Erdoğan talks to Morsi ahead of key decision

December 09, 2012, Sunday/ 16:06:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke with Egyptian President Mohammed morsi over the phone on Saturday evening right before Morsi's cancelation of a decree that gave him sweeping powers and sparked violent unrest in Egypt.

Morsi scrapped his decree, which gave him expanded powers and shielded him from judicial review, following talks on Saturday at the presidential palace that ran into the night. Although he annulled the decree, he did not postpone a referendum on a new constitution set for Dec. 15 as his opponents had demanded.

Sources close to the Turkish Prime Ministry told Today's Zaman that Erdoğan's conversation with Morsi, which offered the president dialogue with the opposition and called for moderation when dealing with the tension in the country, may have had an effect on Morsi's cancelation of the eventful decree.

“Our prime minister has invited Morsi for dialogue with his opponents. He reminded him that the escalation of the tension between the two sides [pro-regime and the opposition] would not be positive for the future of Egypt. He noted that dialogue channels with opposition groups always have to be open,” the sources claimed.

Even though the prime minister did not mention canceling the decree openly in the conversation, the sources claimed that Erdoğan's conversation pushing for dialogue and democracy would certainly have had an effect on Morsi's recent decision.

During the conversation, Erdoğan also told Morsi that Turkey has been following developments in Egypt and that the country could overcome its current problems by drawing on its profound experience. Morsi informed Erdoğan about the recent situation in his country.

Anti-Morsi opposition groups are still staging protests around Morsi's official palace, where clashes with his supporters killed seven people and wounded 350 last week.

Commenting on the widespread protests against President Morsi, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said: “Such processes start as a big wave and then you have smaller turbulences. The Egyptian revolution and Tahrir Square [protests] were the big wave. Now this wave is trying to find its balance,” calling the new protests “steps in the direction of the maturity of the Egyptian democracy.”

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