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Turkey's Erdogan rules out Egypt thaw despite diplomatic blitz

AFP , Tuesday 5 Jul 2016
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters)
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan (Reuters)
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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday ruled out a reconciliation with Egypt, despite a diplomatic blitz that has seen Ankara mend fences with Russia and Israel.

Ties between Turkey and Egypt ruptured in 2013 after the ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan's 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, seeking to boost trade and shore up its regional clout.

But Erdogan said Tuesday that a thaw with Egypt's "oppressive regime" should not be expected any time soon.

"The context with Egypt is different from the approaches undertaken with Russia and Israel," the Turkish strongman told journalists in comments cited by Dogan news agency.

He stressed that Turkey's dispute was with Egypt's government, not its people, and repeated his condemnation of the crackdown on Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood.

"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."

Cairo has repeatedly accused Erdogan of supporting Islamist militants who have carried out terror attacks in Egypt.

Turkey provides a safe haven for leading members of the banned Muslim Brotherhood group. Ankara also allows TV stations run by sympathisers of the Brotherhood who attack the government of president Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to broadcast out of its own territories.

Erdogan has previously condemned the "coup" against Morsi, and in a show of solidarity at rallies he often uses a four-finger hand gesture known as "Rabea" -- seen as a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia, an increasingly close Turkish ally that is one of the main backers of Egypt's President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, is keen to see the two nations reconcile.

*This story has been edited by Ahram Online 

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