ANKARA: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday lashed out at Europe’s silence over the execution of a veteran Jamaat-e-Islami 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-e-Islami party, was hanged at a Dhaka jail late Tuesday. He was accused of ordering the killing of intellectuals during the 1971 conflict.
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.
The 1971 conflict, one of the bloodiest in world history, led to the creation of an independent Bangladesh from what was then East Pakistan.
Prosecutors said Nizami was responsible for setting up the pro-Pakistani Al-Badr militia, which killed top writers, doctors and journalists in the most gruesome chapter of the war.
The trial heard Nizami ordered the killings, designed to “intellectually cripple” the fledgling nation.
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 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.