Erdogan rules out a meeting with Egypt's Sisi

Turkish President won't meet Egyptian counterpart until death penalty on former President Morsi is cancelled.

Ben Ariel ,

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday ruled out meeting with Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi until death sentences for former Islamist president Mohammed Morsi and other Muslim Brotherhood leaders are lifted, the Turkish Hurriyet newspaper reported.

According to the report, Erdogan did give a green light for ministerial level talks between the two countries.

“My stance on that issue is clear; in the first place, I will not meet Sisi until the decisions of death penalty for Morsi and his friends are reviewed and lifted. Our ministers may meet with their counterparts,” he was quoted by the newspaper as having said.

He added, though, that he would not find a meeting between Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and his Egyptian counterpart inappropriate because “Turkey and Egypt are two peoples, two countries which are from the same culture and believe in same standards of judgments. Of course, we shouldn’t break away.”

Relations between Egypt and Turkey have soured since the Egyptian army in 2013 ousted Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood, which the Islamist Erdogan openly supports.

Following Morsi’s ouster, Erdogan condemned the military intervention that toppled the Muslim Brotherhood president as an enemy of democracy, and chastised the West for failing to brand the ouster a coup.

Egypt later expelled the Turkish ambassador, accusing him of undermining the country. Ankara responded in kind.

Erdogan in 2014 referred to Sisi, who led the military at the time of Morsi’s ouster and later replaced him as president as a “tyrant”. An angry Egypt responded by summoning the Turkish charge d'affaires to complain about Erdogan’s comments.

According to the report in the Hurriyet, Erdogan said he hoped signs of rapprochement in ties between Saudi Arabia and the Muslim Brotherhood would “soften” Egypt’s stance on the group as well.

The Muslim Brotherhood was outlawed in Egypt as a terrorist group following Morsi’s ouster, and a crackdown on its members and supporters ensued.