Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said Tuesday that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak should listen to the demands of his people, in an address to his Islamic-oriented AK party in the Turkish parliament.
Erdogan's comments came on the cusp of the much anticipated "million man march", a protest due to take place later in the day Tuesday in Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark a week of anti-government demonstrations in Egypt.
Demonstrations and violent riots have continued in Egypt for seven straight days, with protesters refusing to leave the streets until Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak leaves the government.
"Listen to people's outcries and extremely humanistic demands," Erdogan said in the televised address to members of the ruling AK Party. "Meet the freedom demands of people without a doubt."
Erdogan, whose country is often held up as a model for democracy in Muslim nations, went on to say the solution to political problems lay in the ballot box.
Turkey's diplomatic clout in the Middle East has risen in the past few years, as its past friendship with Israel has dwindled, particularly after Israeli naval commanders boarded the Mavi Marmara, the flagship of the Turkish-sponsored Gaza-bound aid flotilla, on May 31, 2010. The activists on board the boat resisted, and nine people were killed.
Last month, Turkey rejected Israel's probe into the incident, led by the Turkel Commission, that concluded that the IDF soldiers acted in self-defense when they killed nine Turkish citizens on board the ship.
According to Erdogan, the report had "no value or credibility" and Turkey's own panel of inquiry had concluded that Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip and its raid on the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla were in violation of international law.
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