Erdogan says Turkey has no issue with Egyptian people, only with ruler - agency

Tuesday 05-07-2016 02:48 PM

Turkish prime minister Rajab Tayyeb Erdogan

CAIRO, Jul 7 (Aswat Masriya) - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that his country's dispute is with the Egyptian regime, not the Egyptian people, according to a Turkish state-run news agency.

“The problem with Egypt is an issue with its administration, particularly with its ruler,” Erdoğan told reporters after Eid al-Fitr prayer in Istanbul in comments cited by Anadolu Agency.

Erdogan's comments came amid speculations over rapprochement between the two countries after Turkey mended its ties with Russia and Israel last week.

Egypt's foreign ministry stated last week that Turkey's recognition of the "June 30 revolution" and the legitimacy of Egyptian state institutions represents the starting point for improved relations with Turkey.

Mass protests on June 30, 2013 were followed by the Egyptian military's ouster of then-President Mohamed Mursi, who hails from the Muslim Brotherhood group. During his one-year tenure, Mursi was an ally of Turkey.

Egyptian ties with Turkey have deteriorated following Mursi's ouster. Erdogan has been openly critical of Mursi's ouster and has stated in April 2015 that before Ankara could consider improving ties with Cairo, Egypt should free Mursi from jail and lift mass death sentences against Muslim Brotherhood leaders and purported supporters of Mursi.

Since his ouster, Mursi was featured in several trials where he faced an array of charges including espionage, inciting to kill protesters outside the presidential palace during his tenure, and escaping prison during the January 2011 Uprising.

Most recently, he was handed down a 40-year prison sentence in a case dubbed as the "Qatar espionage case". He was accused, along with 10 others, of leaking important national security documents and information on the Egyptian Armed Forces to Qatar during his tenure. 

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