Morsi should be released, Turkey’s Erdoğan says
ANKARATurkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reiterated his long-standing demand for the release of Egypt’s former leader Mohamed Morsi after an Egyptian court overturned a death sentence against the ousted president and ordered re-trial.
“A just process has not been implemented for Morsi and his friends. Their immediate release is what really should occur, not just a retrial for Morsi and his companions,” Erdoğan told reporters on Nov. 16 before departing for Pakistan.
Egyptian authorities are talking about passing a life sentence, Erdoğan said, adding that the release of Morsi and his companions was the only possible option.
Turkey’s president made the comments in response to a question on a recent court verdict that overturned a death sentence on Morsi, once Erdoğan’s strongest ally before being toppled by Abdel Fettah el-Sisi in mid-2013. Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been severely damaged since then as both nations have withdrawn ambassadors from each other’s capital.
“I don’t give so much importance to the process after their release; what is important now is returning his rights to him, and him regaining his freedom,” he said, adding that he considered the coup against Morsi to be anti-democratic.
“Nobody should regard it as intervening Egypt’s interior affairs, but I believe it has never been a democratic approach for a minister of defense, who was the chief of this army, to stage a coup against a president who was elected with 52 percent of the votes.”
YPG to retreat to east of Euphrates River soon
Erdoğan also answered questions on other foreign policy matters as well. On the discussion of whether the People’s Protection Unit (YPG), the military wing of the Democratic Union Party (PYD) in Syria, would retreat to the east of the Euphrates River, Erdoğan said: “The promise that the coalition forces, especially the United States, made about Manbij will soon be realized. They will go to the east and the PYD and the YPG will leave [the region] in a few days. They expressed that they will implement their promises. We are expecting and hoping that they will follow their promise.”
Turkey considers the PYD and YPG to be offshoots of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and therefore terrorist organizations and his called on the U.S. to cease its cooperation with the groups in the fight against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Erdoğan also said the Free Syrian Army forces, which Turkey supports, had approached al-Bab in preparation for a siege.
“The FSA is 2 kilometers [from al-Bab] right now. And with the support of our special forces, the siege is beginning as planned and the al-Bab process will be completed at point blank. Now there is a resistance there. But I don’t anticipate it to be long,” he said.
Terror will hit Europe like a boomerang
Following his recent criticisms toward European countries with regards to the fight against PKK, Erdoğan once more lashed out at Germany and Belgium.
“They express counter-terrorism efforts but we are no longer leaning toward such expressions. We want action,” Erdoğan said following a question about the recent visit of German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier to Ankara on Nov. 15.
“I have given 4,000 files to Ms. Chancellor [Angela Merkel] previously. In a meeting about five months ago, she said the number of those files had increased to 4,500. According to records we have, six cases were completed in the German Parliament, their own statement indicates. An official accompanying his foreign minister said yesterday that 90 cases were finalized. He found it strange. It reveals how sloppy they are in handling this,” he said.
“If you take this that loose for that long, tomorrow it will turn back on you like a boomerang. It will hit Germany, too. I have no doubt about it,” he added.
He also criticized Belgium for protecting PKK and Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ) members.
“Belgium is now an important center of this. It is an important center for not just the PKK but FETÖ as well,” he said, reiterating his argument that this would cause further troubles for Belgium, hinting at a bombing attack in Brussels on Mar. 22.
“Belgium is a very important country because the European Parliament is there. The population of civil servants is very dense there. They have to be more sensitive about that. But they are not. What happened, they have faced a very serious terror attack just recently. But it will continue. Today us, tomorrow you,” he said.