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Friday 18 August 2017

Turkish envoy to return to Egypt after post-Mursi recall

Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on the streets of Cairo
Supporters of ousted president Mohamed Morsi on the streets of Cairo
A poster of deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Mursi is seen outside the burnt Rabaa Adawiya mosque in Cairo

Turkey's envoy to Egypt, recalled last month after a crackdown on supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Mursi, was returning to Cairo today, but Egypt said it would not reciprocate until Turkey stopped its "interference".

Relations between Ankara and Cairo have all but broken down since Mursi, whose Muslim Brotherhood has close ties with Turkey's ruling Islamist-rooted AK Party, was toppled by the army in July following mass street protests.

Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of Mursi's removal, calling it an "unacceptable coup", and repeatedly urging the U.N. Security Council to step in.

A senior Turkish official said the Turkish ambassador, recalled after more than 600 people were killed when security forces broke up protest vigils in Cairo on August 14, would return to Cairo on Wednesday evening.

However, an Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman said Cairo's ambassador, recalled from Ankara by the interim military-backed government in response to Turkey's move, would not return "until Turkey stops interfering in Egyptian affairs".

While Wednesday's move is unlikely to signal any softening in Turkey's stance, some Turkish officials have said it was important for Ankara to maintain diplomatic protocol with the biggest Arab country.

Relations are in diplomatic limbo. Ankara says that, while it will work with the government, it does not officially recognise it.


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