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Turkey calls for constitutional democracy in Egypt

Turkey urges the Egyptian military to pave the way for elections leading the country towards a constitutional democracy

Reuters , Saturday 12 Feb 2011
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Turkey urged Egypt's military to pave the way for elections so that a new government can form a constitutional democracy following President Hosni Mubarak's resignation on Friday after nearly three decades in power.

"Since the start of the mass demonstrations in Egypt, Turkey has supported the Egyptian public's legitimate demands for democracy and freedom; moreover it has made a call for a peaceful transition to a pluralist and participatory regime based on human rights," a statement issued by Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan's press office on Saturday said.

"We hope that Egypt's Military High Council will act with common sense and hand over its duty to the new governemnt to be formed as a result of a free and fair election process, and eventually Egypt will proceed to a constitutional democracy," said the statement, reported by state-run Anatolian news agency.

Though Turkey is a member of the Western NATO alliance, Erdogan has gained considerable clout in the Middle East through his vehement condemnations of Israel after its offensive in the Gaza Strip in 2008, which heralded a breakdown in Turkey's friendship with Israel.

Turkey, as a relatively stable state with a secular constitution, vibrant economy and conservative, pragmatic government led by former Islamists, is often cited as a model Muslim democracy in the region.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, speaking in the Georgian city of Batumi at the start of an official visit, said Mubarak's resignation was an historic development for the Arab world and the region.

He said the onus now lay with the military to ensure stability and review the election law to allow active participation by political parties.

"Firstly, continuity of the state and public order should be secured. Secondly, people's demands should be met and a stable and lasting democracy should be built in Egypt through evolution. Thirdly, a transparent road map that the people can follow closely together with the international community should be announced," Davutoglu was quoted as saying by Anatolian.

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