Turkey reiterates position on Egypt on day of Morsi trial
As Egypt's deposed President Mohammed Morsi stood trial yesterday, Turkey repeated its position about the July 3 military coup, saying that its stance against the coup has been clear from the very beginning.
A senior official from the Turkish Foreign Ministry told Today's Zaman that Turkey has clearly expressed its thoughts on the coup that ousted Egypt's first democratically elected president before and sees no reason to comment on every new development in the Arab country.
Turkey had harshly criticized the coup in Egypt which ousted Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization to which Turkish government officials are ideologically close. Ankara had also lashed out at Western nations for not calling the military intervention a "coup."
"At the end of the day, it is an ongoing trial," the senior Foreign Ministry official said, declining to specifically comment on Morsi's trial.
Morsi, together with 14 Muslim Brotherhood members, stood trial on Monday on charges of inciting murder during clashes last December outside the presidential palace that left at least 10 dead. News reports said Morsi refused to be tried by the court, questioning the trial's legitimacy. Supporters of Morsi chanted the word "illegitimate" during the trial's first session on Monday. The judge adjourned the case until January.
In a statement published later in the day, the Turkish Foreign Ministry called on the Egyptian authorities to release Morsi and all other political prisoners, saying it would be a confidence-building measure that would contribute to dialogue between the sides and lead to political reconciliation.
As a principle, Turkey has always stood by the notion of legitimacy, and has backed administrations relying on popular will and people's support, the statement said.
In this regard, Turkey believes it is of critical importance not only for the reconciliation and peace within Egypt and but also for permanent stability in the region that there must be an inclusive political process over which all sides agree, and moves need to be taken in line with democratic principles and constitutional legitimacy to solve the crisis.
A tit-for-tat spat between Turkish and Egyptian government officials grew after the coup, straining relations between Ankara and Cairo. During Morsi's presidency, Turkey and Egypt had worked to strengthen cooperation between them.
During an address on Sunday, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke about the events in Egypt and said, "We witnessed brother killing brother." He added his thoughts on the four-fingered Rabaa salute, which has become a popular anti-coup symbol in many corners of the world. "It is a sign [saying] 'stop' to massacres and coups," Erdogan added.
In an attempt to prove that Ankara is not categorically standing by the Muslim Brotherhood, whose leaders were imprisoned after the July 3 military coup, Erdogan said Turkey would have supported the rights of those in Tahrir Square if the coup had been staged against them. He said the cause of Egyptians is also the cause of humanity.