Steps for thaw with Egypt to be different than Russia, Israel processes: Erdoğan
AA photoThe steps taken for a possible reconciliation with Egypt will be different than the processes that saw Turkey begin to thaw relations with Russia and Israel, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said on July 5.
Ties between Turkey and Egypt ruptured in 2013 after the military ousted elected Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) government.
Observers had suggested a rapprochement may be on the cards after last week saw Turkey restore ties with Russia and Israel following bitter diplomatic rows.
“The context with Egypt is different from the approaches undertaken with Russia and Israel,” Erdoğan told reporters after the performing prayers in Istanbul on the first day of Eid al-Fitr.
“We have no problems with the Egyptian people. The problem with Egypt is an issue with its administration, particularly with its ruler,” Erdoğan added.
“Sentences handed down to Morsi and his friends have been based on fabrications,” he said. “These people are our brothers; we cannot accept these decisions by an oppressive regime.”
Erdoğan said no country other than Turkey and Qatar supported Egypt financially when Morsi was in charge.
“Those countries that did not give any support then made significant financial contributions to the current administration,” he added.
“There are also the death sentences and life sentences given to Morsi and his friends without any evidence. We cannot approve such cruelty. Our principle is ‘approving cruelty is cruelty.’ We cannot put up with this,” Erdoğan said.
Ankara and Cairo have had troubled ties following the ouster of Morsi, Egypt’s first democratically elected leader, in a 2013 military coup led by Abdel-Fattah el-Sisi, then defense minister and now president.
Morsi has since then been handed life-in-prison and death sentences for allegedly “conspiring against Egypt” with Palestinian group Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah, and for supposedly breaking out of jail in 2011.
He has also been given a 20-year jail term for allegedly committing murder and faces additional charges of “insulting” Egypt’s judiciary.
Morsi and his co-defendants, along with a number of independent observers, say the charges are politically motivated.
Turkey has recently moved to mend troubled relations with both Russia and Israel, and there are rumors in Ankara that Egypt is next in line.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu said July 3 that he was ready to meet with his Egyptian counterpart to discuss political ties, adding that Egypt must take some positive steps with regard to political prisoners.
“My statement that ‘I am ready to meet with Egypt’ is nothing new. But there is a fact that Egypt cannot go on like this. Egypt has to take positive steps. I can of course talks about these issues with my [Egyptian] counterpart. There is no problem in this,” Çavuşoğlu told TRT in an interview.
“Our objective is not to punish and treat Egypt as an enemy. This is out of question. But we note it when there is something wrong,” he said.