ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, an outspoken supporter of Egypt’s ousted President Mohamed Mursi, lashed out at the European Union and others for failing to condemn strongly enough the killing of dozens in Cairo earlier on Saturday.
Security forces shot dead dozens of Mursi supporters on Saturday, days after the army called for a popular mandate to wipe out “violence and terrorism” following its removal of Egypt’s first democratically government on July 3.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, said she “deeply deplores” the deaths and called for a halt in violence.
But Erdogan, who has recently faced large street protests calling for his own government to quit, accused the EU of double standards for questioning the use of police teargas in Turkey but not the shooting deaths of protesters in Cairo.
“Those who were silent when Egypt’s national will was massacred are silent again when people are massacred. What happened to the EU (and) European values, where are those who go around giving lessons in democracy?” Erdogan said in a speech to a group of businessmen in Istanbul in televised comments.
“Where is the United Nations? Where are those who created a brouhaha when Turkish police, in a completely justified and legitimate way, used water (cannon) and pepper spray now when there is a coup and a massacre in Egypt,” he said.
Erdogan’s comments were made before U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, treading a fine line with an Arab ally that receives over $1 billion a year in U.S. military aid, urged Egyptian authorities to respect the right to peaceful protest.
The EU, which Turkey seeks to join, and the United States both criticised the police crackdown on Turkey’s fiercest anti-government protests in decades. Five people died in clashes.
Erdogan’s rule has been marked by his efforts to garner Turkey diplomatic clout in the Middle East.
Reporting by Ayla Jean Yackley; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall