Egypt summoned the Turkish charge d’affaires to Cairo on Sunday over comments Islamist Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan made, questioning Egypt’s ability to end the latest Israeli offensive in Gaza.
On Friday Erdogan called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi an “illegitimate … tyrant”, adding that Egypt “could not be relied upon” to broker a peace treaty between warring Israel and Gaza militant group Hamas.
Egypt’s deputy foreign minister for east and south European affairs summoned the Turkish charge d’affaires to the ministry’s headquarters to deliver a letter “expressing [Egypt’s] rejection and resentment” of Erdogan’s comments.
Formerly an ally of deposed president Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, Erdogan, according to AFP, said Egypt is guilty of blocking humanitarian aid to Hamas coming in through the Rafah border crossing on the Gaza strip in north Sinai. Hamas was forged from principles similar to those of the Brotherhood.
On Saturday, Egyptian security forces turned back an Egyptian aid convoy headed for Gaza for security reasons.
The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) launched a ground invasion of the Gaza Strip on Thursday night, almost 10 days after the start of its offensive on the strip. The offensive has thus far left over 500 Palestinians and at least 20 Israelis killed.
The ground invasion shortly followed an official rejection by Hamas of an Egypt-sponsored ceasefire agreement, approved by Israel.
Osama Hamdan, who is responsible for external affairs in Hamas, said in a statement on Saturday that the Egyptian initiative was not in the interest of the Palestinian people and that there “was no serious initiative for us to accept or reject”. Egypt did not officially approach Hamas to participate in the agreement.
Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry meanwhile accused on Thursday Turkey, Hamas and Qatar of attempting to “thwart” Egypt’s role in ending the offensive, reported state-run news agency MENA.
Hamas said there are Qatari-Turkish calls, in cooperation with Egypt and other international parties, to “bring an end to aggression on Gaza”.
Egypt and Turkey have suffered from strained relations since the 3 July 2013 military backed ouster of Morsi.
On 23 November 2013, Turkey and Egypt both expelled one another’s ambassadors and downgraded their diplomatic ties to the level of charge d’affairs. The mutual move followed comments Erdogan made, which the Ministry of Foreign Affairs described as garnering “support” for groups aiming to destabilise Egypt and “interference in the internal affairs of the country”.