Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on February 1 joined a growing chorus of critics taking aim at embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Given Turkey’s rising influence in the Muslim world, Erdogan’s words seemed set to catalyze Egyptian protesters. His comments also underscored a looming democratization dilemma for Ankara.
"I have a very sincere piece of advice for ... Hosni Mubarak," Erdogan told deputies and party supporters in Ankara, at the same time hundreds of thousands of protesters took to the streets of Cairo to demand political change in Egypt. "No government can survive against the will of its people. The era of governments persisting on pressure and repression is over ... All of us are mortals, transient things. All of us will die and will be judged on what we have done. Our resting place as Muslims is two square meters of earth."
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Nicolas Birch specializes in Turkey, Iran and the Middle East.