icon bookmark-bicon bookmarkicon cameraicon checkicon chevron downicon chevron lefticon chevron righticon chevron upicon closeicon v-compressicon downloadicon editicon v-expandicon fbicon fileicon filtericon flag ruicon full chevron downicon full chevron lefticon full chevron righticon full chevron upicon gpicon insicon mailicon moveicon-musicicon mutedicon nomutedicon okicon v-pauseicon v-playicon searchicon shareicon sign inicon sign upicon stepbackicon stepforicon swipe downicon tagicon tagsicon tgicon trashicon twicon vkicon yticon wticon fm

Erdogan lashes out at EU, UN over Egypt v Turkey unrest reaction

Erdogan lashes out at EU, UN over Egypt v Turkey unrest reaction
Turkish PM Erdogan has criticized the EU for not condemning the violent crackdown on demonstrators in Egypt, which resulted in dozens of deaths, strongly enough. He believes the EU’s stance on less violent Turkish protests was unfairly tough.

At least 72 people were killed and hundreds injured during Saturday’s clashes in Cairo between supporters of the ousted President Morsi and security forces, according to Egypt's Health Ministry officials. A further nine people died in clashes in Alexandria.

Commenting on the bloodshed, the office of the EU foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, issued a statement, which said that she “deeply deplores the loss of life” during the demonstrations and  "calls on all actors to refrain from violence and to respect the principles of peaceful protest."

Still, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at the EU for too soft an approach towards the deaths of Egyptian protestors in comparison with its tough criticism of the use of tear gas by Turkish police to disperse the recent massive anti-government rallies.  

EGYPT: Protesters throw stones during clashes between the Muslim Brotherhood movement's opponents and supporters on April 19, 2013 in central Cairo. (AFP Photo/Mohamed El-Shahed)

"Those who were silent when Egypt's national will was massacred are silent again when people are massacred. What happened to the EU [and] European values, where are those who go around giving lessons in democracy?" Erdogan asked in a speech to a group of businessmen in Istanbul, as cited by Reuters. 

EGYPT: Egyptian supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood rallying in support of deposed president Mohamed Morsi clash with police outside the elite Republican Guards base in Cairo early on July 8, 2013. (AFP Photo)

The EU was not the only target for Erdogan’s sarcasm.

"Where is the United Nations?” he went on to ask.  “Where are those who created a brouhaha when Turkish police, in a completely justified and legitimate way, used water [cannon] and pepper spray now when there is a coup and a massacre in Egypt?” 

Later in the day, US Secretary of State John Kerry said the US urged “an independent and impartial inquiry” into the deadly clashes in Egypt and called on the country’s authorities to “respect the right of peaceful protest.”

In this extremely volatile environment, Egyptian authorities have a moral and legal obligation to respect the right of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression,” Kerry’s statement reads. 

TURKEY: A demonstrator throws a stone during clashes with riot police in Taksim square on June 11, 2013. (AFP Photo/Angelos Tzortzinis)

This is not the first Prime Minister Erdogan has lashed out at the West. Shortly after massive anti-government protests began in Turkey in late May, triggered by the authorities plans to demolish Istanbul’s Gezi Park, the EU and the US condemned forceful methods used by Turkish police to quell the crowds. Back then Erdogan responded by saying neither the EU nor the US had any right to criticize the actions undertaken by Turkish law enforcers.

TURKEY: Riot police use tear gas to disperse protesters at the Gezi park near Taksim square in Istanbul, on June 15, 2013. (AFP Photo/Ozan Kose)

"Those who are trying to teach us lessons, where were they when the Wall Street events in America were unfolding? Tear gas was used, 17 people died, this happened. It happened in the UK, in France, in Germany and to a greater extent in Greece. These protests happen in these countries and they're all EU members," Erdogan said at an EU-Turkey conference in Istanbul on June 7.