SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) – Egypt has accused Tayyip Erdogan of supporting terrorists and seeking to provoke mayhem in the Middle East after he questioned the legitimacy of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a speech at the UN General Assembly. Relation between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since then army chief Sisi toppled elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year after mass protests against his rule.
Egyptian security forces then mounted one of the fiercest crackdowns against the Islamist movement, killings hundreds of supporters at a Cairo protest camp, arresting thousands and putting Mursi and other leaders on trial trial. After world leaders gathered at the UN, Erdogan delivered a speech which featured stinging criticism of Sisi’s rise and what he called inaction after Mursi’s overthrow. “Again, those objecting (to) the murders in Iraq, Syria and the murder of democracy in Egypt are subjected to certain unfair and groundless accusations and almost immediately accused of supporting terrorism,” said Erdogan.
“The UN as well as the democratic countries have done nothing but watch the events such as overthrowing the elected president in Egypt and the killings of thousands of innocent people who want to defend their choice. And the person who carried out this coup is being legitimized.” In a statement, Egypt’s foreign ministry dismissed Erdogan’s comments on Sisi.
“There is no doubt that the fabrication of such lies and fabrications are not something strange that comes from the Turkish President, who is keen to provoke chaos to sow divisions in the Middle East region through its support for groups and terrorist organizations,” the foreign ministry said.
“Whether political support or funding or accommodation in order to harm the interests of the peoples of the region to achieve personal ambitions for the Turkish president and revive illusions of the past.” Erdogan’s comments prompted Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri to cancel a meeting on the sidelines of the General Assembly with his Turkish counterpart, according to the statement.
Mursi’s Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Erdogan’s AK Party and Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of Mursi’s removal, calling it an “unacceptable coup” by the army. “If we defend democracy, then let’s respect the ballot box. If we will defend those who come to power not with democracy but with a coup then I wonder why this U.N. exists,” Erdogan said in his speech. Both the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood and the advance of Islamic State has drawn regional countries into sectarian and ideological conflicts destabilising the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Persian Gulf Arab oil producers who feel threatened by the Brotherhood, have showered Egypt with billions of dollars since Mursi’s exit. Sisi’s opponents accuse him of returning Egypt to an authoritarian past with widespread human rights abuses.