Egypt warns Ankara Saturday of “further action” as it protested for the second time in a week at the Turkish premier criticizing its president and Cairo’s handling of the Gaza conflict.
Ties have been strained since both withdrew their ambassadors last year after the military ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, who had forged closer ties with Turkey’s devout Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
The foreign ministry says it was summoning the Turkish charge d’affaires – for the second time within a week – to protest against Erdogan’s criticism in the media on Thursday of President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and Cairo’s stance on the conflict in the Gaza Strip.
Ministry spokesman Badr Abdelatty tells AFP that the protest comes after Erdogan in an interview with US television channel CNN “repeated again that Sissi was a tyrant and that Egypt has no role” in resolving the Gaza crisis.
Erdogan also denounced Sissi on July 18 as an “illegitimate tyrant”, saying that Cairo could not be relied upon to negotiate a truce in Gaza.
Saturday’s ministry statement says Erdogan’s remarks show “the total ignorance and dismissal of the political reality in Egypt since the June 30 revolution.”
Millions of Egyptians had taken to the streets on June 30 last year demanding the resignation of Morsi, Egypt’s first freely elected president.
Sissi ousted Morsi on the back of these protests.
“The Turkish leadership has repeatedly interfered in the internal affairs of the country, which is totally unacceptable,” the ministry says.
Erdogan’s remarks also “show deliberate ignoring of … Egypt’s role and its position in defending the Palestinian cause”.
“Continuing to impair Egypt and its elected leadership will undoubtedly lead to further action on the part of Egypt that would limit the development of the bilateral relations between the two countries.”
Egypt is among countries mediating a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas, but its efforts to secure a long-term truce have yet to yield results.
Turkey and Qatar are both regional rivals of Egypt and have good relations with Gaza’s militant Hamas ruler which rejected an Egypt-brokered ceasefire early in the conflict.