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Peace at home, peace in the world

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Press Statement by H.E. Mr. Ahmet Davutoglu, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Turkey on the Latest Developments in Egypt, 4 July 2013, Istanbul

Distinguished Members of the Press,

As a consequence of the developments in Egypt, after a consultation with our Prime Minister, H.E. Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan I interrupted the work I had been carrying out in Southeast Asia in the framework of the ASEAN Summit and returned to Istanbul this morning. Today, we will hold an assessment meeting under the chairmanship of our Prime Minister at 16.00 o’clock. At this stage, I would like to share with you our views on the developments. Yesterday, I had comprehensive conversations with many Foreign Ministers. We have exerted efforts in order to reach a certain point in the process. A little while ago, I had a talk with Egyptian Foreign Minister Kamil Amr, on his request and we assessed the situation. I had the opportunity to obtain direct information from him on the latest developments.

Above all, I would like to express that Turkey’s attitude towards the demands of the brotherly peoples of the Middle East have been based on universal principles and a long-term strategic vision since Abu Azizi set himself on fire and started the Jasmine Revolution in Tunisia sparking the Arab revolutions in the Middle East. As a universal principle, we have supported the demands of the brotherly peoples of the Middle East for a democracy protecting human dignity and which is based on the principles of the rule of law and open and transparent elections. These demands have been supported by Turkey regardless of the segments of the population they stem from and we will continue to support them. We have never discriminated against any country, any ethnicity or any sect, and we never will.

Our strategic vision is based on the belief that the strong foundation of legitimacy to be built by political structures based on public support and being at peace with their people will establish a basin of permanent stability, peace and prosperity in our region. Our goal for the final stage is to ensure that such a basin of peace is established in the Middle East. Our belief that this can only be achieved by the regimes which are at peace with their people constitutes the core of our strategic vision.

On this basis, we strongly supported the 25th January Revolution launched by the friendly and brotherly people of Egypt in this direction. Our support is a clear manifestation of our belief in the deep culture, historical accumulation, knowledge and wide experience of the friendly and brotherly people of Egypt.

It is widely known that Egypt is in a central position in the Arab and Islamic world. Egypt has been a source of inspiration for the Arab and Islamic world throughout history with its depth of civilization, its cultural wealth, its social vibrancy and its state tradition and is a country which has constituted one of the most fundamental axes of our common culture.

Egypt is one of the main actors not only of regional peace but also of global peace. Therefore the January 25th Revolution, which is an outcome of the pursuit of freedom, justice and democracy, has been a source of enthusiasm not only in our region but in the entire world. Thus, everyone should exert efforts towards improving and protecting the democratic process that started with the January 25th Revolution.

In the past two years, we, the Republic of Turkey, have attached great importance to the political stability, social peace and economic development of Egypt with which we have strategic relations, and have used every means available to this end. The High Level Strategic Cooperation Council that we have founded, the agreements and memoranda that we have signed, the sharing of our experience, our economic contributions were all required by the eternal brotherhood that we proudly share with Egypt.

The recent incidents have deeply saddened us all. During some clashes that occurred outside the groups making peaceful demonstrations, some thirty Egyptians lost their lives and many others were wounded. We wish God's mercy upon those who lost their lives and a speedy recovery to the wounded.

The developments in the last two years have once again clearly shown and confirmed how important democratic processes and functioning institutions are. The people of Egypt have held elections and have chosen their President by using their democratic will. These are the greatest democratic achievements for the people of Egypt. Opposition groups’ expressing their concerns and making peaceful demonstrations are one of the fundamental principles of democracy. Voicing of legitimate demands within the framework of democratic rules are also a requirement of a functioning democracy.

At this point, the discharge of democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi through the intervention of the army is extremely worrying with regard to the achievements of the Egyptian Revolution and democracy. And therefore we consider this issue with the utmost care.

The interruption of democratic processes will be a loss for all the people of Egypt. It will also be the loss of all those who exert efforts for regional and global peace.

