Turkey needs to see human rights improvement in Egypt for thaw: FM

Turkey needs to see human rights improvement in Egypt for thaw: FM

Turkey needs to see human rights improvement in Egypt for thaw: FM

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu. DHA Photo

Ankara wants to repair its relationship with Cairo, but Egypt needs to take steps “to end human rights violations” against its people, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu has said, noting there has been attempts to establish a dialogue between two countries.

“Western countries, as well as some Gulf countries, are saying our relations with Egypt should recover, and we say we can recover,” Çavuşoğlu said in a live interview with state broadcaster TRT Haber on Dec. 25.

Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since former army chief and current president Abdel Fattah el-Sisi toppled the elected President Mohamed Morsi, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, after mass protests against his rule.

Qatar has recently announced its determination to thaw ties with Egypt, diverging from an agreement with Turkey over opposition to the Cairo government, only a few days after renewing commitments to have closer relations with Ankara, which has put pressure on Turkey to review its policy on Egypt.

“We don’t have any problem with the people of Egypt. Our objection is to the oppression of the Egyptian people by the el-Sisi government, which took power through a military coup,” the minister stated.

He further reiterated the Turkish government’s previous objections to mass trials and the execution of opposition members in Egypt. “Are we going to remain silent against the mass killing of thousands of people?” he said.

However, the minister didn’t rule out the possibility of reconciliation between the two countries, as he repeated the conditions given out by the ministry a day earlier.

“If the Egyptian government takes steps towards democracy, and ends human rights violations and oppression, we would of course repair our relations with Egypt. However, we should see these steps realized first,” he said.

Çavuşoğlu also said there are some initiatives for the two sides to establish dialogue at a certain level, but didn’t give further information.

On the recent signs of Egypt-Qatar reconciliation, the Turkish minister only said: “Our relationship with Qatar is perfect and we would like to see its relations with other countries be good as well.”

A day before Çavuşoğlu’s remarks, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanju Bilgiç had said Turkey’s bilateral ties with Egypt could “normalize if the country properly returns to democracy and if the Egyptian people’s free will is reflected in politics and social life.”