Gov’t in intense work over Egypt, Erdoğan-Gül meeting on Tuesday
Protestors hold signs during a demonstration condemning the crackdown Morsi supporters in Istanbul.Ankara is witnessing a series of high-level meetings concerning developments in Egypt, amid the Turkish government’s growing anger over the Egyptian security forces’ heavy crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood protestors and the international community’s perceived poor response.
President Abdullah Gül and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will hold a summit on Egypt on Aug. 20, a day before the country’s top security board is set to convene to discuss all regional developments, with particular emphasis on Egypt and Syria. The two were scheduled to meet Aug. 18 but the reunion was cancelled at the last minute.
Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu is also expected to join the president and the prime minister.
Before the Aug. 20 meeting, Gül was briefed by Turkish Ambassador to Egypt Hüseyin Avni Botsalı, who was called back to Ankara for consultations following the Egyptian security forces’ brutal intervention against protestors. “I was briefed by our most knowledgeable person about the developments. We talked about how we can help Egypt overcome this chaos,” Gül told reporters Aug. 19. When asked when Botsalı would return to Cairo, Gül underlined that he had been recalled for consultations, meaning the ambassador could be resent to Egypt in the near future.
In parallel to these talks, the Turkish government has intensified its diplomatic efforts to push the international community to stand against the coup in Egypt, while further raising its voice against the interim government.
Botsalı joined the weekly cabinet meeting in order to brief ministers concerning the latest developments in Egypt. He earlier separately briefed President Abdullah Gül and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu about the course of developments in a country where he has been serving since 2009. Although Botsalı’s mandate expired in Egypt on June 30, days before the coup took place, his term in Cairo was extended in light of his expertise on the political situation in the North African country.
According to sources, the Cabinet has reviewed the crisis in Egypt and its potential consequences on both bilateral relations and in the Middle Eastern region. Economic relations have already been negatively affected of the turmoil in Egypt, following leading Turkish companies’ recent decision to suspend operations in the country. Despite problems, however, Economy Minister Zafer Çağlayan has said Turkey is not considering suspending its economic relations with Egypt.
While trying to mobilize international bodies such as the U.N. and the Organization of the Islamic Conference to speak out and be more critical against the interim government, the Turkish government has also repeatedly called on Cairo to release Mohamed Morsi and announce elections as soon as possible.
An overall assessment will be made during the National Security Council (MGK) meeting on Wednesday, with the participation of top military officials including Chief of General Staff Gen. Necdet Özel.
Ambassador Botsalı is also expected to join the meeting and brief the members of the MGK.
As part of Turkey’s efforts to have the brutal massacre of the Egyptian security forces more strongly condemned by the international community, Davutoğlu continued his diplomatic traffic over the weekend, holding phone conversations with counterparts including Tobias Jagland, the President of the Council of Europe, and other European officials.