Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan today came out with a strong statement of support for the Egyptian protesters, urging President Hosni Mubarak to take heed of their demands, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"It is our greatest wish to see that both the people and the government act with a similar sense of responsibility and with a dignity that befits the peoples of the region, to shoulder a change that will satisfy all sectors in Egypt, and that will carry the freedoms and democracy to the highest standards," Mr. Erdogan said. "Turkey will continue to remain on the side of the brotherly peoples of Egypt and Tunisia, and to share their sorrow, joy, and hopes."
"I am saying this clearly: You must be the first to take a step for Egypt's peace, security, and stability," Erdogan said, addressing the Egyptian president during a speech in Ankara at the Turkish parliament.
Turkey could benefit from the power vacuum that is developing as the region’s autocracies become increasingly shaky. The Journal reported that "Turkey’s officials are watching Egypt’s political crisis with a mixture of anxiety and relish, worried about economic backlash but poised for more diplomatic influence as Turkey could become a replacement model for the region’s crumbling autocracies."
Indeed, in an op-ed for Newsweek this month, Erdogan declared: "Turkey has been an active player in all the major areas of global politics and we do not intend to surrender this momentum."