Egypt and Turkey trade accusations over Gaza

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan criticized the Egyptian government’s mediation of the current crisis in Gaza, saying that Egypt’s government is illegitimate and hence cannot be relied upon to negotiate a cease-fire between Israel and Palestine.

“Egypt is not a party … They are trying to legitimize [the Sisi administration] in Egypt. It is not a legitimate administration. It is illegitimate,” Erdogan said during a meeting with Islamic scholars in Istanbul, as reported in the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News.

Erdogan maintained Sisi should not mediate the cease-fire: “Sisi himself is a tyrant.” He added that support for this initiative would mean legitimizing Egypt’s administration.

On Wednesday, Hamas rejected a cease-fire brokered by Egypt.

Foreign Affairs Minister Sameh Shoukry said in a meeting with newspaper editors on Thursday that Turkey, Hamas and Qatar are trying to sabotage Egypt’s role in the region, the Middle East News Agency reported.

Shoukry also blamed Hamas for rejecting the initiative, saying their position caused the death of 40 more Palestinians.

Shoukry acknowledged that Egypt’s relationship to Hamas is strained “because of its ideology,” but added that Egypt deals with Hamas in the context of the protection of Palestinian interests.

In his statement, Erdogan accused Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinian people and slammed the Western and the Muslim worlds for lack of intervention.

“[They only] express their concerns [over the situation]. It’s impossible to get anywhere by only expressing concerns,” he said, adding that the current crisis is a test of the UN’s role as the world’s peacekeeper.

“Some Islamic countries are content with what is happening in Palestine today,” the Jerusalem Post reported Erdogan saying.

Egypt’s condemnation of the Israeli offensive on Gaza has been less harshly worded.

The Foreign Ministry called on both sides to refrain from violence in its statements.

Erdogan vocally opposed the removal of President Mohamed Morsi last year, calling it a military coup, and has been critical of President Sisi and the Egyptian regime since then.


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