Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan (Photo: Reuters)
Egypt spurned on Friday recent remarks made by Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan in which he rebuked Egyptian interim authorities over the overthrow of the country's Islamist leader.
Erdogan on Wednesday renewed his criticism of Egypt's interim authorities, saying that his government "cannot accept a regime that had undertaken a military coup."
Egypt's foreign ministry spokesman Bader Abdelatty hit back on Friday, saying that such criticism was "not worth responding or taking notice of."
Morsi, Egypt's first freely elected president was toppled seven months ago on the back of massive steet protests against his turbulent year-long reign.
"Egyptians' voice is the source of legislation and their will determines the nation's future and chooses its leaders," Abdelatty said in comments made to state news agency MENA - in reference to nationwide protests that culminated in Morsi's toppling in July.
Turkey's Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP) government struck up a close alliance with Morsi, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, when he was elected in Egypt's first free elections in June 2012.
But ties between Cairo and Ankara have soured since the army deposed the Islamist.
The Turkish premier also slammed on Wednesday a highly anticipated presidential vote in Egypt - due in April - as "questionable."
"Could there be an election for coup maker?" he said when asked about a likely presidential bid by army chief Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, the general who led Morsi's overthrow.
El-Sisi, who has immensely gained in popularity, is expected to secure a sweeping victory if he runs for the top post.
Ankara's statements against Morsi's overthrow had infuriated Egypt's interim rulers who accused the Turks of "“interference” in the nation's domestic affairs.
But Erdogan dismissed the accusations by Cairo.
"We have never had the intention of meddling in Egypt's internal affairs. This is what the autocratic regime in Egypt says of those who do not recognize them," he said in an interview with Al Jazeera English.
Turkey's repeated calls for the release of Morsi – now behind bars and facing trials over murder and a jailbreak – had caused further outrage.
The spat between both sides escalated last November when Cairo expelled Turkish ambassador Huseyin Avni Botsali, and the Turkish government later retaliated by declaring the Egyptian ambassador, persona non grata.
Both countries then downgraded diplomatic ties to the level of charge d'affaires
But Turkish President Abdullah Gul sought to defuse tensions, later saying that "the situation between Turkey and Egypt is temporary and conjectural."