Turkey chides US for backing Egypt rulers

Turkey chides US for backing Egypt rulers

Turkey chides US for backing Egypt rulers

Filling the streets of the Egyptian capital, supporters of ousted Islamist President Mohamad Morsi defied warnings from the military and stage march after Friday prayers amid the US support for the military-backed rulers. AA photo

Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ has rebuked U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s for his remarks on Egypt in which he said the military had not taken over but was instead “restoring democracy.”

“Kerry said the Egyptian army is restoring democracy and the government is civilian. Can you believe or laugh at this?” Bozdağ wrote on this Twitter account on Aug. 2.

Kerry said millions of people asked the military to intervene because they were afraid the country would descend into violence. “And the military did not take over, to the best of our judgment, so far. To run the country, there’s a civilian government. In effect, they were restoring democracy,” he said.

“Did the army establish democracy in the U.S. and the EU too? Coups do not build democracy, on the contrary, they demolish [and] massacre [people]. Just like in Egypt,” the deputy prime minister replied.

The Barack Obama administration has refused to call the ouster of President Mohamed Morsi a coup, as such a designation would mean Washington would be forced to cut off $1.3 billion in annual military aid to Egypt.

Kerry’s comments echoed those of the State Department. Last month, State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said “it’s clear that the Egyptian people have spoken” when asked whether Washington still considered Morsi the legitimate president.

“There’s an interim government in place... this is leading the path to democracy, we are hopeful. And we are in touch with a range of actors. But obviously, he is no longer in his acting position,” Psaki said at that time.

Criticism from Brotherhood

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, from which Morsi hails, also criticized Kerry for his remarks. “We totally reject these statements, and we are very disappointed in them,” said Mohamed Ali Bishr, a senior brotherhood leader and a minister in Morsi’s former government.

“The United States is a country that speaks of democracy and human rights and they say something like that. I hope that they rethink their position and correct it,” he told Reuters.

A spokesman for the group also denounced Kerry’s comments. “Is it the job of the army to restore democracy?” asked Gehad al-Haddad in a statement. “Would Secretary Kerry accept Defense Secretary [Chuck] Hagel stepping in and removing Obama if large protests take place in America?”

Meanwhile, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns was scheduled to visit Egypt late Aug. 2, a spokesman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said.

The spokesman, Badr Abdelatty, said Burns would arrive on Aug. 2 evening and meet Egypt’s interim foreign minister, Nabil Fahmy, on Aug. 3. He said it was not known whether Burns would also hold talks with army chief Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. Republican senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain have been also asked by Obama to travel to Egypt next week to urge the military to move ahead on new elections. On the ground, Morsi supporters staged defiant rallies on Aug. 2 amid preparations by the police to disperse their Cairo protest camps.

Demonstrators began their marches after Friday prayers, pouring out of several Cairo mosques and heading toward their key Rabia al-Adawiya site.