Turkey’s Gul says Egypt death penalties unbelievable, unacceptable

Speaking at a press conference with his German counterpart, Joachim Gauck, in Ankara, Gul also said such rulings “harm” Egypt’s future as well. “Egypt needs stability, peace and rapid economic development. Therefore, I hope these sentences will not be executed and all the prisoners are released,” he said.

Noting that there is no death penalty in Germany, Gauck also said the decision of the Egyptian court was incomprehensible and “worrying” for EU countries.

Monday’s ruling sentenced 683 members and supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death, a decision that could trigger protests and political violence in Egypt. In a separate case, the same judge also upheld the death penalty for 37 of 529 defendants sentenced in a similar case in March, while he commuted the rest of the sentences to life imprisonment.

In a statement, the Foreign Ministry said the death penalty rulings were in contravention of universal legal principles, including the right to a fair trial and the right to life, and warned that they could harm Egypt’s international reputation. It also called on the international community to raise its voice against these “unacceptable rulings.”

Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek said it was worrying that new death penalties had been added to the existing ones. “In today’s world, death penalties are unacceptable,” he told reporters, adding that Turkey hoped the rulings would not be carried out. “We are a country which has witnessed executions for political reasons. Turkish society has not yet left behind the sufferings caused by those executions,” said Cicek.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arınc urged the US and European Union member countries to strongly raise their voices against the Egyptian court rulings. Saying Turkey has shown the necessary reaction towards the decision, Arınc added that “all countries, particularly the US and EU member countries, should also object to the death penalties.”

“People being sentenced to death and the fact that they are about to be executed is not only a disgrace for Egypt,” said Arınc, adding that the silence of other countries which do not object to this decision and don’t speak out against the administration over these sentences was very grave.

“I hope the Egyptian authorities will renounce this grave wrongdoing,” added Arınc.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had also previously lashed out at European countries for remaining silent on the death penalties.

“Why aren’t you talking about this [the rulings]? Is human life so cheap?” asked Erdogan, calling on European countries to react.

Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu had also previously criticized the death penalty issue, urging Egypt not to implement the decision. “The death penalty decision will not provide stability in Egypt, but will cause deeper polarization,” said Davutoglu.