Revolution and Counter-Revolution in Egypt: The Role of External Actors

Erdoğan A.

Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, vol.7, no.1, pp.169-201, 2020 (Peer-Reviewed Journal)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 7 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.26513/tocd.631924
  • Journal Name: Turkish Journal of Middle Eastern Studies
  • Journal Indexes: Academic Search Premier, Index Islamicus, Directory of Open Access Journals, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.169-201
  • Yıldız Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In 2013, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown by a military coup. Since then, the country has undergone serious setbacks in terms of democracy, individual freedoms and social justice. Egypt’s failed revolution and the military coup in Egypt could not be thought independent from the role of external actors either directly or indirectly involved in this process. Despite their political rhetoric emphasizing democracy promotion and political reforms, both the US and the EU failed to pursue consistent and contributory policies in promoting democratic transition in Egypt in the fear that the electoral victory of Islamist groups would harm their interests in the region. On the other hand, the Gulf monarchies played a pivotal role in the entrenchment of the military rule by providing financial and political support to the military-backed government as a shield against the democratically elected regime in Egypt. This article investigates how the policies adopted by Egypt’s key allies, the European Union, the United States and the Gulf Monarchies, in the face of the January 25 revolution and 2013 military coup impacted the trajectory of Egypt’s political transition. The main thesis of the article is that the policies pursued by the external actors created a political environment unconducive to democratic change in Egypt.