ANKARA - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday defended his latest tirade against the military rulers of Egypt which sparked a new diplomatic row between Ankara and Cairo.
ANKARA – Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday defended his latest tirade against the military rulers of Egypt which sparked a new diplomatic row between Ankara and Cairo.
“We will not stop saying what is right and standing by the Egyptian people just because the coup-installed government in Egypt is disturbed,” Erdogan said in parliament.
“We will not be dumb devils,” he told lawmakers from his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Cairo on Saturday expelled the Turkish ambassador after Erdogan again criticised the military “coup” that ousted Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in July as well as the continuing crackdown on his supporters.
Ankara retaliated by declaring the Egyptian ambassador, who is currently out of the country, “persona non grata” and also downgraded diplomatic relations to the level of charge d’affaires.
Erdogan’s Islamic-rooted AKP government forged an alliance with Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood after the Islamist leader won Egypt’s first free presidential election in June 2012.
The Turkish premier was unapologetic on Tuesday, saying: “We will continue to tell the world about the coup government and the human tragedy” unfolding in Egypt.
Tensions between the two countries, both important US allies in the region, have been seething for months.
Erdogan has become one of the fiercest opponents of the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, which infuriated Egypt’s rulers.
Egypt’s ties with the United States were also damaged, with Washington suspending part of its annual $1.5 billion military aid although it stopped short of calling the overthrow of Morsi a coup.