Turkey wants EU sanctions on Egypt after Morsi verdict
AA PhotoTurkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has called on the international community and the European Union to impose sanctions on Egypt after the death penalty given to former President Mohamed Morsi, blasting them for remaining silent toward Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi.
“Hey, Europe! Hey, West! Wasn’t the death penalty prohibited there? So why are you silent? Why do you side with Sisi? I call on the entire world, international institutions: Why don’t you impose sanctions?” Erdoğan said on May 17 during a public rally in the Central Anatolian town of Kayseri.
“You were attacking us during the Gezi protests with all your media, because the real issue was something different: To weaken Turkey. But they failed. They thought we would collapse economically. But they were defeated,” he added.
“What has been done against Morsi and his friends is not acceptable. The world is in self-denial by keeping silent. If you say ‘democracy, election,’ you should see that this verdict is a sentence given to elections, to democracy, and to the national will,” Erdoğan said.
Like Erdoğan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and other top government officials strongly condemned the death penalties meted out to Morsi and 105 other members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.
“No matter how much they want to revive the [Hosni] Mubarak era, it is impossible to go back now,” Davutoğlu said in a televised interview late on May 16.
He also accused those who “broke the back of democracy in Egypt” of being responsible for all sectarian clashes that have now appeared in the Middle East.
“The democratic trend was replaced by sectarian clashes and efforts [were made] to return to old regimes after the ousting of President Mohamed Morsi in 2013,” Davutoğlu said.
The verdict against Morsi will not final until June 2. All capital sentences are referred to Egypt’s top religious authority, the Grand Mufti, for a non-binding opinion, and are also subject to legal appeal.
Erdoğan makes analogy with Morsi
Along with his criticism of the international community, President Erdoğan also linked this incident to Turkish domestic politics ahead of the June 7 general election.
“Morsi, if executed – God willing, he won’t be - will reach the rank of martyrdom in his fight against terror. If I end up like him, I believe my God will give me this rank too,” he said.
Erdoğan also slammed the headline chosen to report the Morsi verdict by the Turkish Hürriyet website belonging to the Doğan Media Group, which read: “The world is in shock. Execution for president chosen with 52 percent.” Erdoğan was elected to the presidency with 52 percent of votes in 2014, while Morsi also won 52 percent of votes when he was elected as president in 2012.
“Hey, Doğan Group! I normally don’t even give you the time of day. You waste life with fear. You should know that when we set out on this road, we did so wearing our burial shrouds. Our death will be honorable, as is Morsi’s death penalty,” Erdoğan said.
Davutoğlu also touched on the same issue on May 16. “What do they mean? If they mean [to refer to] our President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who became president with 52 percent of the vote, they should know that no president or prime minister will be sent to gallows again on this soils,” he said.
US ‘deeply concerned’ over the verdict
Meanwhile, the United States said it was “deeply concerned” about the decision to execute Morsi, a State Department official said on May 17, following condemnations from Amnesty International.
“We are deeply concerned by yet another mass death sentence handed down by an Egyptian court to more than 100 defendants, including former President Morsi,” the State Department official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“We have consistently spoken out against the practice of mass trials and sentences, which are conducted in a manner that is inconsistent with Egypt’s international obligations and the rule of law,” he added, while also noting that Saturday’s death sentence ruling was “preliminary.”
Egypt responds to criticism
The Egyptian government on May 17 expressed unequivocal rejection of all “inappropriate” comments on the country’s court rulings, describing them as an unacceptable interference in the country’s internal affairs.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying it had “followed with great resentment the reactions of some countries and international organizations towards the decisions of the criminal court to refer the defendants in the ‘espionage’ and ‘Wadi El-Natrun prison escape’ cases to the Mufti for an opinion.”
“The Foreign Ministry reiterates that it is inappropriate to comment on the decisions of the Egyptian judiciary, since such comments constitute unacceptable interference in the internal affairs of the country,” the ministry added.