Turkey overidentified with Muslim Brotherhood, says CHP after trip to Egypt

Turkey overidentified with Muslim Brotherhood, says CHP after trip to Egypt

Turkey overidentified with Muslim Brotherhood, says CHP after trip to Egypt

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The Egyptian authorities say Turkey “overidentified itself with the Muslim Brotherhood,” a main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy has said after talks in Cairo.

CHP Deputy Chair Öztürk Yılmaz said at a March 30 press conference that Egyptian officials are “uneasy with the language” used by Turkish leaders against the country.

“They said Turkey overidentified itself with the Muslim Brotherhood and this is wrong. They stressed that Turkey should not interfere in the domestic affairs [of Egypt],” Yılmaz said.

Yılmaz was accompanied by CHP Istanbul deputy Oğuz Kaan Salıcı and Balıkesir deputy Ahmet Akın, both members of Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Commission, during contacts in Egypt. They met with the country’s deputy parliament speaker, deputy foreign minister, deputy minister for chambers and industry, representatives of all political parties at parliament, and Turkish businesspeople in Egypt. 

The visit was aimed at “opening new channels with a new mindset and language,” taking cooperation as a basis while also showing utmost care to the principle of not interfering in domestic affairs, Yılmaz said, adding that they had informed the Turkish chargé d’affaires based in Cairo regarding the details of their meetings.

“Egypt wants Turkey to cooperate with the current administration, not to use an offending language, and not to overidentify itself with the Muslim Brotherhood,” he said.

Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since former army chief, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi toppled Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who is affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, after mass protests against his rule. The Turkish government and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have expressed anger over the coup targeting one of their key regional allies.

“Egypt has recovered and it is obvious that it has political stability at present. There are a lot of areas in North Africa and the Middle East where we can cooperate with Egypt,” Yılmaz said. 

“We believe we can make psychological gains if a change of language takes place. This could start cooperation. The visit was very useful. There are not many obstacles in front of better relations with Egypt,” he added.

In early February, while categorically ruling out meeting with el-Sisi until death penalty sentences for Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders were lifted, Erdoğan gave the green light for ministerial-level talks between the two estranged countries.