Erdoğan called on the Egyptian authorities to pave the way for a democratic transition in the shortest time possible while talking to reporters in İstanbul at the airport before his departure to Hatay to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of a joint dam with Syria on early Sunday. “If this succeeds, people will certainly embrace such a result. But one needs to prepare the grounds for this,” the prime minister said. Erdoğan noted that there should be a trusted authority, such as a transitional administration, to oversee the change. “Achieving this will help everything there,” Erdoğan stressed. Asked about his telephone conversation with US President Barack Obama on Friday, the second in a week, Erdoğan said they agreed on things related to Egypt during their telephone conversation, and urged the Egyptian authorities to heed the democratic demands of their people without delay.
A White House statement said late Friday that Obama spoke to Erdoğan by phone, one in a series of ongoing consultations between the close allies. The statement said that the two leaders discussed the unfolding events in Egypt and their shared commitment to a future that realizes the aspirations of the Egyptian people. “President Obama and Prime Minister Erdoğan agreed that the US and Turkey would continue to consult closely as events unfold in Egypt and on our broader shared agenda,” it said.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu told reporters in Munich on Saturday that Obama and Erdoğan agreed on Friday, during their discussion on Egypt, that the foreign ministers of the two countries would “comprehensively discuss” the turmoil in Egypt on the sidelines of the 47th Munich Security Conference.
Obama first called Erdoğan last Saturday, days after the upheaval in Egypt began and both leaders “have agreed that people’s demands for legitimate and natural democratic rights should be recognized by their leaders,” a Prime Ministry statement said.
“All we want is that democratic will of the Egyptian people regarding their rights and freedoms be addressed,” Erdoğan told reporters on Sunday, stating Turkey’s position on the Egyptian unrest.
Following days of official silence, on Tuesday Erdoğan, the most admired political figure across the Arab world, speaking before his deputies, strongly urged Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, to heed the demands of his people and advance the democratic rights of Egyptians. Mubarak has ruled his country with an iron fist for 30 years.
Erdoğan said on Sunday that addressing people’s demands in Egypt is also extremely important for the prosperity and tranquility of the region. “Stability in Egypt will also affect the region very positively,” he said. Noting that he is following the developments in the region closely and sees the determination of the Egyptian people, Erdoğan said the determination to bring about change is not only on the streets of Cairo but is sweeping other regions, too.
Opposition leaders started holding talks with the Egyptian government on Sunday following 12 days of unceasing protests in several cities across Egypt calling on Mubarak to relinquish power. Starting last Wednesday, allegedly government-orchestrated pro-Mubarak mobs attacked protestors, resulting in more than 100 deaths. The total death toll since the beginning of the protests, Jan. 25, has reached to 300, according to UN estimates. Top officials from Mubarak’s National Democratic Party (NDP), including the president’s son, Gamal Mubarak, have resigned from the party, signaling that the party will not maintain its grip during and after the September elections. Mubarak is insisting on remaining in power until the elections.
Erdoğan attributed all these negative developments to problems related to the current Egyptian administration. He said these protests are not a “limited phenomenon” but are a result of the prevalent discontent among the general public, adding that he hopes the killings and bloodshed will be stopped.
The prime minister also talked on the phone with his Greek counterpart, George Papandreou, largely discussing the recent developments in Egypt, the Prime Ministry Press Office reported on Sunday.