Turkey’s Erdo?an blasts EU for Egypt, Syria massacres

Recep Tayyip Erdo?an {Reuters]

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an, an outspoken supporter of Egypt's ousted President Mohamed Morsi, lashed out at the European Union for remaining idle despite massacres in Egypt, Syria and the Palestinian territories. 

At a press conference held at Ankara airport before his departure for Turkmenistan yesterday (15 August), Erdo?an said democracy throughout the world would be called into question if the West failed to take serious steps.

"You have ignored [the Palestinian territories], you have ignored Syria and still do," Erdo?an said, adding: "At this stage what right do you have to speak of democracy, of universal values, of human rights and freedoms?"

At least 578 people were killed and thousands wounded on Wednesday (14 August) when security forces cleared Muslim Brotherhood protest camps.

>> Read: EU condemns violence in Egypt, deplores loss of lives

Erdo?an called Wednesday's incidents a massacre and said they had resulted from the 3 July military coup (see background).

"Those who remain silent and indifferent to the massacre in Egypt, are among the culprits," the Prime Minister said, according to Turkish press reports.

He urged the Western world to react against the bloodiest massacre in Egypt since Morsi was overthrown.

"Coup makers massacred those who wanted their votes to count in a democracy. The West never said that was a coup although they were confessing it was a coup in our private talks," Erdo?an said.

"Those who resisted against the military coup in Egypt, did not resort to violence, did not use weapons […] The Egyptian people will gain their rights sooner or later. One day those pharaohs will face a Moses who will end the tyranny," he said.

Erdogan's rule has been marked by his efforts to garner Turkey diplomatic clout in the Middle East. But he was severely criticised by the West for the handling of recent protests in Turkey that left several dead and thousands injured.

>> Read: Turkish government rages at EU criticism

Senior European Union diplomats will meet in Brussels on 19 August to assess the situation in Egypt and possible EU action, a spokesman for EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton told Reuters yesterday.

The diplomats will discuss convening EU foreign ministers, but no decision on when ministers might meet has been taken.

"In the meantime, the High Representative (Ashton) is in touch with colleagues from the EU and international community," the spokesman said.

Mohamed Morsi became Egypt's first freely elected leader in June 2012, but failed to tackle a deep economic malaise and worried many Egyptians with apparent efforts to tighten Islamist rule.

Liberals and young Egyptians staged huge rallies demanding his resignation. On 3 July he was toppled by the army. The authorities have responded with violence to protests by his supporter from the Muslim Brotherhood.

Since Morsi was deposed, Gulf Arab states have pledged $12 billion in aid, buying the interim government valuable time to try to put its finances back in order.

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