Turkish PM slammed by US for Israel plot comment, dubbed 'Western agent' by Egypt

Turkish PM slammed by US for Israel plot comment, dubbed 'Western agent' by Egypt

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse / The Associated Press
Turkish PM slammed by US for Israel plot comment, dubbed Western agent by Egypt

White House principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest answers questions during his daily news briefing at the White House in Washington on Aug 19. AP photo

The White House on Aug. 20 condemned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's claim that Israel had a role in toppling ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

White House Spokesman Josh Earnest said the comments were "offensive and unsubstantiated and wrong." 

Earnest also said such statements only distract from the need for all countries in the region to work together constructively.

Hours earlier, Erdoğan had accused Israel during a meeting of his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), adding that they had the "evidence" on its role.

“Who is behind [the coup]? There is Israel,” Erdoğan told the party leaders. “We have document in our hands,” he said, citing an open session between a Jewish intellectual from France and an Israeli justice minister before the first free elections in Egypt held in March.

A source later told the Associated Press that the evidence on Israel that Erdoğan was referring to was a video “available on the Internet” of a press conference by Israeli Justice Minister Tzipi Livni and French philosopher and author Bernard-Henri Levy.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that as far as he knew, that was the only evidence of the claim. A video of the two, dating back to 2011, shows Levy saying: “If the Muslim Brotherhood arrives in Egypt, I will not say democracy wants it, so let democracy progress. Democracy is not only elections, it is also values.”

Pressed further as to whether he would urge Egypt’s military to intervene against the Muslim Brotherhood, Levy said: “I will urge the prevention of them coming to power, but by all sorts of means.”  

Livni spokeswoman denies 'attempt,' Cairo says patience 'running thin'

A spokeswoman for Livni said of Erdogan's remarks: "Any attempt to try and tie Israel and Minister Livni to Egypt's internal affairs is unfounded."

Meanwhile, the office of Egypt's new prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi said Erdoğan's latest words "have no basis in fact and are not accepted by any sane or fair person."

It also said Erdoğan's comments were intended to "target Egyptian national unity" and warned that Cairo's "patience was reaching breaking point."

Egypt calls Erdoğan 'Western agent'

Egypt, for its part, slammed Erdoğan's remarks, while a presidential spokesperson called the prime minister a "Western agent," Al-Arabiya English has reported.

Egypt does not need lessons on patriotism from a "Western agent," Ahmed el-Mossalamany said, denouncing Erdoğan's statements slamming the military regime in the country.

"If you want to see a dictator, go ahead, go to Egypt,” Erdoğan had said yesterday.