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Egypt Asks Turkish Ambassador to Leave over Support for Muslim Brotherhood


Turkey’s Ambassador to Egypt Huseyin Avni Botsali attends a news conference by Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu (not pictured) at the presidential palace in Cairo in this September 17, 2012 file photo. Egypt said it had asked Turkey’s ambassador Botsali to leave and accused Ankara of backing unnamed organisations bent on spreading instability – a likely reference to the Muslim Brotherhood of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi. To match story EGYPT-TURKEY/ REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh/Files

The Egyptian government has asked Turkey’s ambassador to leave in protest for its support of the Muslim Brotherhood, the party of the deposed president Mohamed Morsi.

Egypt’s military government accused Turkey of supporting organisations bent on spreading instability. Turkey has denounced removal of the elected Morsi as an “unacceptable coup”.

Since the coup in July, thousands of the new government’s opponents have been detained and hundreds killed by security forces.

Turkey was “attempting to influence public opinion against Egyptian interests, supported meetings of organisations that seek to create instability in the country,” said a foreign ministry spokesman, Badr Abdelatty, on Saturday.

Turkey’s ruling AK party has a similar background to the Muslim Brotherhood and both have endured a rivalry with their national armies.

Turkey and Egypt recalled their ambassadors in August after Turkey criticised Egypt’s new leaders over the overthrow of Morsi. Turkey’s ambassador returned weeks later, but Egypt had declined to return its envoy to Ankara.

Saturday’s decision comes after the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, renewed his criticism of Egypt’s new leaders. He dismissed the trial of Morsi on charges of inciting murder of his opponents while in office, which opened this month, and on Thursday described the situation in Egypt as a “humanitarian drama”.

The Egyptian foreign ministry said Turkey “has persisted in its unacceptable and unjustified positions by trying to turn the international community against Egyptian interests and by supporting meetings for groups that seek to create instability in the country and by making statements that can only be described as an offense to the popular will”.

Egyptian officials and media have repeatedly accused Muslim Brotherhood leaders of meeting in Turkey to plan protests and other ways to undermine the new government in Cairo.

In response to Egypt’s decision, the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, said: “I hope our relations will again get back to its track.”

But a Turkish foreign ministry spokesman said Ankara was in touch with the ambassador “and we will respond with reciprocal steps in coming hours”.


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