UPDATE 1-Turkey's Gul: Egypt army serious about transition

Thu Mar 3, 2011 4:25pm GMT

* Gul meets Egypt's military, political leaders

* Turkey held as example of democracy in region

(Recasts with news conference, details)

By Simon Cameron-Moore

CAIRO, March 3 (Reuters) - Turkey's President Abdullah Gul said after meeting Egypt's military rulers on Thursday he was convinced the army was serious about piloting a democratic transition following the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.

"I have closely observed that Marshal Tantawi and his friends have seen the expectations and demands of the Egyptian people and youth and they say they will do what is needed in a short period of time," Gul said after meeting Mohamed Hussein Tantawi, head of the military council that took charge in Egypt.

"We believe that this process of transition should end in a way to satisfy all the expectations of Egyptian people. Egypt should switch to a democratic, parliamentary and constitutional system and Egypt should become the strongest state in the region and its people the happiest people, after the process is over."

Gul arrived in Cairo as Egypt's Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq resigned and a former transport minister was picked to appoint a new government after pro-democracy activists demanded a purge of Mubarak's old guard from the cabinet.

Shafiq was appointed prime minister by Mubarak in his final days in office before he was ousted on Feb. 11 after an 18-day popular uprising which shook the Middle East. There have since been protests and political pressure for Shafiq to step down.   Continued...

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