Turkey, Egypt recall envoys over unrests

Turkey, Egypt recall envoys over unrests
Fri Aug 16, 2013 16:04:31

Turkey has recalled its ambassador to Cairo as tensions with Egypt worsen dramatically following a bloody crackdown on supporters of the country's ousted president.

Egypt retaliated by recalling its envoy to Turkey, whose Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has condemned what he called the "massacre" of peaceful protesters.

Erdogan, a supporter of former president Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood movement, has infuriated the interim government in Cairo by terming his ouster a military "coup".

Nearly 600 people were killed in the violence that erupted on Wednesday when security forces moved in to break up pro-Morsi protest camps, the worst unrest in the country since the 2011 uprising that unseated Hosni Mubarak.

Erdogan, who heads Turkey's ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), had forged a close alliance with Morsi since he was elected in the country's first free election in June 2012.

The Islamist leader was invited to the AKP's annual congress last September.

Turkish leaders hinted they would not break ties with the new leadership emerging in Egypt after the military uprising, despite their criticism of the army's actions.

Analysts, however, said the bloody crackdown on demonstrators was a breaking point for Turkey, which would make it very hard for Erdogan's government to reconcile with the military regime in Egypt.

Turkey invested both politically and financially in Egypt after Morsi's election, aiming to bolster Ankara's influence and show that Turkey was not the only country where Islam and democracy could coexist.

Last month, the Turkish leader cut short a holiday to hold an emergency meeting over the Egyptian crisis.

Erdogan said his country served as a "very important reference" to Egypt on why military uprisings must not be tolerated.

NJF/NJF

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