Egypt condemned what it described as “irresponsible” statements made by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the Egyptian government.
Earlier on Thursday, Erdogan said during an interview with Qatari channel Al-Jazeera that he accused “the Egyptian regime of providing support to the Gulen movement”, which is led by Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen, who has been accused of masterminding the failed coup attempt in Turkey last July.
“We differentiate between the Egyptian people and the administration there. We love the nation like it was ours and that’s why we have provided all support to them but we are against coup governments and the violation of freedoms, and we will stand with the Egyptian people in their fight for democracy,” the Turkish president said during the interview aired on Thursday.
In an official statement on Thursday, the Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman said Egypt considered the Turkish statements as a “continuation to the blundering and double standards approach that the Turkish policies have been characterised by through out the past years.”
The foreign ministry spokesman Ahmed Abu Zeid expressed his “surprise” at the Turkish president inaugurating himself as a “guardian of democracy and protector of freedoms at a time when his government is arresting hundreds of professors and media personnel and tens of parliamentary members, as well as shutting down tens of newspapers and eliminating thousands of civil workers and army officers and judges from their jobs over their role in the coup attempt.”
The Egyptian spokesman pointed out that it wasn’t surprising that such statements came at such a time on Al-Jazeera in particular, considering it clear incitement that aims to shake off stability in Egypt; pointing at the“11/11” protests against the Egyptian government planned for Friday which are supported by the Muslim Brotherhood group, a close ally of Erdogan's AKP government.
This is the latest round of scathing statements between the two countries since their relationship severed since the 2013 ouster of Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan's AKP government.
Despite the strained relations,Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim said late August that Turkey is looking to improve relations with Egypt only hours after Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi spoke about Turkey in a press interview.
El-Sisi's commented in August on the troubled relationships between the two countries for the first time, saying that Egypt was giving “the Turks" time to correct their position.
Cairo has repeatedly accused Ankara of "interference" in its domestic affairs and providing a safe haven for leading members of the now banned Brotherhood group.