The Egyptian foreign ministry has summoned the Turkish Charge d’Affaires to express “displeasure with some comments made by Turkish officials about the Egyptian presidential election” which allegedly circulated in local Turkish media outlets.
The statement did not specify the nature of the comments made, but noted that the statements “reflect a lack of knowledge or willful inattentiveness to the electoral process, which was characterised by integrity and transparency and was at the centre of attention of the international community” adding that both national and international NGOs observed Egypt’s second presidential elections in as many years.
The statement then critiqued the Turkish government: “It was possible for [the ministry] to address a lot of the criticism [surrounding]… the political atmosphere and results of local elections that took place in Turkey last March.” However, the ministry did not mention “accusations of fraud, particularly in Ankara, and the resulting rally of thousands of Turks in front of the Supreme Council to protest the results of the elections dominated by the ruling party”.
The statement added that the ministry did not come forward with complaints because of their “conviction to the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of states, a position that we expect from the Turkish side to understand and abide by and respect the choices of the Egyptian people”.
Tensions between Turkey and Egypt have been tense since democratically-elected Mohamed Morsi’s 3 July ouster..
In the ensuing crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood leaders and supporters, Turkey has emerged as a sympathiser to the now outlawed group, which was listed as a terrorist organisation in December.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Erdogan said in February that Turkey would not recognise Egyptian interim authorities, “a regime that has undertaken a military coup”, calling former Minister of Defence Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, a “coup maker”. Badr Abdelatty, the ministry’s spokesman, said that the remarks “do not deserve a response or worth paying attention to”.
“The voice of the Egyptian people is the source of legitimacy and it is their will that determines the future of the nation and to choose their leadership,” Abdelatty said.
In November, both countries expelled each others’ ambassadors, officially downgrading diplomatic ties between the nations.
Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed Turkish Ambassador Huseyin Avni Botsali that he had been asked to leave the country as he had been given the statues of “persona non grata” (an unwelcome person). The ministry’s decision came in response to comments made by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and what it describes as “support” for groups looking to destabilise Egypt. Erdogan made the same request in return.
The Egyptian ministry said that it viewed Erdogan’s recent comments as “interference in the internal affairs of the country”. The statement also called Ankara’s stance towards Egypt “unacceptable” and accused Turkish leadership of an “unjustified attempt to incite the international community against Egyptian interests, and supporting meetings for organisations seeking to create instability in the country”.