Egypt has accused Turkish leader Tayyip Erdoğan of supporting terrorists and seeking to provoke mayhem in the Middle East after he questioned the legitimacy of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi in a speech at the UN General Assembly. Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Ahmed Hafız called Erdoğan's claims 'baseless' and stated that Erdoğan's words 'seemingly defend justice but in reality are proof of his hate for the Egyptian nation that has nothing but respect for Turkey."
Hafız said, "Considering Erdoğan's sponsorship of terror in the region and violation of human rights against his own people, his remarks are ironic. He provided political suppport to the Muslim Brotherhood in the past and now with his government's diminishing popularity and in the face of domestic and international defeats, he wanted to make the news by making these remarks."
Ties between Ankara and Cairo have been strained since then army chief Sisi toppled elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year after mass protests against his rule.
Egyptian security forces then mounted one of the fiercest crackdowns against the Islamist movement, killings hundreds of supporters at a Cairo protest camp, arresting thousands and putting Mursi and other leaders on trial.
After world leaders gathered at the United Nations, Erdoğan delivered a speech which featured stinging criticism of Sisi’s rise and what he called inaction after Mursi’s overthrow.
“We will do whatever we can to make sure Egypt is tried at international courts,” Erdogan said in a speech on Wednesday in Istanbul. “Mursi unfortunately writhed on the ground for 20 minutes at the courthouse and authorities didn’t intervene. Mursi was killed.”
Mursi, who had been held in prison since his 2013 overthrow, collapsed and died that week while testifying in court. Rights groups have suggested Egypt’s first democratically elected civilian president didn’t receive adequate medical care while in prison.
Spokesperson Hafız went on to present a list of series of violations Erdoğan's government have committed, saying that these are proof 'Erdoğan's accusations are absurd'. Among the mentioned were political arrests, journalists in jail, academicians who lost their jobs and record breaking asylum request numbers coming from Turkey.
“There is no doubt that the fabrication of such lies and fabrications are not something strange that comes from the Turkish President, who is keen to provoke chaos to sow divisions in the Middle East region through its support for groups and terrorist organizations,” he said.
Ankara has backed Syrian rebel groups fighting Assad but strongly denies any suggestion that it has supported Islamic State or other radical Islamist militants, saying they pose a major security threat to Turkey.
Erdoğan also did not attend dinner after learning Egyptian leader Sisi is at the same table with US President Donald Trump.
The Turkish President spoke about Israel as well, stating: "Today, one of the places with the most injustice is the land of Palestine under the occupation of Israel. I am wondering: Where is Israel?
What does the territory of Israel cover? Where was it in 1947? Where was it in 1949-1967? And where is Israel today? Does the UN implement the decisions taken about Israel? Then, what good does the UN do?
Our stance as Turkey is clear: The solution is to establish the state of Palestine based on 1947 agreement and with East Jerusalem its capital.
I am asking from the rostrum of the UN: Where are the borders of the state of Israel? Are they the borders of 1948? Are they the borders of 1967? Or, does it have any other borders?
Is it the objective of the deal called 'Deal of the Century' to completely sweep away Palestine? Do they want to drench the whole world in blood?"
Remarks by Erdoğan drew criticism from Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who responded with a video on Twitter saying: "He who doesn't stop lying about Israel, slaughters the Kurds in his own country, and denies the terrible slaughter of the Armenian people – shouldn't preach to Israel. Erdoğan, stop lying."