & Iran

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit said the protests of the Arab Spring served to empower Turkey and Iran, Arab News reported on Monday.

In a speech to Cairo University, Gheit remarked that the movements in 2011 that toppled authoritarian regimes in Tunisia, Libya and Egypt, Gheit’s home country, allowed both Turkey and Iran to enter a power vacuum created by these regimes’ collapse. 

Gheit said that the weakening of national states in the region paved the way for Iran to reimagine the possibility of what he called a bygone era of imperial power. 

In Turkey, Gheit said the Arab Spring gave it hope that it could restore its hegemony, comparing it to a desire to return to the days of the Ottoman Empire. 

Turkey supported many political Islamist movements in Arab countries following the Arab Spring, including the Muslim Brotherhood-led government in Egypt under Mohammed Morsi. Ankara’s support for Muslim Brotherhood affiliated parties and movements severely strain its relationships with other regional powers including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates.