ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday lashed out at Europe’s silence over the execution of a veteran Islamist leader in Bangladesh, accusing the West of “double standards”.
“If you are against political executions, why did you remain silent to the execution of Motiur Rahman Nizami who was martyred a couple of days ago,” Erdogan said in a televised speech in Istanbul.
“Have you heard anything from Europe? … No. Isn’t it called double standards?” Erdogan said.
Nizami, leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami, was hanged at a Dhaka jail late Tuesday after being convicted for three major charges stemming from the 1971 war, including the killings of 480 people.
The 73-year-old former government minister was the fifth and the most senior opposition figure executed since the secular government in the overwhelmingly Muslim nation set up a controversial war crimes tribunal in 2010.
In protest, Turkey on Thursday recalled its ambassador to Bangladesh for consultations.
Since coming to power in 2002, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has sought to boost the country’s power in the Muslim world.
Last year, Erdogan condemned a death sentence handed to Egypt’s deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who was a close ally of Ankara until he was overthrown by the military in 2013.
At the time he condemned the West for turning a blind eye to the “coup” by army chief army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi who is now president.
Pakistan’s Foreign Office had also said it was deeply saddened over the hanging of the JI Bangladesh chief Motiur Rahman Nizami.
“The act of suppressing the opposition by killing their leaders through flawed trials is completely against the spirit of democracy,” Foreign Office spokesman Nafees Zakaria had said in a statement.
The statement said it is “unfortunate” for the people of Bangladesh who had elected Nizami as their representative in the parliament. Agencies