Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan yesterday re-inaugurated the Turkish Culture Centre in Giza, and addressed a group of young Egyptian activists before departing Cairo and continuing his tour of North Africa, including Tunisia and Libya.
Following the ceremony, Erdogan addressed youth activists of the UFUQ (Horizon) initiative. He told them about the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the meaning of the party’s name and its experience in local council elections.
The AKP leader mentioned the hardships the party had faced and how important women and youth were to the party’s success.
Erdogan revealed that the 12 agreements he signed with the Egyptian government will continue beyond parliamentary elections in November 2011.
Discussing Egypt-Turkish relations, he said: “Egypt and Turkey are the most important and leading countries in the eastern Mediterranean” and are “one hand.”
“Hand in hand Egypt and Turkey will silence Israel, which wants to control the east of the Mediterranean.”
At the end of the last speech of his Cairo visit, the Turkish prime minister advised political groups in Egypt not to be divided and to have common goals, adding that the main threats faced by any country are corruption, poverty and restrictions on freedom of expression.
The UFUQ was launched after the Egyptian Revolution to increase cooperation between Egyptian and Turkish youth. The Egyptian side includes independents, liberals and 6 April youth activists as well as Muslim Brotherhood youth. The Egyptian wing of the UFUQ honoured Erdogan after his speech and said it had presented a list of future projects with its Turkish counterparts to the Turkish ambassador in Cairo, Hussein Awani.
Seven Turkish ministers, including minister of foreign affairs, Ahmet Davutoğlu, attended the event, along with Erdogan’s wife and his daughter Somaia who spoke with young activists. A group of AKP youth attended the event, as well as prominent activists Asama Mahfouz and Ahmed Maher, and blogger Mohamed El-Dahshan.
Due to time constraints activists were unable to ask Erdogan questions as they had when an Egyptian delegation visited to Turkey earlier this year.
During Erdogan’s visit there was a huge online debate on whether the Turkish prime minister should be received as a hero or not due to the Kurdish issue, his views on secularism and Islamism.