Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, giving the four finger "Rabaa" salute in support for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. At right, two popular images which are cropping up all over Turkey. IMAGE: Twitter
From the Prime Minister to the captain of the soccer team to ordinary citizens, the four finger salute—a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood—is becoming very popular in Turkey. The four finger “Rabaa” salute, made simply by holding up four fingers with the thumb against the palm, was made by Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan amidst a fiery speech in which he condemned Egypt’s military and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad for oppressing the citizens of their own country. Erdogan called the military’s takeover of the Egyptian government an “unacceptable coup,” and even implied some ill will toward Barack Obama by stating, “Some people could also refuse to call a military coup a 'military coup.'” Obama has been cautious with Egypt, and has not declared the military’s actions a military coup, because this would necessitate cutting off aid to Egypt, a subject of hot debate in the United States right now.
The Rabaa symbol has become very popular in Turkey, which shares a border with Syria, and is directly across the Mediterranean Sea from Egypt. Emre Belozoglu, the captain of Turkey’s national soccer team, gave a four-finger salute after scoring a goal for his league team, Fenerbahce, in the first game of the season. Turkish citizens have taken to using the four finger symbol at rallies, and carry it on signs and t-shirts. The Mayor of Istanbul proposed changing the name of a city square to Rabaa in solidarity with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.
Turkey, as a nearby Muslim nation with democratic elections, is a natural and needed ally for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. The army is oppressing the Muslim Brotherhood, and without external support, the repression and violence will likely only get worse.