Turkish FM Davutoğlu speaks with OIC head over siege at Cairo mosque
ANKARA – Anadolu Agency
Demonstrators who support ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi wait inside al-Fath mosque at Ramses Square in Cairo, Aug. 17. REUTERS photoTurkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu held a phone meeting Aug. 17 with the head of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) in an intense diplomatic push to end a siege at Cairo’s al-Fath Mosque where hundreds of supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi have taken refuge from Egyptian security forces.
Public broadcaster TRT journalist Metin Turan and Anadolu Agency reporter Heba Zakaria are also among the nearly 1,000 people trapped in the mosque following the crackdown a day earlier on “Day of Anger” demonstrations organized by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Davutoğlu urged the OIC’s Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu to intervene to ensure a peaceful end to the siege and the liberation of the pro-Morsi protesters. Both officials stressed the respect for sacred spaces, Anadolu Agency reported.
Davutoğlu also conducted another phone conversation on the issue with his Swedish counterpart, Carl Bildt. "Talked extensively with friend and Turkey FM on the increasingly tragic situation in Egypt. Violence and killing must stop,” Bildt said via Twitter.
“We appeal to everyone to refrain from violence against, from and around the al-Fateh mosque in Cairo now,” he added.
Foreign Ministry issues statement
The Turkish Foreign Ministry also issued a statement expressing concern at the siege. “Respecting sacred spaces, human life and human dignity are among the most basic human, religious and cultural values, and we expect Egyptian authorities to avoid any action that would not comply with these values,” the statement said, adding that Egyptian authorities were responsible for ensuring that the protesters and Turan safely depart from the mosque.
“We call for the siege to be ended without blood being shed. We expect the international community to intervene on this issue,” the statement added.
At least 173 people have been killed across Egypt in the last 24 hours, the interim government said Aug. 17.