Turkey calls for immediate release of Egyptian leaders
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu says Turkey does not accept the arbitrary detention of Egypt's elected leaders and hopes the military’s intervention does not overshadow the January 25 Revolution. AFP photo
Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has criticized the military intervention in Egypt, saying Turkey does not accept the removal and detention of elected leaders from power through “illegitimate means,” adding that he hoped the military’s move would not overshadow the original Jan. 25, 2011 revolution.
“Whatever the reason is, it is unacceptable that a democratically elected government was overthrown by illegitimate means, even more, with a military coup. A national consensus politics is possible only with the participation and support of democratic institutions, actors, opposition and civil society,” Davutoğlu told reporters in Istanbul. “Leaders who come to power with open and transparent elections reflecting the will of the people can only be removed by elections, that is, the will of the nation.”
Egypt’s army held the country’s first democratically elected President Mohamed Morsi in detention, hours after abruptly forcing him out of office following days of deadly protests against his turbulent rule. Morsi’s defense minister, armed forces chief General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, announced Morsi’s overthrow on state television on Wednesday. Warrants have been issued for the arrest of a total of 300 Muslim Brotherhood officials.
“All democratic mechanisms should be operated ... After yesterday’s intervention, the arbitrary arrests or house arrests of politicians, including President Mohamed Morsi and Prime Minister Hisham Qandil, are unacceptable. Freeing the detained politicians has special importance for national reconciliation,” Davutoğlu said.
The Turkish foreign minister had a telephone conversation with his Egyptian counterpart Mohammed Kamel Amr today to discuss the crisis. He also held telephone conversations with his U.S., German, French, British and Qatari counterparts late Wednesday ahead of the military intervention.
“This intervention should not overshadow the democratic gains of the Jan. 25 revolution,” Davutoğlu said, warning that an interruption of the democratic process would represent a loss for all Egyptian people. “Our message is clear: The Jan. 25 revolution was the first big revolution of the 21st century. Protecting the gains of this revolution should be the priority of the Egyptian people. We totally reject the assessments that the ‘Arab Spring’ has turned into an ‘Arab Winter,’ or that Muslims cannot be governed by democracy,” he said.
“The powers of Egypt’s elected authorities should immediately be reinstated and a chaotic environment should be avoided,” Davutoğlu said, calling for a quick return to democracy through free and fair elections.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was set to hold a meeting to assess the latest developments in the Egyptian crisis in his Istanbul office this afternoon. Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, Culture and Tourism Minister Ömer Çelik, Deputy Chairman of the ruling Justice and Ruling Party (AKP) Huseyin Çelik, and AKP lawmaker Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, were expected to participate in the meeting.
Almost within an hour of Davutoğlu delivering his statement, the Foreign Ministry released a written statement expressing its concern and reiterating its firm support for the people of Egypt.
“It is not possible for any democratic country to understand and accept removal of an elected president from office through non-election means. In Egypt too, we expect the necessary respect to be shown to the elected President Morsi in this new period,” the statement read. The ministry also urged for free and fair elections to be held “as soon as possible,” thus “reinstalling democracy.” It also stated that for the success of the democratization process that was initiated with the Jan. 25 revolution, all sides must act with “common sense” and respect the rule of law. “We hope Egypt will resume a civilian administration that takes its power from constitutional legitimacy and that is respectful for of human rights and fundamental freedoms,” the statement read.
Deputy PM urges ‘return to democracy’
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also said the military intervention did not reflect the people’s will and urged the country to “return to democracy.”
“The power change in Egypt was not a result of the will of the people. The change was not in compliance with democracy and law,” Bozdağ said in Ankara. “In all democratic countries, elections are the only way to come to power,” he said.
“Everyone ... who believes in democracy should naturally oppose the way this power change happened because a situation that cannot be accepted by democratic people has emerged in Egypt,” said Bozdağ.