Turkey rules out Egypt thaw despite diplomatic blitz
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Turkey rules out Egypt thaw despite diplomatic blitz

Erdogan, irked at Cairo’s crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood, says ‘context’ is different from Israel, Russia

Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses people gathered for a traditional "iftar" Muslim feast at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, June 27, 2016. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar, Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP)
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses people gathered for a traditional "iftar" Muslim feast at his palace in Ankara, Turkey, Monday, June 27, 2016. (Murat Cetinmuhurdar, Presidential Press Service, Pool via AP)

ANKARA, Turkey — Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday ruled out a reconciliation with Egypt, despite a diplomatic blitz that has seen Ankara mend fences with Russia and Israel.

Ties between Turkey and Egypt ruptured in 2013 after the military ousted elected Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, a close ally of Erdogan’s AKP government.

Observers had suggested a rapprochement may be on the cards after last week saw Turkey restore ties with Russia and Israel following bitter diplomatic rows, seeking to boost trade and shore up its regional clout.

But Erdogan said Tuesday that a thaw with Egypt’s “oppressive regime” should not be expected any time soon.

“The context with Egypt is different from the approaches undertaken with Russia and Israel,” the Turkish strongman told journalists in comments cited by Dogan news agency.

He stressed that Turkey’s dispute was with Egypt’s government, not its people, and repeated his condemnation of the crackdown on Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood.

“Sentences handed down to Morsi and his friends have been based on fabrications,” he said.

“These people are our brothers, we cannot accept these decisions by an oppressive regime.”

Erdogan has previously condemned the “coup” against Morsi, and in a show of solidarity at rallies he often uses a four-finger hand gesture known as “Rabia” — seen as a symbol of the Muslim Brotherhood.

Saudi Arabia, an increasingly close Turkish ally that is one of the main backers of Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, is keen to see the two nations reconcile.

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