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Egypt's FM says Turkish counterpart putting 'unacceptable' conditions on rapprochement

Ahram Online , Saturday 13 Aug 2016
Sameh Shoukry
File Photo: Egypt's foreign minister Sameh Shoukry (Photo: Reuters)
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Egypt's foreign minister criticised on Saturday statements by his Turkish counterpart on improving relations between the two nations for containing "unacceptable conditions." 

In an official statement published by Egypt’s foreign ministry on Facebook, Shoukry said that although Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's statements had “positive indicators” that point to a Turkish wish for a restoration of relations with Egypt, his statements still hold a lot of contradictions.

“The terms that the foreign minister is putting forward suggest that Turkey and its officials are guardians of the Egyptian people and (Egyptians) should follow them,” Shoukry’s statement read, adding that such conditions were “unacceptable” and would "cause wonder."

On Wednesday, Cavusoglu was asked by journalists if there has been “positive developments” in relations with Cairo, following speculations of reconciliation possibilities in July following three years of strained ties.

He responded by saying that his country aims is to make more friends, through a policy of "not causing problems, but resolving them”, according to Turkey's Anadolu Agency.

He added, however, that although Turkey and Egypt could go back to the “old days” in relations, it still “will not happen soon.”

"We want to develop our relations with Egypt. We did not want our relations to sour but there was a souring in relations after the coup attempt," Cavusoglu said.

"Egypt’s security is facing serious threats and its economy is going through a serious crisis," added the minister. "If there were no country aid today, the whole country would collapse. We don't want that kind of an Egypt, we want a great Egypt."

On Saturday, Shoukry snapped back, saying that although he has asserted on several occasions Egypt’s pride in the history of Egyptian-Turkish relations, it was still not acceptable that the Turkish foreign minister makes improving relations condition on an Egyptian embrace of a Turkish vision of the ongoing political developments in the country or accepting the redundancy in rating social and economic status, including his negative comments on Egypt’s judicial system.

Shoukry added that a talk about boosting bilateral ties on an international level involve a respect of declarations between countries, including non-interference in domestic affairs.

Shoukry elaborated that although Turkish officials have repeatedly made offensive remarks about the Egyptian people and their choices, “responsible” Egyptian circles have refrained from taking any “irresponsible actions over this eccentric rhetoric” that would negatively affect Turkish interests, in comparison with a Turkish government persistence to undergo procedures that affect the Egyptian people.

Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been strained since the 2013 ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan's AKP government. Erdogan has repeatedly slammed Morsi's removal as an "unacceptable coup."

Cairo has repeatedly accused Ankara of "interference" in its domestic affairs and supporting Islamist militants who carry out terrorist attacks in Egypt.

Turkey provides a safe haven for leading members of the Muslim Brotherhood group, which has been banned in Egypt.

Ankara also allows TV stations run by sympathisers of the Brotherhood who criticise the government of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi to broadcast out of Turkey. 

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