Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Activists plan welcome rally for visiting Turkish PM

Al-Masry Al-Youm

"A number of Egyptian activists have posted a Facebook invitation for a rally in front of the Turkish consulate in Alexandria, to welcome Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on 12 September.

Erdogan previously said he would head to the Gaza Strip through Egypt.

The activists said participants in the rally will hoist Egyptian, Turkish and Palestinian flags. Their statement labeled Erdogan as a "brave man" for dismissing the Israeli ambassador to Turkey.

Earlier this week, Ankara expelled the ambassador and severed military and commercial cooperation with Tel Aviv when Israel declined to apologize for a naval attack in May 2010 that killed nine activists aboard a Gaza-bound Turkish aid convoy.

Israel has imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip since Palestinian faction Hamas took control.

Erdogan's move was hailed by Egyptians who slammed their own rulers for failure to take similar action after five Egyptian security and police forces were killed during a border raid last month.

"Egyptians have to credit the man (Erdogan) for his courage and self-esteem. We have to support his visit, which aims to lift the seige on Gaza in a time when Egypt's ruling military is erecting a fence to protect the Israeli Embassy in Cairo," the activists said in their statement.

Meanwhile, Youth for Freedom and Justice, an Alexandria-based group, announced its participation in the welcoming rally.

Group spokesperson Mohamed Abdel Salam said members will participate to express soldiarity with Erdogan and to demand that Egyptian authorities facilitate his trip."

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