POLITICS > Egypt is democracy test for West, Turkish PM says


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"The crisis in Egypt is a test on democracy for the West," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Aug.15 at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport before departing for a visit to Turkmenistan. Daily News Photo/Selahattin Sönmez

"The crisis in Egypt is a test on democracy for the West," Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Aug.15 at Ankara’s Esenboğa Airport before departing for a visit to Turkmenistan. Daily News Photo/Selahattin Sönmez

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan slammed the West for failing to stop the bloodshed in Egypt, while reiterating Ankara’s earlier call for the U.N. Security Council to convene quickly as the death toll from Aug. 14’s crackdown rose over 500.

“If the West wants to pass the democracy test, it has to understand this. But if it is on the point of losing the democracy test or if it has decided on a process such as questioning democracy, then that is another matter. As a matter of fact, if Western countries do not act sincerely on this issue … I believe that democracy will start to be questioned throughout the world,” Erdoğan told reporters
Aug. 15 ahead of his departure for a working visit to Turkmenistan.

The death toll, which stood at 525 on Thursday but was expected to rise, according to the latest Egyptian Health Ministry figures, makes Aug. 14 by far the deadliest day since the 2011 popular uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

A declaration of a state of emergency will not solve anything, Erdoğan said. “I believe that the people who believe in martyrdom will win their democratic rights in Egypt sooner or later.”

The United Nations, the United States and other powers have stopped short of denouncing Morsi’s overthrow as a military coup.

Erdoğan also lashed out at the opposition over the North African country. “I look at the opposition in my country; the opposition has been making nonsense statements such as ‘The government can take much different steps on the Egypt problem, and we could have been active here,’ thinking, ‘How can we collect votes?’ over Egypt. At least be sincere on this, so that we can discuss what we can do in common,” Erdoğan said.

“Because whatever you do, you have not been able to attain anything until today. You could not corner the AKP [Justice and Development Party] government. You have taken very different routes and wanted to hit the AKP government through non-democratic ways. You have done this since we came; you have been doing this for 10 years. But the citizens of the Republic of Turkey, my dear people, have never allowed this. There, we had seven elections, now we are entering the eighth one. The public surveys are out there. We have had three general elections, two local elections, two referenda, they are all out there. Despite all this, there is a structure in an effort, a pursuit of ‘I wonder what illegality will bring us.’”

Erdoğan said he had talked to world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister David Cameron and French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, as well as United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, about the situation in Egypt.

Erdoğan also called for an urgent U.N. Security Council meeting. “The Security Council of the United Nations should convene quickly to discuss the situation in Egypt,” Erdoğan said. “This is a very serious massacre ... against the Egyptian people who were only protesting peacefully,” he said, criticizing “the silence” of the global community in the face of the bloodshed.

Meanwhile, Erdoğan maintained that there was a constant attempt to entrap the Islamic world, including his own country. “These traps exist for us, too … Therefore, let us not forget that nobody wants a strong Turkey. Therefore, we have to be strong. First, we have to love each other. We have to be in solidarity. Therefore, we will keep our nose to the grindstone, work and God willing build a strong Turkey in this way,” Erdoğan said.

On the ground, angry supporters of Egypt’s ousted president, Mohamed Morsi, stormed and torched two buildings housing the local government in Giza, the city next to Cairo that is home to the famed pyramids. The Giza government offices are located on the Pyramids Road on the west bank of the River Nile.

State TV blamed supporters of Morsi for the fire. Its footage shows both structures burning with firefighters evacuating employees from the larger building. A spokesman from the Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, said the movement and its allies suffered a strong blow from the state security crackdown, that their central coordination had been lost and that the bloodshed meant their anger was now “beyond control.”


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Notice on comments

Ken Alden

9/11/2013 7:01:17 AM

If a country claims to be "Democracy" without proper safeguards that are needed to maintain a Democracy, you still have nothing! Basis for "Democracy" is a ironclad Constitution that can not be changed at thew whim of aStrongman or a Strong or a Freely Elected P/M with a simple majority as it was acomplished by Morsi, yes he was freely and democratically elected and one of his first acts was the killing of that democracy that brought him to power, he commited an criminal act, he failed the Test!

Wewomen kennedy

9/3/2013 1:37:42 AM

Democracy is not winner beat all. It is suppose to come with basic rights for everyone, including freedom of speech, the the right to speedy public trial, the right to assemble with other people to exchange ideas, a free press -- not like Morsi, hauling the funniest, best political comedian to jail for insulting him, not using soceer thug to shake down merhcants for money, or beating anyone freely you find offensive - like the sight of women's hair or a scarf.

Tarek Masud

8/28/2013 8:34:38 AM

@ OWL, nobody is saying that democracy is only about elections but the fact is you cannot have democracy without free and fair elections. If the government is on the wrong track people have the opportunity to reject the government when the time comes. Having the patience to wait for that moment is also a vital factor in democracy. The desire to oust the government through military coup instead of rejecting the government through an election cannot be a democratic norm.


8/16/2013 10:36:01 PM

TRE continually equates 'democracy' with 'election'...the buck doesn't stop there sir! once the 'winning party' gets into office, they need to support everyone not just the 'chosen' people. Morsi talked a good talk when he was first elected. It went downhill from there. Ask yourself why...

Tekion Particle

8/16/2013 5:37:29 PM

Mr RTE, please define democracy. I cannot reiterate enough, while it is very sad that Egyptian rulers decided to carryout bloody crack down on Morsi supporters (which I strongly condemn), there is no place for religion in politics. There can be no democracy or freedom of any kind while a religious government vigorously pursuing governance by a text written 1500 years ago. Unless the religious can reform and adhere to the fundamental principles of democracy, they should be banned from office.

Tarek Masud

8/16/2013 4:56:38 PM

Mark Mark, how did MB manage to change the constitution if it had a slim majority in the parliament? You're twisting the truth. Today I viewed an Al Jazeera report stating that MB had won 70% of the seats in the parliament, this is way more than your slim majority.

Tayyar Abi

8/16/2013 4:43:44 PM

@Al Rashid; Get a grip. America's 1.5 billion in aid to the Egytian military is nothing to a country that large. Saudi Arabia would just make it up anyway if it was cut off. Your conspiracy theories are getting tiresome.

Dr. Abdi Osman

8/16/2013 4:23:05 PM

@Mark Mark - "Democracy is not just about tick a box and putting it in a ballot box and winning, democracy is about political pluralism, bringing a society together and respecting its differences." Very true and that was what has happen in Egypt, but the West is very much against political Islam to emerge which they know if it does, it will be much superior than their desperate and corrupted principles.

Nadiri Başaran

8/16/2013 3:34:33 PM

MB's position has been consistently clear: 'peaceful protest' extremists always take advantage of these kinds of protests e.g. Gezi. Of course, it's just as likely that the pro-coup supporters are attacking the churches as everyone will/is blaming the MB.

Nadiri Başaran

8/16/2013 3:27:26 PM

RTE might be right that the world could question 'democracy' since the most democratic countries act the way they do, with inconsistency and hypocrisy.
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