PM Erdoğan’s comments on Egypt’s al-Azhar sheikh misunderstood: Turkish envoy
CAIRO – Anadolu Agency
DHA PhotoPrime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent perceived insult to Ahmed al-Tayyeb, the grand imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar, were “misunderstood,” Turkish Ambassador to Egypt Hüseyin Avni Botsalı said Sept. 12.
“The status of al-Azhar is sacred in Turkey,” Botsalı said during a meeting with an al-Azhar delegation at the Turkish Embassy in Cairo, adding that earlier remarks by Erdoğan about the sheikh had been misunderstood.
Erdoğan had said he was devastated when he saw al-Tayyeb endorsing the July 3 military coup in Egypt.
Botsalı said Turkish authorities had been briefed about al-Azhar’s criticisms of Erdoğan’s statements, stressing that “they have affirmed their respect for al-Azhar,” considered the highest seat of learning in the Sunni Muslim world.
Botsalı said he had asked to meet with al-Tayyeb “in order to clear the air.” For their part, the al-Azhar delegation underlined the need to issue an apology to the grand imam for the “perceived insult owing to the Turkish premier’s remarks.”
A delegation from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) recently visited Egyptian officials, including al-Tayyep. Deputy leader Faruk Loğoğlu said Egyptians saw Turkey’s interference in Egypt’s internal politics and the al-Tayyeb issue as insulting.