Ankara, 22 Jumadil Akhir 1436/11 April 2015 (MINA) – Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Thursday that Egypt should release ousted President, Mohamed Morsi from prison and revoke hundreds of death sentences against his supporters before Ankara considers improving relations with Cairo.
“Mr Morsi is a president elected by 52 per cent of the vote. They should give him his freedom” Erdogan told reporters travelling with him on his plane while returning from an official visit to Iran.
Relations between the two countries have been strained since 2013 after army general at the time; Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi overthrew Morsi in a military coup and became president, Middle East Monitor (MEMO) quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey, co-founded by Erdogan has close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Erdogan’s recent visit to Saudi Arabia and his support of a military offensive against Shia Houhti rebels in Yemen raised speculations about a possible thaw in relations between Ankara and Cairo.
However, Erdogan made clear in his remarks Thursday that he has conditions before he would reconsider relations with Egypt.
“There are 3,000 people there [Egypt] sentenced to death. This should be lifted,” Erdogan stated.
He continued by saying “They [Egypt] say ‘Turkey should not interfere with our domestic affairs’. We are not interfering. If something happens in a country against freedoms, we should speak up.”
Egyptian courts sentenced hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood to death in recent months, many of them in mass trials condemned by foreign governments and human rights groups.
Erdogan called on the Egyptian authorities to lift a ban imposed on some political parties in Egypt and urged Cairo to award retrials to what he said were 18,000 political prisoners.
Egyptian authorities have previously rejected Erdogan’s criticisms of Al-Sisi, describing his views as “insulting to the presidency.” (T//P002/P3)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)