Egypt downgrades diplomatic relations with Turkey, expels ambassador
Ambassador Hüseyin Avni Botsalı was expelled on Nov. 23. AA photoEgypt has expelled Turkey’s Ambassador to Cairo on Nov. 23, declaring him “persona non grata,” in a new peak of tension between the two countries, which has escalated since the military takeover that toppled Mohamed Morsi.
“We are downgrading our diplomatic relations with Turkey,” a spokesperson of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said, adding that the decision had been taken after Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan expressed his sympathy with Morsi in remarks made on Nov. 21. “We have asked the Turkish ambassador to leave the country.”
Egypt’s envoy to Turkey, who has been recalled for consultations in August, will not be sent back to Ankara, Badr Abdelatty said.
Meanwhile, the Egyptian chargé d'affaires in Ankara, who is the senior diplomat at the embassy because the ambassador has not been reinstated following being recalled to Cairo for consultations in August, has been summoned to the Turkish Foreign Ministry.
Turkish officials informed to having undertaken reciprocal measures by declaring the Ambassador Abdurrahman Selahaddin “persona non grata,” mirroring Cairo by downgrading diplomatic ties.
“The responsibility of this sad situation falls on the interim government, which came into power during the exceptional context of the July 3 coup,” the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We hope our ties will normalize after Egypt regains stability and democracy,” it added
Earlier, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Levent Gümrükçü said that Ankara would take steps in reciprocity "after comprehensive consultations with the Turkish ambassador."
Before his departure to Russia on Nov. 21, Erdoğan criticized once again the interim rule for putting Morsi in trial. “I applaud Morsi’s conduct at the court. I respect him, but I have no respect for those who put him on trial,” Erdoğan said.
His remarks were described by Badr Abdelatty as "provocative and interfering in Egypt's internal affairs."
Abdelatty also accused Ankara of attempting "to influence public opinion against Egyptian interests" as well as supporting meetings of organizations that "seek to create instability in the country."
‘We stand with the Egyptian people’
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan spoke on the subject on Nov. 24, adding that his government stood with the “Egyptian people.” Erdoğan said those who “act based on emotion” were the ones who lose.
“We never respected coup plotters, and we never will. We will be sensitive about that. It is our duty to enhance freedoms, to raise the standards of democracy,” Erdoğan said.
“However, the interim rule in Egypt has informed us of their decision. We have responded with the same steps, according to the reciprocity principle,” Davutoğlu said.
He also explained Ankara’s stance aims to defend the will of the Egyptian people. “Our stance against the military coup of July 3 is the result of respect for the Egyptian people, not because we prefer one part of the society to the other,” he said, emphasizing Egypt’s importance for the region.
“If democracy establishes itself in Egypt, this will give hope to other people, too. But if the democratic process in Egypt is interrupted, this will have a negative impact for the demands in the region.”
Ambassador Hüseyin Avni Botsalı will be returning to Turkey as soon as possible, Davutoğlu also said
‘I will pray for the good of Egypt’
“Turkish and Egyptian people are brothers. I will continue to pray for the good of Egypt,” Botsalı told Anadolu Agency in his first remarks after the announcement of the Egyptian Foreign Ministry’s decision.
“Egypt is a very important country. It is very important for the region and the World that Egypt remains on the path of democracy,” Botsalı said.
“We hope that Egypt can regain democracy,” Gül added.
The interim rule in Egypt had repeatedly expressed its discomfort with Ankara’s harsh statements vis-à-vis the July 3 military takeover and the deadly crackdowns on pro-Morsi supporters.
Turkey recalled Botsalı in August for consultations during a period of three weeks, but decided to send him back despite the chilly ties. Cairo has also recalled his own ambassador, refusing to send him to Ankara until Turkey “stops interfering” in Egypt’s internal affairs.
Turkish officials have strongly condemned the takeover, urging western and Muslim countries to recognize it as “a coup.”