Erdoğan leveled criticism against Western nations for not terming the army intervention a “military coup” and said this doesn’t fit into values of the West. He said all coups, no matter where or against whom they take place, are “bad, inhumane and the enemy of democracy.”
The Egyptian military forced Morsi out on Wednesday after millions of Egyptians turned out for four days of protests. After its top leaders were targeted with arrest warrants, the Muslim Brotherhood hotly rejected an appeal by the military to take part in forming a new regime.
Morsi’s removal follows protests by Egyptians angry over what they see as his efforts to impose control through the Muslim Brotherhood and his failures to deal with the country’s many problems.
The prime minister said he is surprised at the Western reaction to the coup and stated that these nations failed to describe it as a “coup.” “What happened to their democratic ideals? This is a test of sincerity,” Erdoğan said, referring to “double standards.”
Erdoğan was alluding to last month’s criticism of Turkey by the EU after police used heavy-handed methods to quell the protests linked to Gezi Park, adjacent to İstanbul’s famed Taksim Square. For days, Erdoğan criticized the EU for siding with the protesters and blasted a decision by the European Parliament rebuking Ankara for its handling of the unrest.
Erdoğan urged the EU to again read its “EU acquis,” a lengthy charter that governs EU values and norms. However, he hailed the African Union for suspending Egypt’s membership after the army removed Morsi and suspended the constitution.
The prime minister also lashed out at those who call the army intervention “popular” and said the intervention cannot be justified as democratic behavior. He underlined the fact that he is calling what happened in Egypt a “military coup” and not an “intervention.”
Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ also denounced on Friday those who jubilantly celebrated and shed tears of joy for the military coup.
“It is a shameful situation to celebrate the military coup jubilantly and shed tears of happiness,” said Bozdağ as he likened those who welcomed the coup to pro-coup circles who disregarded the national will and the rule of law in Egypt. Bozdağ’s remarks were published on his official Twitter account.
He added that regardless of where and by whom they are done, coups should be rejected and denounced by those who believe in justice, democracy and the national will.
Erdoğan said some supporters of the coup utter phrases such as “Coups are bad, but…” and that they are justifying the coup. He said that there cannot be a “democratic coup,” calling this a paradox. He argued that those “who look at streets and ignore the ballot box cannot display a principled and ethical position.”
Erdoğan’s government has had an aversion to military intervention in politics and since coming to power a decade ago, and has curtailed the powers of the Turkish military, which staged three coups between 1960 and 1980 and forced a democratically elected government out of office in 1997.
The prime minister criticized the Egyptian military without naming it explicitly, saying: “You rule the country for 30-40 years with a single party but then you can’t tolerate a president elected freely. It is against democracy.” He said it is possible that governments make mistakes but the ballot box is the only legitimate way to do away with the governments people don’t want.
Throughout his speech, Erdoğan frequently stressed that a democratically elected leader could only be unseated through elections and harshly criticized those who attempt to justify an army’s intervention based on mistakes by the previous government.
Erdoğan said, “What we have in Egypt is the minority imposing their will on the majority,” and not vice versa.
The prime minister said Turkey fully supported the Jan. 25 revolution, referring to the 18-day mass protests that forced former President Hosni Mubarak’s resignation, and that his country was happy to see Egypt get rid of a “dictator,” referring to Mubarak. But he also expressed concerns that the progress made as a result of the 2011 revolution are being undermined as a result of Wednesday’s coup.
Erdoğan affirmed that the ballot box “is not everything” but slammed those who justify illegal means to overthrow governments based on this idea.
Erdoğan also criticized Western countries for not backing the Egypt’s nascent democracy with financial aid and said only Qatar and Turkey helped Egypt revive its economy.
The government of Qatar, which has provided $7.5 billion in grants and low-interest loans, has been close to the Muslim Brotherhood and may view Morsi’s ouster as a diplomatic setback.
Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood group has long viewed Erdoğan’s government as a success story, mixing a strong economy with Western ties and Islamic piety — and the two had been working toward strengthening ties. Last year, Turkey pledged $2 billion in aid to boost confidence in Egypt’s economy, which was battered by a tourism slump, strikes and protests since the fall of Mubarak in the 2011 uprising.
Erdoğan dismissed claims that Turkey is positioning itself against the current revolution because his government was an ally of Morsi and said they would have display the same position if the coup had been staged against those who were in the opposition demanding Morsi’s resignation.
Erdoğan urged the interim government to embrace all political actors in Egypt during the transition period and expressed “deep concerns” over a wave of arrests of politicians. He said “those who came to power through the coup are planning to put Morsi in prison.”
Morsi has been under detention in an unknown location since Wednesday night, and at least a dozen of his top aides and advisers have been under what is described as “house arrest,” though their locations are also unknown.
Besides the Brotherhood’s top leader, General Guide Mohammed Badie, security officials have also arrested his predecessor, Mahdi Akef, and one of his two deputies, Rashad Bayoumi, as well as Saad el-Katatni, head of the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, and ultraconservative Salafi figure Hazem Abu Ismail, who has a considerable street following.
Authorities have also issued a wanted list for more than 200 Brotherhood members and leaders of other conservative groups. Among them is Khairat el-Shater, another deputy of the general and a man widely considered the most powerful figure in the Brotherhood.
Erdoğan spoke at length on how a tradition of military coups in Turkey put his country into “deep darkness” and how they backfire in the long run despite initial popularity. The prime minister urged Egyptians who are cheering the army’s intervention to carefully and closely take a look at the history of military coups in Turkey.
Every military coup, Erdoğan stressed, took Turkey “10 years back in time.” “Egyptians should read Turkish history well.”