In democracies, problems are settled within the inherent rules of democracy. The leaders who reflect the will of the people and take office through transparent elections can only and exclusively be unseated through elections, in other words by the will of the people. No matter what the reason is, overthrowing a Government which has taken office through democratic elections by illegitimate ways and, what is more, by a military coup is unacceptable.

A policy of national consensus is only possible with the contribution and participation of democratic institutions and actors, the opposition and civil society.

This intervention should not overshadow the historic acquisitions of the 25th January Egyptian Revolution. The fight of the people of Egypt for justice, freedom, democracy and welfare should be realized through the work of democratic institutions and mechanisms.

In the present situation, it is necessary that the democratic institutions in Egypt take action without delay and that the environment of chaos and unrest in the country be prevented.

It is imperative that free and fair elections be held as soon as possible and democratic mechanisms be operated for the political stability and social peace of Egypt.

It is vital for Egyptian democracy that all political actors participate in the elections without any restrictions and discrimination. In this process, all political actors must be able to prepare for and participate in the elections without coercion of any kind.

It is unacceptable that politicians, including President Morsi and Prime Minister Hisham Kandil have been arrested or are being kept under house arrest arbitrarily following the intervention yesterday. The release of detained leaders without delay is of particular importance for the national reconciliation as well. Exposing an elected President and other officials to such treatment is unacceptable in any democratic culture. We expect the transition government to act with utmost sensitivity on this issue.

All sides should stay away from all forms of violence and confrontation and be vigilant against any kind of provocation and subversion, as various circles that have interests in Egypt, and in the region through Egypt may attempt to foment the chaos.

Turkey is supporting and will continue to support the people of Egypt and its process of democratization as a whole, not any group or section in Egypt. Turkey’s main concern and desire is that Egypt will overcome this crisis with a new move towards democratization, protect its political stability and preserve its social peace.

Our message to the friendly and brotherly people of Egypt is clear.

The 25th of January Revolution of is the first great revolution of the 21st Century. Protecting the achievements of this revolution should be the main priority for all Egyptians from all segments. It is essential for all Egyptians, for the peoples of the region and for the international community to exert every effort in order to preserve the achievements of the 25th of January Revolution, not only for Egypt but also for the future of the region.

We completely reject all views claiming that the Arab Spring turned into the Arab Winter, that Arabs or Muslims cannot be ruled by democracy and that they do not deserve it.

Each people must have the right to choose their own ruler of their own free will. The first and most irrevocable condition of legitimacy is to provide an environment where the will of the people will emerge freely and to take steps in this direction. And the basic tools to ensure this environment are elections and the support of the people.
As to elected governments, it is essential that they exercise their executive power in a way to respect constitutional legitimacy and the rule of law.

These ideas and principles are essential in that they should hold not only for the situation in Egypt but for all countries, in the light of our own democratic experience,

Egypt, with its people is Turkey's long-time friend and will remain an eternal friend. We embrace all segments of the people of Egypt. The choice of the Egyptian people has been, and will be our choice. Whatever the people of Egypt choses, that choice will become the fundamental principle shaping our own policies. However, the real question that follows is whether the choice of the Egyptian people will be allowed to emerge freely and whether free and fair elections will be held in this country without delay. The necessary procedure should be undertaken and power should be promptly transferred to elected actors. The most fundamental principle to be followed in the process from now on is for elected authorities who take their support from the people and exclusively from the people to take over government.

Turkey will continue to stand by Egypt and its people eternally as it has done until now and will take every step needed for the preservation of the achievements of the 25th January Revolution. We will encourage the international community and together, we will exert every effort to uphold these achievements.

If needed, statements may be made again following the meeting at 4 p.m. today with H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Turkey. Yet, as a matter of principle, we felt the necessity to inform the public opinion of Turkey, Egypt, the region and the world of these concerns.

Thank you.