Egypt expels Turkey’s ambassador

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Egypt says it has asked Turkey’s ambassador to leave and accused the country of backing unnamed organisations bent on spreading instability.

Saturday’s decision to expel Huseyin Avni Botsali, the Turkish ambassador, apparently follows remarks made by Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkish prime minister, that Egypt’s government regards as “provocative”.

Turkey has emerged as one of the fiercest international critics of the overthrow of Egypt’s Islamist President Mohamed Morsi in July, calling it an “unacceptable coup”.

Since Morsi’s election to the president’s office in June 2012, his Muslim Brotherhood organisation has forged close ties with the governing AK Party of Erdogan.

Turkey was “attempting to influence public opinion against Egyptian interests, supported meetings of organisations that seek to create instability in the country”, Badr Abdelatty, Egyptian Foreign Ministry spokesman, said on Saturday.

Shortly after the Egyptian announcement, Turkey pledged to retaliate.

“We will take steps in reciprocity after comprehensive consultations with the Turkish ambassador,” Levent Gumrukcu, Foreign Ministry spokesman, told AFP news agency.

Three decisions

Abdelatty said the Egyptian government took three decisions on Saturday concerning its diplomatic ties with Turkey.

“First to expel the Turkish ambassador and downgrade our ties to the level of charge d’affaires, second to declare the Turkish ambassador persona non grata and third we will not send our ambassador to Turkey,” Abdelatty told AFP news agency.