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Middle East
Turkish PM backs Egypt protesters
Erdogan urges Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to "lend an ear to the people's cries" and herald a new era of reform.
Last Modified: 01 Feb 2011 12:09 GMT

Turkey has finally broken its silence over the Egyptian crisis after major newspapers criticised the government for its inexplicable silence on the issue.

Addressing members of his AKP party in parliament, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish Prime Minister, has thrown his weight completely behind the protesters in Egypt.

Erdogan appealed to Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian president: "You have to listen to the wishes of the people in order to create security and stability. First you must take steps that are good for Egypt. You must take steps that satisfy the people."

Erdogan said on Tuesday that he was putting off a visit to the Egyptian capital of Cairo next week, but would go once Egypt returns to normal.

Turkey is hailed as the only democratic country in the Muslim world.

'Reforms needed'

Erdogan called for anti-government protesters to refrain from violence and protect the country's cultural heritage. "Everyone has the right to fight for freedom, but without violence,” said the Turkish PM.

"You must not forget that the people who oppose you are still human, still your brothers."

He also talked about political reforms in the Middle East. “Our greatest wish in Egypt and Tunisia is that reforms are implemented as soon as possible, but also that peace and security are established,” said Erdogan.

He also underlined Turkey’s priorities towards supporting democratic cause. He said: "I spoke to president Barack Obama. He found it important to hear Turkey's view as a democratic country in the region."

Iran sees 'Islamic Middle East'

Also supporting Egyptian protesters is the government of Iran.

Ali Akbar Salehi, the Foreign Minister, said Iran will offer its support to the protesters in Egypt.

"On our part we are going along with the freedom seekers of the world and support the uprising of the great nation of Egypt. We sympathise with those injured and killed" in the protests, he said.

Iran said on Tuesday the uprising in Egypt will help create an Islamic Middle East but accused US officials of interfering in the "freedom seeking" movement which has rocked the Arab nation.

Salehi, who was officially endorsed by the Iranian parliament on Sunday as foreign minister, said the uprising in Egypt "showed the need for a change in the region and the end of unpopular regimes."

"The people of Tunisia and Egypt prove that the time of controlling regimes by world arrogance (the West) has ended and people are trying to have their own self-determination," said Salehi, who also oversees Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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