In a speech at Cairo University, the Turkish prime minister described Egypt’s uprising that ousted longtime autocratic leader Hosni Mubarak from power last year as a point of hope for Palestinians.
Erdo?an, accompanied by a delegation of 12 ministers and 350 businessmen, visited Cairo on Saturday to intensify dialogue with the Middle Eastern country and hold talks with Egyptian officials on how to contain the ongoing fighting between Israel and Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The visit is considered the largest in the history of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Erdo?an and the delegation accompanying him attended the second meeting of the Turkey-Egypt High-Level Strategic Cooperation Council. The Turkish prime minister later met Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi for the first time since Egyptian Islamist leader was elected late June.
A presidential source told Reuters that Mursi was due to hold four-way talks with Erdo?an , the Qatari emir and Hamas leader Khaled Meshaal in Cairo on Saturday to discuss the Gaza crisis.
Turkish premier Tayyip Erdogan has been an outspoken critic of Israel, while Qatar’s emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, visited Gaza in October, breaking the isolation of the Palestinian group. Both arrived in Egypt earlier in the day.
The latest surge in the long-running conflict between Israel and Gaza began when the former killed Hamas military mastermind Ahmed Al-Jaabari in a precision airstrike on his car on Wednesday. Israel then began shelling the coastal enclave from land, air and sea. Four days of Israeli airstrikes have left more than 30 Palestinians dead.
On Saturday, Israeli aircraft bombed Hamas government buildings in the Palestinian territory, after Israel’s cabinet authorised the mobilisation of up to 75,000 reservists, preparing for a possible ground invasion.
In his speech at the Cairo University, Erdo?an vowed support for Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and comdemned Israel for “aggression,” calling for it to stop attacks.
The Turkish prime minister also extended condolences to the Egyptians and the families of the victims of a train crash which left 49 people, mostly children, dead on Saturday in a city south of Cairo.
Erdo?an congratulated Egypt for its democratic revolution leading to the ouster of the decades-old Hosni Mubarak dictatorship last year, declaring that Turkey will continue to show solidarity with Egypt.