During his first election campaign speech of 2019, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Tuesday made clear he was going to stick to his usual “rabia” hand gesture, inspired by the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
Addressing a group of supporters, Erdoğan praised the crowd’s love for him on display and prayed that God would increase their love for each other while displaying rabia sign.
Erdogan’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is the Turkish version of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Islamists with an affinity for the Brotherhood, whose leaders had sheltered in Turkey, comprise his core base.
Turkey is heading to local elections in March in which major provinces such as Istanbul and Ankara appear to be battlegrounds between the AKP and opposition parties.
The Erdoğan government has troubled relations with Egypt due to a number of differences, including Turkey’s open support for the Muslim Brotherhood, which is listed as a terrorist organization by Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and some other Gulf states.