Turkey has raised its voice for Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak to step aside, as it tries to burnish its credentials as the region’s 'model' democratic, modern, and Islam-leaning state.
After days of official silence as violence first began raging across Egypt – and a chorus of complaints in the Turkish media that the ruling party’s ambitions of regional leadership were proving shallow – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has pulled out the stops.
Mr. Mubarak’s promise not to seek another term in elections was not enough.
“People expect Mubarak to take a much different step,” Mr. Erdogan said on Wednesday, during a visit to Kyrgyzstan. “This is the expectation of the people…. The current administration [of Mubarak] fails to give confidence for beginning an atmosphere of democracy within a short period of time.”
Turkey has increasingly flexed its regional diplomatic muscle under the leadership of Erdogan’s Islam-leaning Justice and Development Party (AKP). Some have referred to Turkey’s robust foreign policy as “neo-Ottomanism.”
Though Turkey has witnessed four military coups since 1960 – the latest, in 1997, pushed from power the overtly Islamist Welfare Party, the precursor to the more moderate AKP – Turkey’s democratic development is seen as a worthy example by some activists from Tunis to Cairo.
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