In a move to indicate Turkey’s concerns over the unfolding political turmoil in Egypt following the ousting of that country’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, by the military, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan discussed the crisis in that country with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday.

Erdoğan held a lengthy phone conversation with the UN chief and expressed deep concern over the future of democracy in the North African country, which faces the risks of polarization and a protracted political crisis following the military coup.

Erdoğan had already said that the military coup is “unacceptable” and that the elected government must be changed via the “ballot box,” not by other means including by force, referring to the recent coup in Egypt.

Erdoğan called on both sides to act with common sense. Erdoğan highlighted the need to return to normal politics and restore civilian rule as soon as possible while urging sides to exercise restraint and calm.

Currently, Egypt, the heavyweight in the Middle East, is experiencing critical days as the armed forces ousted Morsi on Wednesday after just a year in power, installing a temporary civilian government, suspending the constitution and calling for new elections. Morsi denounced it as a “full coup” by the military.

After its top leaders were targeted with arrest warrants, the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) 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 MB and his failures to deal with the country’s many problems.

On Friday, Erdoğan strongly criticized Western nations, particularly the European Union, for turning a blind eye to the army intervention in Egypt that overthrew Morsi and put in place an interim technocrat president to lead the country out of the political standoff.

Erdoğan leveled criticism against Western nations for not terming the army intervention a “military coup” and said this doesn’t fit the 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.”

Turkey’s European Union Minister and chief negotiator Egemen Bağış has also criticized EU countries for deliberately downplaying the Egyptian military coup and the suspension of the constitution.

“The European Union cannot name what is already a proper military coup,” he said in a televised interview on private Turkish news broadcaster NTV, saying such an attitude overshadowed the union’s prestige.

Bağış said the coup was not “the right way” to change a president, adding that Egypt’s suspended constitution was the first charter to be approved by Egyptians in the history of the nation.

“There was a president who has been elected by the people. If the citizens were not pleased with him, then the way to make a change should have been via the ballot boxes not a military coup,” added Bağış.

“We face a world that is not calling a military coup what it is. A president who was elected democratically was ousted by the army, and a new one was immediately put in place by the army to take the presidential oath. That is clearly a military coup,” Bağış said.

Bağış urged “immediate consensus” to avoid more loss of life, saying an Egypt lacking a legitimate president would be “too risky not only for the region, but all Muslim countries.”

Bağış said the power of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt was deep seated, adding, “If a Morsi is sent away, another will appear.”

Turkish FM: Egypt’s coup has similarities with Turkey’s 1960, 1980 coups

Comparing the events with the Feb. 28, 1997 military intervention in Turkey, the so-called “post-modern” coup that led to the forced resignation of the conservative Welfare Party (RP) of Necmettin Erbakan, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu stated that the most important issue is legitimacy. “A leader who received the most votes from the people has been proclaimed illegitimate,” Davutoğlu said.

“It has similarities to the May 27 [1960] and Sept. 12 [1980] coups, but just like after Feb. 28, a party and a leader have been pushed out of the political arena,” Davutoğlu said during a televised program on state broadcaster the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation (TRT) on Saturday.

Davutoğlu noted that freedoms are the “key concept” in solving deep-seated problems underlying the recent unrest in Egypt.

“I think the key concept here is freedoms. Every kind of foreign pressure and restrictive attitude would prevent history from finding its natural flow,” maintained Davutoğlu.

Davutoğlu said Morsi was purposely pushed off the legitimate political ground by the army’s seizure of power, which Davutoğlu finds similar to military juntas in Turkey’s democratic experience.

When asked by some of his counterparts during the sidelines of the ASEAN meetings in early July in Singapore whether Turkey takes side in Egypt, Davutoğlu replied that Turkey does not take sides in Egypt and instead adopts a “principled approach” against any interruption of the democratic order.

“If [opposition leader Mohamed] ElBaradei had faced such injustice [instead of Morsi], we would have stood in the same position with regard to our principles,” he said.

Differences of opinion that exist between Turkey and its allies towards the recent events in Egypt would not affect their cooperation on the Syrian crisis, Davutoğlu added.

Davutoğlu said it is important they act on democratic principles not according to ideological arguments.

Meanwhile, Davutoğlu on Saturday had phone talks with US Secretary of State John Kerry and Qatari Foreign Minister Khalid bin Mohammed al-Attiyah to discuss the latest situation in Egypt.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Davutoğlu called his US and Qatari counterparts early on Saturday after violence mounted in Egypt on Friday with clashes between opponents and supporters of ousted President Morsi.

The foreign ministers reportedly discussed measures that would help Egypt overcome the ongoing political turmoil.

Deputy PM slams opposition for ‘insincere’ Egypt coup criticism

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç has stated that main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is not sincere in his criticism of the military coup in Egypt, accusing Kılıçdaroğlu of trying to intimidate the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

“While commenting on the events in Egypt, speaking softly, Kılıçdaroğlu in fact carries a big stick aimed at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Shame. On the one hand condemning halfheartedly the coup, while on the other telling elected governments ‘Beware, you may end like this too’ does not suit the leader of a party that can come into power,” Arınç said.

“We thought that those who were waiting saying, ‘We can’t get rid of them so the military should stage a coup,’ had become well-behaved, but it’s recurring. There are those who see these movements somewhere else and long for it to happen here. Even though their numbers are decreasing,” he added.

Kılıçdaroğlu had said that what happened in Egypt should be “a lesson” to Erdoğan, criticizing him for using religion in politics.

Meanwhile, the chairman of the opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahçeli, slammed Erdoğan for not criticizing the US over its not terming the army intervention a “military coup.”

source: todayszaman