Cairo declines to respond to Erdogan saying thaw with Egypt would be 'unethical'

Ahram Online , Monday 3 Oct 2016


Egypt has declined to respond to recent remarks by Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan where he said a normalisation of ties with Cairo at present would be "unethical."

Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman "declined to comment on such statements that the Turkish president does not get tired of," a statement by the ministry said on Monday.

Erdogan renewed his criticism of Egypt's "non-democratic" regime of "coup" during an interview on Sunday with Saudi-based TV channel Rotana Khalejia.

However, the Turkish leader said that maintaining trade ties with Egypt is pivotal despite his rejection of a political rapprochement.

"It is very useful to have trade ties with Egypt, but I don't accept communication on my level and consider this unethical," Erdogan was quoted as saying during the interview by Turkish state news agency Anadolu.  

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."

Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said early in September that his country aims to normalise relations with Egypt and even rebuild ties in the future with Syria, where it has launched a cross-border offensive.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said the recent statements "contradict any Turkish attempts to improve relations with Egypt."

During the interview, Erdogan said that normalising ties with Cairo can only take place provided that Morsi and his imprisoned supporters are released.

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 from Turkey.

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