Turkey showed support for Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi on Wednesday, saying hours before an army deadline for the embattled leader to meet his opponents’ demands that the Egyptian people and the administration are strong enough to solve the current crisis.

In a statement issued by the Turkish Foreign Ministry, Ankara said it believed that the Egyptian people and administration could work within the principles of democracy to overcome the crisis that has swept the country since Sunday.

Morsi’s opponents, comprising mostly liberal and secular groups, demanded the resignation of the Islamist leader, who rose to power only a year ago after a popular uprising that began on Jan. 25, 2010, removed longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak.

As thousands poured into Egypt’s streets, the powerful army, in a move that some are interpreting as a coup, gave politicians 48 hours to answer the protesters’ demands and warning that if the demands are not met the military could offer its own roadmap for the country’s future.

Although the demonstrators hailed the army’s ultimatum, they didn’t like the idea of holding talks with the Islamist president, branding Morsi as “illegitimate.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, a strong ally of Morsi, has not commented on the situation the Egyptian leader is facing. As a sign of warm relations, Morsi attended a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) congress in 2012 where he praised Turkey for its democratic achievements under the AK Party government, which he called a source of inspiration for the region.

In Turkey’s first official statement on the issue, the Foreign Ministry said: “It is a global reality that those who came to power through elections can only leave office through elections.”

The statement added that respecting the will of the Egyptian people while maintaining constitutional legitimacy will strengthen the democratic system in Egypt.

“For Turkey, the stability and security of our brother Egypt is of utmost importance for both our country and the region. The Egyptian revolution, also known as Jan. 25 Revolution, was an effort to meet the legitimate demands of Egyptians and Turkey supported the honorable free will of the Egyptian people,” the statement said.

The statement also recognized efforts by Egyptians who fought for two years for freedoms, justice, stability and economic development, electing a parliament and president. The statement added that the achievements made over two years and “national consensus policy” will bring Egypt to “luminous and prosperous days.”

Ankara also expressed sorrow over deaths that occurred in clashes between groups with different worldviews. At least 16 people were killed on Wednesday and 200 wounded when gunmen opened fire on Morsi supporters rallying outside Cairo University, state television said.

“Recent incidents should not overshadow the Egyptian revolution and its historical achievements. All sides should try to support the unity and solidarity of Egypt and strengthen democratic institutions, stability and economic development and they should stay away from all kinds of provocations and violence,” the statement said.

source:  Todayszaman