Erdogan on Egypt: No Respect for 'Coup-Installed Rulers'
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had sharp words for Egypt on Saturday, after the country expelled Ankara's ambassador.
Erdogan declared that his government would never respect military-installed rulers, according to an AFP report.
"I will never respect those who come to power after coups," Erdogan was quoted as having told reporters.
The remarks came after Egypt announced that it was downgrading its diplomatic relations with Ankara, and expelled the Turkish ambassador over Erdogan's "provocative" criticism of Cairo, in the latest escalation of tensions between the two countries.
In return, Ankara declared the Egyptian ambassador "persona non grata" and downgraded diplomatic relations to the level of charge d'affaires.
Both Turkey and Egypt had recalled their respective envoys in August for consultations, but while the Turkish ambassador eventually returned to Cairo in September, Egyptian ambassador Abderahman Salah El-Din stayed home.
The August 14 police and military crackdown on supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi sparked a storm of international condemnation and strained relations between Turkey and Egypt.
Erdogan, a supporter of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, angered Egypt's new rulers after calling the July ouster of Morsi an "unacceptable coup."
He later sparked further outrage when he accused Israel of being behind Morsi’s removal.
Egypt later warned Turkey that it was losing its patience over Erdogan’s remarks, saying the comments aimed to divide Egyptians.
The Turkish premier said Saturday his government backed democracy movements in the world, adding, "We never respect those who do not respect the people's sovereign rights."