Faruk Çelik, the minister whose portfolio includes the wellbeing of Turks abroad, has said the government in Egypt should heed to demands of its own citizens and strive to be transparent. “In 21st century in which medium of tools for information has so much diversified, you simply cannot keep people under pressure. It is not natural and frankly not sustainable. The society has now attained the power to question its leader in so many different ways” he explained.
Çelik’s comments were recorded on the way to Sudan over Egyptian air space. His rebuke came after a reporter abroad the plane asked what he thinks of warning made by a senior Egyptian official. Egyptian Vice President and intelligence chief Gen. Omar Suleiman warned on Egyptian state television on Thursday against "foreign interference" from "friendly nations," and to insist that Mubarak would not step down before September presidential elections. Çelik responded to that criticism, saying that this is no longer an internal matter of Egypt and Turkey’s stand cannot be considered as an interference into friendly nation’s domestic affairs.
Turkey has evacuated more than 3,000 people from Egypt, mostly Turkish nationals with some third country citizens as well, since late last month when the unrest started that has plunged the country into a turmoil. Foreign Ministry said on Friday there are still Turks living and working in Egypt, attending their businesses and only evacuated those who applied to the embassy and consulates.
Stressing that Turkey considers Egypt as a friendly country, Çelik underlined Ankara would like to see a democratic country and offered Turkey’s help in implementing reforms. He also hinted the fundamental change in Turkish foreign policy from neutral position to pro-active one. “In the past, you would have seen Turkey simply saying ‘we are closely monitoring the situation in Egypt.’ That would be it. But now we are saying more than that. The oppression endured there is not sustainable in 2011.”
In fact Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan kept pressing on Egypt following his landmark remarks before his deputies on Tuesday, asking embattled Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak to step down and allow democracy to flourish. During a state visit to Kyrgyzstan on Wednesday, he commented on Mubarak’s decision to stay in power until September elections, saying, “People expect Mubarak to take a much different step” “This is the expectation of the people. The current [Mubarak] administration fails to give confidence for beginning an atmosphere of democracy within a short period of time” Erdoğan stated.
Turkish President Abdullah Gül also joined chorus of critics of Mubarak regime. He asked Egypt to keep the transition process in Egypt short in line with wishes and longing of the Egyptian nation. Noting that he was not surprised by the recent developments in Muslim countries, Gül stressed if those countries made reforms on their own will, everything would be better and in order. "Unfortunately, people pioneer such reforms if leaders do not, and we are living in an era in which communication is free and technology enables unlimited communication," he added.