- By Joshua Keating
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy
Nicholas Noe’s MideastWire blog has a translation up of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s speech, delivered on Turkey’s NTV network last night. It’s probably the most forceful and unequivocal statement on the situation in Egypt made by a foreign leader and is well worth a read. Here’s an excerpt:
From here, I would like to make a very sincere suggestion to Egyptian President Mr. Husni Mubarak and caution him: We are human beings. We are mortal. We are not immortal. We will all die and be questioned for what we have done in our lives. As Muslims, we will all end up in two-cubic meter holes. We are all mortals. What is immortal is the legacy we leave behind; what is important is to be remembered with respect; it is to be remembered with benediction. We exist for the people. We fulfil our duties for our people. When the imam comes to us as we die, he will not address us as the president, as the head of state, as the prime minister, or as the minister. I am now talking to the trillionaires: the imam will not address you as trillionaires. He will address us all as simple men or women. What will come with you will only be the shroud. Nothing else. Therefore we must know the value of that shroud; we must listen to the voice of our conscience and to! the voice of our people; we must be ready either for our people’s prayers or for their malediction. Therefore, I say that you must listen, and we must listen, to the people’s outcry, to their extremely humanitarian demands. Meet the people’s desire for change with no hesitation.
I am saying this clearly: You must be the first to take a step for Egypt’s peace, security, and stability, without allowing exploiters, dirty circles, and circles that have dark scenarios over Egypt to take initiative. Take steps that will satisfy the people.
In our world today, freedoms can no longer be postponed or ignored.
As Noe notes, Erdogan’s government has not always exactly lived up to the lofty democratic standards he puts forth, either in its internal politics or in its relations with countries like Iran. But still, Erdogan sees his government taking a regional leadership role, and I certainly suspect that his words will resonate with the crowds in Cairo far more strongly than Obama’s measured statement.