In an interview with Al-Jazeera in Thursday, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Al-Sisi’s military coup in 2013 is still unacceptable.
The ouster of former president Mohamed Morsi in 2013 by the Egyptian Armed Forces was contentious and has strained relations between Egypt and several other countries, particularly the US, which wasn’t so exultant about the ouster or subsequent crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, hence it cut military aid to Egypt in response.
Relations between Egypt and Turkey became especially tense following the ouster of Morsi, a move that was described by the Turkish administration as a “military coup”.
Erdogan has not retracted from his statements on Egypt, which portrayed Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi as a defence minister who carried out a military coup on the state’s president.
In last week’s interview, Erdogan said the relations between the Turkish people and the Egyptians are rather strong, adding that he differentiates between the Egyptian people and the Egyptian administration, describing the Egyptian people as “our nation”.
Erdogan added that Turkey supports all freedoms and protects them. “We are guardians of democracy and the Egyptian people will find us close in their fight for democracy,” he said.
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ahmed Abou Zeid responded to Erdogan’s statements by condemning his “irresponsible” comments. He said Erdogan crossed lines when he spoke of Al-Sisi. Abou Zeid considered the statements as a continuation of the “double standards” of Turkish policies over the past few years.
Abou Zeid further added that he is shocked that Erdogan considered himself as a guardian of democracy and freedoms when his country has arrested hundreds of university professors and media figures. He also considered the statements as incitement, targeting the stability of Egypt.
Political analyst at Al-Ahram Centre for Political and Strategic Studies Mohamed Abdel Kader told Daily News Egypt that there is no positive change in the bilateral relations between Egypt and Turkey and it’s likely that Erdogan will continue his statements on Egypt.
Abdel Kader further added that the stances of the Turkish cabinet and Foreign Ministry are different from Erdogan, as they seek to reform relations with Egypt. He continued by saying that restoring bilateral relations will depend on certain factors, including refraining from intervention in Arab affairs, and abstaining from their support for political Islamic movements. He also said that the Syrian regime has to withdraw its troops from Syria and Iraq.
Abdel Kader further continued that Turkey has a contradictory policy as they have the worst form of crackdown on dissent. He concluded by saying that the recent domination of the Republican party in the US congress may lead to pressure on Turkey to abstain from its supportive stance towards political Islamists.
Early in October, Erdogan made similar statements on Al-Sisi and said that Turkey will normalise relations with Egypt when the latter releases Morsi and his allies from prison. Erdogan also said that overthrowing a democratically-elected president is against the principles of democracy.
The statements of Erdogan contradicted the Turkish prime minister’s statements that were made earlier in September, that Turkey is ready to mend relations with Egypt and that they will be undertaking a new initiative to normalise relations with Egypt.
Abou Zeid said in August that Egypt as well is ready to normalise relations with Turkey only if the latter acknowledged the 30 June uprising and refrained from intervening in Egypt’s internal affairs.