Erdogan urges Mubarak to heed people's call for change
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to listen to Egyptians and respond immediately to their demands, because freedom can't be postponed. Addressing Mubarak in a speech to his ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) parliamentary group, Erdogan said, "You should listen to the demands of your people and be conscious of the people and their rightful demands." He added that Egyptians' demands for reform and change should be met without hesitation. "You should take the necessary steps to satisfy the Egyptian people's demands, without giving those with designs on Egypt an opportunity. Demands for freedom can't be postponed or neglected," he said. Erdogan also urged Egyptians to act with dignity and refrain from violence. Erdogan's speech breaks the silence on the part of the Turkish government since the beginning of the protests, first in Tunisia and then in Egypt. Erdogan also argued that countries cannot hope to achieve a better future as long as internal problems remain and national unity is not assured. The AK Party always sides with rights and freedoms and cannot be silent in the face of any injustice, not only in the Middle East but all over the world, said Erdogan. It will continue to stand by its Egyptian and Tunisian cousins and share their joys and sorrows, he said. "Unfortunately, the Middle East has become associated with human rights violations, tears, corruption and blood," said Erdogan. "The people of the Middle East and Arab nations don't deserve this. With its dynamic population, the Middle East has the potential and energy to return to its past heights of civilization. It can be the true pioneer of a new civilization based on open minds and freedom."