Erdogan calls on Mubarak to heed calls for change

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
February 1, 2011 13:22

Turkish PM said Egyptian president should prevent "groups with dirty aims and dark designs" from taking over the country.

2 minute read.



Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan 311. (photo credit: Associated Press)

Turkey's prime minister has called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to take steps that meet popular demands for change.

Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday Mubarak should act immediately and prevent "exploiters, groups with dirty aims, [and] those sections that have dark designs over Egypt to take the initiative." He did not elaborate.

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Erdogan also called for anti-government protesters to refrain from violence and protect the country's cultural heritage.

The Turkish leader was addressing members of his Islamic-oriented party in Parliament.

Erdogan urged Mubarak to "lend an ear to the people's cries and extremely human demands."

On Monday, the White House asked on Monday for a range of actors, including religious elements, to participate in the more representative Egyptian government the US is calling for.

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“It is clear that increasing democratic representation has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. He stressed he was not weighing in on whether Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should go.

Instead, he called for “meaningful negotiations with a broad cross-section of the Egyptian people, including opposition groups,” to provide greater freedoms as part of the “orderly transition” America supports.

Some Israeli officials expressed concern at what they view as the hypocritical abandonment by the US of a longtime ally once he seemed to be in trouble, with one official saying that while America believes pushing Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak out would lead to a democratic government, the more likely scenario was that this would lead to an Islamist regime even worse on issues like human rights and freedom than Mubarak.

For instance, Deputy Minister for Galilee and Negev Development Ayoub Kara (Likud) told visiting former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, a likely Republican US presidential candidate, that he was “disappointed by Obama’s turning his back” on Mubarak.

“It needs to be understood that if the Egyptian government will fall, the Muslim Brotherhood will take its place, and that will cause even worse problems not only for the Middle East, but for the whole world,” Kara said.

Herb Keinon and Hilary Leila Krieger contributed to this report.


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