“We are on the side of the oppressed, of the Egyptian people. We are on the side of those who were in Rabaa al-Adawiya,” he said in a speech in the Black Sea province of Trabzon, referring to one of the sites of protests against Egypt’s military rule until a deadly military crackdown three months ago. We have never respected those who carried out coups and we never will. We will respect the will of the people, both in our country and in the world. This is why we will be sensitive on this issue.”
On Saturday, Egypt expelled the Turkish ambassador and scaled back its diplomatic relations with Turkey to the level of charge d’affaires in a sharp escalation of tension that has been simmering between the two countries since the July 3 ouster of former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi by the military. Ankara responded in the same way, declaring Egypt’s ambassador to Turkey, who already left Turkey months ago amid tensions, a persona non grata.
Turkey lashed out at the overthrow of Morsi, calling it a coup and severely criticizing the country’s new rulers. On Thursday, Erdoğan said he applauded Morsi’s stance before a court that tries him on charges of inciting killings of protesters in a protest outside the presidential palace. He said he has no respect for those who put him on trial, a remark that triggered the Egyptian move on Saturday.
Erdoğan defended the way Turkey responded to Egypt’s snub during his Sunday speech, saying his government insists on the principle that the military should stay out of politics. “In [relations between] states, those who act on their emotions will be the ones who lose,” he said. “We are not acting on the basis of our emotions. We say that the place of the military is clear if you have respect for the people’s will.”
Egypt’s Foreign Ministry said the Turkish envoy has been deemed a persona non grata and is being asked to leave the country because of what it described as Ankara’s continued “interference” in Egyptian affairs. “This [Turkish] leadership has persisted in its unacceptable and unjustified positions by trying to turn the international community against Egyptian interests and … by making statements that can only be described as an offense to the popular will,” the Egyptian Foreign Ministry statement said.
The statement, released by the Turkish Foreign Ministry on Saturday, said Egypt’s interim government, “which came to power in exceptional circumstances,” was responsible for the deteriorating relations. see more