Turkish PM calls for U.N. Security Council to convene on Egypt

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 15, 2013 5:13 AM
Turkish PM calls for U.N. Security Council to convene on Egypt

By Jonathon Burch

ANKARA (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called on Thursday for the U.N. Security Council to convene quickly after what he described as a massacre in Egypt and rounded on Western nations for failing to stop the bloodshed.

Egyptian security forces crushed the protest camps of thousands of supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi on Wednesday, clashes which killed several hundred people and defied Western appeals for restraint.

"Those who remain silent in the face of this massacre are as guilty as those who carried it out. The U.N. Security Council must convene quickly," Erdogan told a news conference in Ankara.

"I am calling on Western countries. You remained silent in Gaza, you remained silent in Syria ... You are still silent on Egypt. So how come you talk about democracy, freedom, global values and human rights," he said.

Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of what it has repeatedly called an "unacceptable coup" after Egypt's military ousted Mursi last month.

Erdogan made no mention of Arab countries, who have remained largely silent over Wednesday's crackdown. Gulf Arab states, which see Egypt as a strategic ally against any threat from non-Arab Iran, celebrated Mursi's departure with palpable relief.

The United States condemned Wednesday's bloody crackdown and urged Egypt's authorities to respect basic human rights, while European leaders called for restraint and a return to dialogue.

But Erdogan, who recently faced street protests calling for his own democratically-elected government to quit, accused the West of double standards in failing to condemn Mursi's ouster.

"Those who ignored this coup, those who could not criticize the coup, and those who even failed to display the honor to call the coup 'a coup' are also responsible for the killing of those innocent children," Erdogan said on Thursday.

The United Nations, the United States and other powers have stopped short of denouncing Mursi's overthrow as a military coup; to do so might trigger automatic sanctions.

But Western allies warned Egypt's military leaders right up to the last minute against using force to crush protest sit-ins by Mursi's supporters, Western diplomats said.

(Additional reporting by Gulsen Solaker; Writing by Nick Tattersall; Editing by Janet Lawrence)