Turkey, Hamas urges halt to Egypt ‘massacre’

Turkey, Hamas urges halt to Egypt ‘massacre’
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Turkey, Hamas urges halt to Egypt ‘massacre’
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Updated 18 August 2013

Turkey, Hamas urges halt to Egypt ‘massacre’

Turkey, Hamas urges halt to Egypt ‘massacre’

ISTANBUL: Turkey called on the UN Security Council and Arab League on Wednesday to take immediate steps to stop a “massacre” in Egypt, saying international silence had paved the way for the Egyptian authorities’ violent crackdown.
“The international community, especially the UN Security Council and Arab League, must act immediately to stop this massacre,” Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s office said in a statement.
“An armed intervention against civilian people who stage protests is unacceptable, regardless of its justification,” President Abdullah Gul also said in televised remarks, voicing fears Egypt’s crisis could deteriorate into a situation similar to the conflict in neighboring Syria.
“I’m afraid Egypt is heading into inextricable chaos, ” he warned.
The Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, which rules Gaza, also condemned the crackdownas a “terrible massacre.”
“Hamas condemns the terrible massacre in Nahda square and at Rabaa Al-Adawiyya, and we call for an end to the bloodshed and to excesses against peaceful demonstrators,” its spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.
Security forces moved in Wednesday on two huge Cairo protest camps set up by follower of ousted President Muhammad Mursi, launching an operation that quickly turned into a bloodbath with dozens of people dead.
“It’s clearly seen that the international community’s support for the military coup and its silence to previous massacres ... has encouraged the current administration for today’s intervention,” Erdogan’s office said.
Mursi, Egypt’s first elected president, was overthrown by the military on July 3 with popular backing.
Qatar also condemned the attacks. State news agency QNA quoted a foreign ministry official as urging Egyptian authorities to “refrain from the security option in dealing with peaceful protests, and to preserve the lives of Egyptians at protest sites.”
Turkey and Qatar had strongly backed Mursi’s Brotherhood government.
Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), which had developed friendly ties with Mursi and his Muslim Brotherhood, has described the toppling of Mursi as a “coup” and said he was the only legitimate president.
Turkey’s stance has infuriated Egypt’s interim government which last month voiced “strong resentment” at Erdogan’s comments backing the ousted Islamist leader.

Britain, Germany seek restraint
London also condemned the use of force by Egyptian police and called for restraint from security forces. Berlin urged both sides to renounce violence and return to the peace table.
“I am deeply concerned at the escalating violence and unrest in Egypt,” Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said in a statement. “I condemn the use of force in clearing protests and call on the security forces to act with restraint.”
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: “We call on all political forces to return immediately to negotiations and avert an escalation of violence. All further bloodshed must be prevented.”
“We urge the interim government and the Egyptian authorities to allow peaceful protests and at the same time we expect from the other forces that they distance themselves from violence, do not call for violence and do not use violence,” he said.
Speaking of a “very dangerous situation,” Westerwelle said Berlin had conveyed this “clear expectation to the Egyptian side” directly.
He also urged Germans to respect fresh travel warnings from his ministry, in particular to avoid public protests.

Al-Azhar distances itself from crackdown
Egypt’s Al-Azhar, Sunni Islam’s main seat of learning, distanced itself from the crackdown.
“Al-Azhar stresses to all Egyptians that it did not know about the methods used for the dispersal of the protests except through media channels,” Grand Imam Ahmed Al-Tayyeb said in a televised statement.
Tayyeb condemned any use of violence and called on all sides to “exercise self-restraint and take into account the interests of the nation.”
“The use of violence has never been an alternative to a political solution,” he said.
Tayyeb reiterated his call for a negotiated solution to the crisis pitting Mursi’s supporters and the army-installed leadership that has paralyzed the country.
The prestigious institution had infuriated Mursi’s Mulsim Brotherhood by siding with the military over the Islamist president’s ouster on July 3.
The Egyptian government urged supporters of Mursi to “listen to the voice of reason” and halt violence on Wednesday, praising the security forces for showing self restraint while breaking up their protest camps in Cairo.
In a statement, the government said it would press ahead with implementing an army-backed political transition plan in “a way that strives not to exclude any party from participation.”
It urged the protesters not to resist the authorities, adding that Muslim Brotherhood leaders must stop inciting violence.
“The government holds these leaders fully responsible for any spilt blood, and for all the rioting and violence going on,” the statement added.