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Turkish President Abdullah Gul on 9 August appealed to Egypt’s army-installed government to return the country swiftly to democratic rule and allow all parties to take part in the political process. In an article published in the Financial Times, Gul urged the Egyptian authorities to release the detained former president, Mohamed Morsi, who was overthrown by the army last month. The Turkish head of state also called on all sides to act with restraint and avoid violence. “The Egyptian people have almost been split into two camps, each of which is rallying dangerously against the other. This situation is worrying and unsustainable,” he wrote.
Turkey is an important player in Middle East diplomacy and Gul was adding his voice to number of international calls along similar lines in the wake of Morsi’s overthrow. Egypt’s interim government has promised its own transition plan, leading to new elections in nine months time. But what role Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood would have in this, if any at all, is unclear. Most of its leaders have been jailed. Gul said Turkey had supported the 2011 uprising against strongman Hosni Mubarak and the election that brought Morsi to power. “Unfortunately, the historic step toward democracy failed in less than two years. The coup that ousted Mohamed Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, was a clear derailment of the country’s progress,” he wrote.