Ahram Online | Published: February 27, 2019
File photo – Egypt’s Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attends the first joint European Union and Arab League summit at the International Congress Centre in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, on February 24, 2019. AFP
Egypt’s foreign ministry denounced on Sunday recent remarks by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who slammed EU countries for attending the League of Arab States-EU Summit in Sinai’s Sharm El-Sheikh earlier this week.
Erdogan criticised the European Union leaders for attending the summit days after nine men were executed in Egypt for assassinating the country’s prosecutor-general in 2015.
In response, Egypt’s foreign ministry spokesperson Ahmed Hafez said that Erdogan’s comments are clearly driven by malice and reveal his continued support for the terrorist Muslim Brotherhood group.
Hafez said that Erdogan is a president “who arrested more than 175,000 journalists and media workers, in addition to 70,000 political prisoners,” referring to Turkey’s massive crackdown following a failed coup in 2016.
“Over just the past two weeks, more than 1,400 Turkish citizens have been arrested and punitive measures have been taken against dozens of academics, journalists, civil society figures and business community members, including 16 people sentenced to life imprisonment, including civil rights defenders and a number of journalists just because they exercised their right to freedom of expression and peaceful grouping,” the statement added.
Relations between Turkey and Egypt have been strained since the ouster former Egyptian Islamist President Mohamed Morsi, who was a close ally of Erdogan, following mass protests against his one-year rule in 2013.