U.S. Slams Erdogan's Allegations of Israel's Role Ousting Morsi
The White House condemned Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's claim, made Tuesday, that Israel had a role in toppling ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, AFP reports.
"What do they say about Egypt: democracy is not the ballot box. Who is behind this? It's Israel," Erdogan told a meeting of his Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP).
The outspoken critic of the Jewish state continued, "we have the evidence” citing what he said were comments by an Israeli justice minister to a 2011 forum in France in which he allegedly said Morsi's Muslim Brotherhood would not be able to remain in power even if it won elections.
Egypt, however, furiously rejected Erdogan's accusation stating it had "no basis in fact."
White House spokesman Josh Earnest also condemned Erdogan by saying the comments were "offensive and unsubstantiated and wrong."
Erdogan's AKP had developed friendly ties with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and has described Morsi’s ousting as a "coup". Turkey's stance has infuriated Egypt's military-backed interim government which last month voiced "strong resentment" at Erdogan's pro-Morsi comments.
On Tuesday, the office of Egypt's new prime minister Hazem al-Beblawi said Erdogan's latest words "have no basis in fact and are not accepted by any sane or fair person.”
Erdogan's comments were intended to "target Egyptian national unity" and warned that Cairo's "patience was reaching breaking point".
Turkey has hardened its tone towards Egypt's new rulers after last week's bloody crackdown on Morsi supporters, recalling its ambassador to Cairo, prompting a tit-for-tat move by Egypt.
Daily demonstrations in support of Morsi have since taken place in Turkey and the two countries have cancelled joint naval exercises planned for October.