‘My president is Morsi' says Turkish PM Erdoğan

Prime Minister Erdoğan (R) and deposed Egyptian President Morsi pose for cameras during a Justice and Development Party congress in 2012. (Photo: AP)

July 14, 2013, Sunday/ 14:55:00

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has stated that he considers Mohammed Morsi, who was ousted by the military in early July, to be the president of Egypt.

“Currently, my president in Egypt is Morsi because he was elected by the people. Therefore, if we don't consider the situation like this, we would disregard the people of Egypt. Disregarding the will of the Egyptian people means disregarding yourself because in Turkey we respect the will of the people. We would respect the coup regime if they had won at the ballot box,” said Erdoğan at a fast-breaking dinner.

Stating that it is not the duty of the army to govern the country, Erdoğan underlined that the sole role of an army is to protect a country's borders.

“Why is there a ballot box? From the results of the box, a government would emerge through the will of the people and that government would govern the country. That government may be successful or not. If the government stops being successful, then the ballot box will come to the fore. When it comes to the fore, then you can say that the government has failed,” said Erdoğan.

Erdoğan underlined that some foreign countries did not financially support the Morsi government during his one-year presidency; however, the same countries have pledged to provide $16 billion to the coup regime in Egypt.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait have provided a total amount of $12 billion to Egypt following the recent struggles in the country.

Erdoğan, who strongly criticized the Egyptian military for ousting a democratically elected leader, reiterated that Turkey had suffered dire consequences from coups in the past and does not want to see the Egyptian people experience the negative effects of a coup.

“Our heart is beating with the Egyptian people. It is beating with those in Tahrir Square as well as those in Rabaa al-Adawiya Square [a square near the presidential palace in the Egyptian capital where supporters of Morsi stage their gatherings]. I believe that those in Tahrir Square do not know the reality. The moment they learn the reality, they will join their brothers in Adawiya,” said Erdoğan.

Last week, Erdoğan dismissed claims that Turkey is positioning itself against the current revolution because his government was an ally of Morsi. He said that they would have held the same position if the coup had been staged against those demanding Morsi's resignation.

Referring to the Gezi demonstrations, which began at the end of May in protest of government plans for the redevelopment of Gezi Park in İstanbul's Taksim Square and turned to nation-wide anti-government protests, Erdoğan maintained that there the incidents in Egypt and Turkey were not dissimilar.

“The origin of the incidents in both countries is the same. I will declare what that origin is when the time comes. It is saved in our memory cards,” said Erdoğan.

Turkey described the Egyptian army's overthrow of Morsi as an "unacceptable coup," in response to last week's military intervention. This response to the coup in Egypt was seen as the strongest reaction from overseas.

Known for its close relationship with members of Morsi's moderate Islamist party, the Freedom and Justice Party, officials from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) declared their support for Morsi and denounced the overthrow of the Egyptian president, trying to convince other countries to step up pressure on Egypt.

The Turkish prime minister also continued to criticize Western countries for not calling the military intervention in Egypt a “coup.”

Except for Turkey and a few other countries, Erdoğan previously noted, the international community failed to call the “coup” a “coup” and did not endorse the democratic process in the North African country.  

Turkey has also called on the European Union and international institutions, including the UN and the Arab League, and on other countries to step up pressure on Egypt to respect and protect democracy.

In an indication of the strain in diplomatic ties between Egypt and Turkey, Egypt has summoned the Turkish ambassador to the Egyptian Foreign Ministry last week.

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