Turkey’s Erdogan blasts Europe’s silence on Bangladesh Islamist leader’s execution

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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.”

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“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-e-Islami party, was hanged at a Dhaka jail late Tuesday for the massacre of intellectuals during the 1971 independence war with Pakistan.

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 Islamic-rooted 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. AFP

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