Erdogan calls for a secular Egypt

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday called on Egyptians to adopt a secular constitution, noting that secularism does not mean renouncing religion.

A secular state respects all religions, Erdogan said in an interview with the private satellite TV channel Dream before heading to Egypt for a two-day visit.

"Do not be wary of secularism. I hope there will be a secular state in Egypt," Erdogan said.

He stressed that people have the right to choose whether or not to be religious, adding that he is a Muslim prime minister for a secular state.

Erdogan said Egypt needs to meet some requirements for establishing a modern state, including better management of human resources, more attention to education, improved management of financial resources and eliminating corruption.

The idea of adopting a secular system for Egypt has fueled controversy between the country's liberal and Islamist powers since the 25 January revolution.

Liberal and secular groups fear an Islamist takeover of the parliament through the upcoming elections scheduled for November. They fear such a takeover would give Islamists control over the drafting of the constitution.

Egypt’s largest political group, the Muslim Brotherhood, has been touting a secular state with Islamic law as a primary source of legislation. But some liberal powers suggest using international human rights conventions as a source.

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