Egyptians welcomed Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan willdly, chanting “Egypt-Turkey: one fist” and “Welcome to your second home” as relations between Israel and both countries worsen.
Erdogan’s triumphant arrival is geared to establish strategic ties with the provisional military regime, which is facing the same opposition from angry Egyptians that led to the ouster of Hosni Mubarak.
Erdogan earlier this year made a speech that was televised in Tahrir Square in which he called on the ailing dictator, now on trial, to step down. However, the unrest in Egypt, which has included the near lynch of six Israeli embassy guards and a sit-in at the American embassy, forced him to cancel a planned public speech during his current visit.
The Egyptian regime is so far resisting massive opposition from the people to ties with Israel, although it ignored - until President Obama called - the Israeli government's request to rescue the Israeli security staff when mobs atacked the Israeli Embassy in Cairo on Friday, and Erdogan’s recent rants against Israel have made him even more popular in his host country.
He arrived at midnight amid shouts of "Allahu Akbar!" and "Erdogan! Erdogan! A real Muslim and not a coward.”
Thousands also chanted, “The blockade (of Gaza) will be broken."
The Muslim Brotherhood, which spawned the Hamas terrorist organization, was one of the organizers of the welcome rally.
Erdogan insisted he will not visit Gaza – at least not on this trip – and added, “I would like to say that I'm longing to visit Gaza as soon as possible.”
De facto Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh said he is going ahead with preparations for a visit by Erdogan and “that the people of Palestine want the chance to show how much they love Turkey,” Today’s Zaman reported.