Gül says Egypt’s military rulers to meet people’s demands soon

TODAY’S ZAMAN
?STANBUL


The head of the Egyptian Armed Forces Supreme Council, Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, welcomed Turkish President Abdullah Gül at a ceremony in Cairo on Thursday.
Egypt’s military rulers appreciate the desires of the Egyptian people for democracy and have vowed to do their part in a short period of time, President Abdullah Gül said during a visit to Egypt on Thursday.
“I saw that they want to and will enjoy the pride of realization of democracy together with the people of Egypt,” Gül said after talks with Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council that took control in Egypt after the ouster of long-time President Hosni Mubarak. Gül’s visit to Egypt is his first since a popular uprising against Mubarak forced him out of power on Feb. 11. British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier became the first foreign leader to visit Egypt after its revolution later in February. Speaking before his talks with Tantawi, Gül said the military rulers should allow a quick and transparent transition to meet the demands for democracy from the Egyptian people.
“The transition process is the best way to meet the expectations of the people,” Gül told a group of journalists aboard his plane before arriving in Cairo, where he was due to hold talks not only with military leaders but also with political groups. “The transition must be transparent and open and must be satisfactory. If the transition period does not meet the expectations of the people, it won’t be successful. This should not take too long a time,” Gül said.
Gül, who was accompanied by Foreign Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu, met Tantawi and was due to hold talks with political reform campaigner Mohamed ElBaradei and Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa, who has yet to decide whether to run for the Egyptian presidency.
Gül arrived in Cairo as Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq resigned and a former transport minister was picked to appoint a new government after pro-democracy activists demanded a purge of Mubarak’s old guard from the cabinet. Military rulers said they had accepted the resignation of Shafiq and appointed Essam Sharaf in his place.
Shafiq was appointed prime minister by Mubarak in his final days in office before he was ousted. There have since been protests and political pressure for Shafiq to step down. One Shafiq aide said appointing Sharaf prime minister was timed to defuse calls for another mass demonstration on Friday after a first modest reshuffle by Shafiq failed to mollify protesters, who want a clean break with the Mubarak era. “Today, the old regime has finally fallen. We are on the right track,” ElBaradei wrote in a Twitter message.

Turkey, a NATO member country with an overwhelmingly Muslim population, is often held up as a model for Arab countries. Ankara, on the other hand, says it is not a model for other countries as each has its own unique circumstances, but notes that it is ready to assist the transition process in Tunisia and Egypt if requested by these countries to do so.

Gül, speaking before departing for Egypt, said Turkey wants Egypt to emerge stronger out of its transition process and wants the process to be completed in a short time. “We are going to Egypt to share our experiences, exchange our views openly and give our strongest support for the people of Egypt in this process,” Gül told reporters. “We hope this process of transformation in the region will strengthen the regional countries and that a new era of stronger freedoms, democracy and rule of law will be opened for people in this region.”

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an had sided with protesters during Egypt’s 18-day revolt against Mubarak, repeatedly urging the former Egyptian president to heed the protesters’ demands.


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